interview tips

Interview Tips & Advice

So, your CV has given the client a good idea that you have the experience (or most of it) to match their criteria and you have been called for interview... now the hard part begins! The interview will be designed to ensure you really do have the experience mentioned on your CV and also check that you have the character and communication/interpersonal skills required for the role.


Preparation for an interview is everything. Being prepared will give you more confidence and leave the interviewers with the impression of an organised, resourceful candidate. It will enable you to speak with more knowledge about the position and company you are interviewing for, allowing you to truly engage your interviewers in conversation. Be sure you are on time – arriving early then taking 15 minutes in a nearby coffee shop to steady your nerves beats rushing and arriving hot and bothered. If the elements, transport system etc are against you and you have even the slightest chance of being late, LET YOUR PICTURE MORE CONTACT KNOW. They can then get word to the client to warn of your potential lateness. If you do end up being late, an apology and the prior warning should make up for the lateness.

Make sure you look smart – if in doubt, be smarter than the perceived dress code at the company. Arriving in jeans when a suit is expected will ruin your chances, but a suit instead of smart-casual will be forgotten. Be focused on the job you want and go in feeling confident and certain that this is the job for you – and you are the person they are looking for. Do not waffle – get your points across succinctly, while making sure you do answer the question fully. Do not interrupt, do not over-talk but make sure you have your say.

Remember that words are less than 10 per cent of communication, so remember to get the body language right. Maintain eye contact, smile and practise a firm handshake. Sit upright during the interview, listen to the questions and respond intelligently.

What should your preparation process include?

Do as much research as possible on the company and the people who are interviewing you. With the resources available on the internet, there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing about the company. Your Picture More consultant can also give you further information about the company, the role and the interviewers.

Find out about what the company does and who their competitors are. Remember that you are in a competitive situation and your job is to stand out, for all the right reasons.

Make sure you have worked out where the interview is going to be held and how you are going to get there. Use the map supplied by your Picture More consultant, but also plan using our links to the journey planners.

Be organised

You shouldn’t need a copy of your CV because your interviewers should be prepared. However, it is advisable to take one with you. Prepare a file that has all of the information about the job you are being interviewed for and include your CV along with the jobspec, your research on the company and the map & directions for the interview. You will earn gratitude from an embarrassed interviewer if they do not have your CV and you provide one.

What questions should you expect?

Most interviews will have questions designed to bring out further information from what you have stated on your CV. Make sure you know your CV back to front and be prepared to provide examples to back up statements made on it. For example, if you claim to have inherited and rescued failing projects to deliver them on time, be prepared to explain what the problems were and how you fixed them.

You are also likely to be asked competency-based questions. They are questions used as a tool to discover how your behaviour in a previous role or situation can contribute to your performance in the job being recruited for. They could take the following forms:

Describe a situation where you...

What have you done in the past when confronted by...

If you don’t have direct experience of the scenario you are asked about, it is best to explain that, but also describe what you would do if faced by that situation in the future.

Other classic interview questions include:

Why do you want to leave your current job? (Don’t be too negative – look instead at the positives about your target job)

What are you most proud of in your life to date?

How would your current boss describe you?

What is your biggest weakness/fault? (Turn this into a positive where you can by describing a weakness that could also be seen as a strength e.g. “I am a perfectionist, but have learned to step back and assess where perfection is not required”. Note that you may be asked for an example, so be prepared.

What do you consider to be your greatest success/failure?

Which 3 key qualities will you bring to the team?

Some interviewers may also throw in questions unrelated to the job you have applied for to see if you can think on your feet – questions about the last book you have read, your favourite film, or a current news topic. Be prepared for this, especially if you have listed ‘reading’, ‘cinema’ or ‘current affairs’ amongst your interests on your CV!

Your opportunity to ask questions

Don’t forget that an interview is a two-way process. This is your chance to find out more about the position, the company and career prospects in the role. Asking questions about the role will show a genuine interest in the position and that you are already thinking about what the future may hold in that company. Remember though, that balance is important – this opportunity to ask questions is not an excuse to go into the interview without some research beforehand! Ask only pertinent questions – no questions are better than pointless questions, or questions which have already been answered. Remember too that the hiring company will expect you to serve a reasonable amount of time (18 months – 2 yrs) in the role you are applying for before progressing, so do not come across as over-ambitious with immediate designs on the IT Director’s job when you are applying for a team leading position!

Second interview

A second interview is always good news, but what should you expect? Some may be in a different format, with tests, role-plays or other forms of assessment, but many will be in a similar format but with different people. Be prepared to go over some of the same ground as even though they may have detailed notes from the 1st interview, your new interviewer/s may wish to hear the information for themselves (or indeed double check that you give the same answer!). If you were asked questions that you found difficult in the 1st interview, be ready for them this time round – again, preparation is key. Do not consider a second interview to be a foregone conclusion – it is often the case that the 2nd interview is with more senior staff, who can be harder to please.

Salary discussions

The client will have been made aware of your target salary/rate by Picture More when your CV was submitted. The interviewer may raise the subject in some cases, but mostly these negotiations will be conducted through Picture More after the interview process, so our advice would be not to raise this subject yourself. It may be the case that some of the interviewers are not authorised to negotiate on these matters and may not even know what the budget for the position is.


After any interview, please pass on your feedback to your Picture More consultant as soon as possible. We will then pass your feedback on to the client and request the feedback from their side. Please note that feedback is not always immediate because there are often meetings to take place after interviews (or whole rounds of interviews) before official feedback is given.


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