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Top 5 Tips for Interviews

Updated on February 23, 2014


Preparing for an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for even the most seasoned candidates and the most experienced workers. At the end of the day, how well you do in one depends entirely on your knowledge of the skill-set needed and your confidence apart from of course how well you answer the interviewer's questions.

The tips in this article should help you deal with any pre-interview butterflies and how to prepare yourself to keep a cool head during the whole process.

Research Your Prospective Employer

It goes without saying - but you need to know your employer's background well before you walk in for an interview. Go through the company's annual reports, history, key personnel, business plans and any key corporate actions that might have transpired recently. Go through the job description you're applying for and see how well it aligns with your future career goals and aspirations and what is it that you can offer to the company by way of your skills or experience.

During your interview (whether its a panel or a phone interview) you will without a doubt be asked why you'd want to join that particular company and only thorough research will help you formulate a decent answer.


Memorize Key Past Job Experiences

Interviews (especially panel interviews) almost always consist of questions which will ask the job-seeker to reflect on past experiences. The aim of this exercise is to find out whether the applicant's personality and approach (especially towards resolving conflicts or difficult customers or colleagues) fits within the realm of the company evaluating his/her hire. The more detailed the experiences in narration - the better it usually is as interviewers want to be sure that they're hiring the right fit for their company. To best analyze that within a prospective employee, his/her behavioral merit certainly goes a long way towards identifying their suitability for the role.


Practicing IQ Tests (Verbal and Logical)

Companies are increasingly diversifying the interview process by breaking it down into two segments and one of them's usually to subject the interviewee to a psychometric assessment (which includes testing on numerate ability, logical reasoning and verbal prowess). It is also increasingly becoming common for many applicants getting screened out right after the psychometric test if the resulting personality/cognitive ability score doesn't match what the company's looking for.

We often (especially in Anglophonic countries) take our verbal ability for granted however nothing can be further from the truth when we're confronted with a time-bound controlled environment where we're expected to answer multiple choice questions in under 30 to 50 seconds - in other words, don't take your cognitive abilities for granted.

Go online or into your local library and practice some cognitive reasoning tests and give those grey cells some exercise - It might just be what you need to get the edge over your fellow applicants.


NEVER Lie during an Interview!

There's absolutely no room for lying about your credentials during an interview!

Remember that even if your lie gets you the job (and many times it does happen!), sooner or later you will be caught especially if your company runs very strong background checks.

Even if you're ashamed of something that's happened in your past or you're more than confident that you can do the job but don't have the necessary experience, please remain truthful and let the hiring committee be the best judge - Companies are completely unforgiving towards new applicants who lie about their experiences as even if its lying about seemingly little things, it is seen as a blatant disregard for ethics and shows an indecent character about the person.

While I was studying at the University of New South Wales here in Sydney, I came across an example at Swiss Investment Bank UBS where a candidate for their graduate program stated on their resume they spoke French and German - to this person's bad luck, both members of the committee knew how to speak French and German and said a few words each to the candidate in both languages. The applicant didn't understand or answer either of the interviewers and both of them realized within seconds this applicant had lied on their resume - A BIG MISTAKE!

This applicant was permanently banned from applying from any roles at UBS within all jurisdictions it operated in.


Relax and Dress to Impress and for Success!

Last but definitely not the least - always go for an interview with a clear mind - rested, calm and objective and pay very close attention to the way you speak. Remember, you only get one chance to meet a prospective employer's hiring committee and if you leave with a not so ideal impression, chances are you won't be seeing them again.

Have a good night's rest before the day of the interview and drink plenty of water and eat enough food to keep your stamina in order - Leave any other errands for another day and focus just on the immediate task at hand.

Pick out your best business suit and tie to wear and look clean and well-groomed. Appearance is extremely important during an interview as appearance is telling the interviewer about your character and lifestyle both in your professional and personal life.

