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Back to Blog November 11, 2009

CVUK's top tips for interview success….

om_successAh,  the interview, the clincher, your time to shine, impress, and show your true colours…nail biting, nerve-racking stuff.  But here are some indispensible  tips to handle those awkward, probing questions.

Primarily, there are lots of  potential questions that aim to test your honesty.  Savvy recruiters can easily unravel flaws in you working history and will often have already done their research and know all the answers to your background.  Think about the intent behind questions such as; ‘Why did you leave?’, ‘What would your colleagues say is the worst thing about you?’, ‘Are you a team player?’.  These questions all seek to examine your integrity and self-awareness.

If your performance has lead to your dismissal then, ‘Why did you get sacked?’ will be your greatest stumbling block.  Try to be honest and skillfully turn negatives into positives and don’t be frightened to admit your faults, you could say ‘I got into the job and it became apparent that i was not qualified for the role’, then quickly move on to what you want to achieve from future roles.

If you left because you didn’t get on with the boss, this can be more difficult.  Never say anything rude about them.  Instead say something positive about them, for example, that they were very results and sales driven and maybe you be being overly micro-managed but thrive more on autonomy.  Micro managing is never a desirable quality in a manager, good managers influence and empower.

Learn how to tactfully answer questions about your weaknesses, these always come up so prepare for a confident delivery showing positive learning, and only tell the interviewer what you want them to know avoiding the character flaws you are stuck with.  Something like. ‘I learned I wasn’t good at managing people but positively i learned how to pick the right team’ not ‘I am disorganised so i bought a diary’.

Competency based questions allow you to demonstrate your strengths in specific sitautions.  With questions such as; ‘Give me an example of when you had to persuade people to do something they didn’t want to?’  Establish the background, the situation, the task and the action you took.  

Other difficult questions include; ‘How did you compare with other people doing the same job?’, ‘And why do you believe you were successful?’, ‘What would your colleauges say is the worst thing about you?’.  In these situatuions list your qualities and follow up with a  positive.

A classic move by interviewers is to remain silent, a question in it’s own right.  They want to see how people fill the gaps; people often say things they might regret afterwards.  Always take your time with questions and try not to go off in tangents.

Have a look at jobsite.co.uk/bemyinterviewer for more tips, questions and videos for interview practice.

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