Specialist recruitment resourcing within the food & drink manufacturing sectors

Interview Preparation

Successful Interviews

The short time spent at an interview can directly affect your future career aspirations. It is therefore essential that you present yourself to greatest effect. You are there because you qualify to be considered for this post. Both you and the interviewer are there to decide if you, the job, and the Company are a good match. Honesty and candour are essential.

1. Preparing for the Interview

Preparation is essential to a successful interview. Companies are often surprised and disappointed by the number of unprepared candidates they see. Always ensure:

  • You know the exact location and time of interview.
  • You know the exact location and time of interview.
  • Find out some information about the company. This information is often available on their web site or at a good reference library.
  • You are up to date with information concerning your current employer, e.g. Products, Processes, Ownership, Market Sector, Turnover, Profit etc.
  • Dress appropriately for the interview.
  • Prepare a list of questions you intend to ask – check this list is complete by discussing this list with your consultant.

Some questions you may like to ask:

  1. Why is the position currently available?
  2. Are induction and training programs available?
  3. Company growth plans?
  4. Promotion prospects for the right candidate?
  5. The next interview steps?

If things go well, you will have to reply to an offer. You need enough information to make that decision.

2. Prepare your answers to common interview questions

  • What do you know about our Company?
  • What do you want to achieve in life?
  • What are your achievements so far?
  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • Why are you leaving your present job?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
  • How do you best like to be managed?
  • What interests you about our product/service?
  • Where could I gain references’ on your past work experience?
  • What did you learn most in your last job role?
  • What are your major strengths & weaknesses?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • What does teamwork mean to you?

3. The Interview

Remember: The reason for the interview is that the employer wants to recruit someone to fill a position in their organisation – not because they want to embarrass you. Throughout the interview the employer will be evaluating your strong and weak points, qualifications, skills and ability to perform in the position they have available.

The following points should therefore be remembered:

  • Arrive on time or early – never late.
  • If asked to complete an “application” form, do so neatly.
  • Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake.
  • Do not slouch, relax or smoke in the interview – even if the interviewer suggests you do so.
  • Look the interviewer in the eye at all times.
  • Avoid answering questions with a “yes” or “no” answer. Always relate your experience to the question being asked.
  • Remember to ensure that you make the interviewer realise they need you in their organisation – sell yourself, your abilities and your experience in the best possible manner.
  • Don’t lie, always answer truthfully and frankly.
  • Ensure you do not demean your present employer or competitors.
  • Avoid discussing political or religious subjects.
  • Do not ask about salary, holidays, bonuses etc., at the first interview – make sure that they want you first.

Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • ” Tell me about yourself “.
  • ” What kind of position are you looking for? “
  • ” What are your strengths? “
  • ” What are your weaknesses? “
  • ” What do you know about our company? “
  • ” Why do you want the position? “

4. Points to be Careful About:

The interviewer will be evaluating the negative as well as the positive points. You should ensure not to:

  • Present yourself poorly.
  • Act in an overbearing or conceited manner.
  • Mumble – express yourself clearly.
  • Be disinterested in what the interviewer has to say.
  • Be nervous and fail to look the interviewer in the eye, or proffer a limp, wet, handshake.
  • Over emphasise the money factor – salary, car, bonuses etc.
  • Excuse poor career path decisions.
  • Act in an immature fashion.
  • Condemn your current or previous employers.

5. Closing the Interview

Toward the end of the interview is when the interviewer will be most impressed with you. As soon as you leave, the memory of you will begin to fade. This is the time to gain the most commitment from the interviewer, either an offer or to progress to the next stage of selection.

  • If you are interested in the position, make this clear and always ask for it, even if your consultant has told you additional interviews are required.
  • If you are offered the position and wish to accept – do so immediately. If you wish to think it over, ask for the offer in writing.
  • If no offer is made, do not be discouraged. Often the interviewer may have several candidates to see before a decision can be made.
  • Ask how you compare to candidates seen so far. Ask if you have demonstrated that you can do the job.
  • Ask what reservations, if any, the interviewer may have about you.
  • Summarise the interview briefly, confirming that all relevant points have been covered and how your abilities match the needs of the employer.

Ensure you have covered the following before leaving the interview:

  1. a) Why you are interested in the position and company.
  2. b) What you have to offer the company.
  3. c) You CAN and WANT to do the job.

Provided you have covered these points you have done all you can:

Thank the interviewer for their time and for considering you for the position.

After the Interview

Call the consultant who referred you to the position as soon as possible. The client will often call them, and they need to know your views on the interview, the job and the Company. They can ensure that any point you failed to express in interview can be done so now on your behalf, to reinforce your case.

The consultant will wait to get your reaction on how the interview went before speaking to the company. Any delay in contacting your consultant may result in delay in the company being contacted and possibly result in a negative response.


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