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    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your comment Kara - and yes a calm mind during an interview is one of the most under rated and important formula to a succesful first impression

    • Kara Skinner profile image

      Kara Skinner 3 years ago from Maine

      Very useful hub. Being relaxed is definitely a good tip. It has always been a problem with me to get nervous before an interview and I know that shows very badly. I like the idea of clearing your schedule for an interview day. That would definitely help with the nerves. :)

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your feedback Karen Ray ;)..

    • Karen Ray profile image

      Karen Ray 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interviews these days are nothing like they were when I first entered the workforce - I won't age myself by saying when that was, lol. Now on the other side of the fence, it is amazing what insight one can gather on propective employees when they aren't prepared for their interview. Great advice and informative hub.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your comment littlething. .. the purpose of why interviewers ask seemingly unrelated questions during the process is to check how quick on your feet can you think and how's your general awareness about the world around you ...

    • littlething profile image

      Jackie S 3 years ago

      Great advice here. In several of the interviews I have gone through, the interviewers like to ask questions in a similar vein, then rapidly change the subject to see how well and how quickly the applicants could respond to a changing enviroment.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Why's the sky blue? ..well if you wanna play it safe its best to give the more scientific answer ..which is blue's the color that's reflected the most by our atmosphere ...

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Take it from Harry!

      Excellent tips. Dress to impress always work but just don't over do it. I used to assist in the job interview process and I'm amazed on how some people lack the "common sense" to dress appropriately.

      I have read in one of the hubs that modern interviewers now ask silly questions that is not even related to the job. However, the point is to check how the applicant would react on the question. And, of course there's no right or wrong answer. It's only to test the verbal, interpersonal and other skills. Questions like, why do you think the sky is blue? Lol!

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks again for the feedback mate!

    • profile image

      temptor94 3 years ago

      These are great tips :) You are right about maintaining calmness. Sometimes, even if the candidate has the skills and eligibility, nervousness and lack of confidence can spoil their interview performance.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You're right Frienderal .. the IQ testing's becoming more and more common...on the flip side however, they can sometimes screen out the hard worker simply because they didn't score well on the 'behavioral' scoring of the test ..

    • Frienderal profile image

      Frienderal 3 years ago from Singapore

      Great advices! :) It is quite true that many interviews tend to include one or two IQ questions or brainteasers. It is absolutely important remain calm, confident and objective in answering the questions.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for your feedback Tina :)

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 4 years ago from Sweden

      Great advice and important 5 tips. It is vital to be prepared and make a true and a good impression during the short time an interview lasts and be a unique person. This article will help many since it is a special and mostly nerve-wracking experience


    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Nice seeing you again Au fait ...and no you're never too over prepared for an interview ... better be safe than sorry

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Some good pointers here. Can one ever be over-prepared for an interview? Interview season is just around the corner when high school and college grads are looking for jobs, so this article should be a big help.

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      In my line of work I've actually seen someone once get fired on the spot because they lied about their uni qualifications! .. my employer doesn't take things like these lightly and I'm sure many don't ..dishonesty may give temporary and immediate benefits but being honest is what wins the race in the long run

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Great tips on getting your foot in the door for a possible job. Your advice is excellent, especially the part about telling the truth. You would be surprised how many people lie to get a job. It' s not worth it the trouble that follows!

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      No probz vkwok

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Ann and Kidscrafts ..yes its true how some people don't follow simple common sense when walking in for an interview....

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great tips! It seems common sense but some people don't think about those important points. Your article should help those people!

      Have a nice day!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Excellent advice for a prospective interviewee, this tells it like it is. Honesty, clarity and confidence are paramount (knowledge taken for granted!).

      It's a while since I had an interview (now retired) but it can be such a nerve-wracking experience that people need all the advice they can get. Well done! Ann

    • Hackslap profile image

      Harry 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Mackyi :)

    • profile image

      mackyi 4 years ago

      Great insights!


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