Category: Candidates

Interview Preparation

Social Media Clean Up:

  • Delete your own questionable posts and pictures
  • Choose a professional profile picture
  • Don’t talk about work on social media
  • Update your information on Facebook
  • Update your LinkedIn
  • Keep your Twitter feed interesting

Interview Do’s & Don’ts

  • Arrive on time, plan your route. Don’t be late
  • Select a suitable outfit, no casual clothes. If you do not own a suit ensure you look smart and presentable
  • SMILE! Shake hands firmly – create a good first impression
  • Make sure you know the interviewers’ full name and title – research your interviewers on LinkedIn
  • Be a good listener as well as a good talker – never interrupt as your interpersonal skills are being assessed
  • Research the company thoroughly – look beyond the ‘About Us’ section of their website
  • Be aware of topical issues affecting the company in the news
  • Maintain good eye contact; you will look more confident and interested
  • Never answer a question with a solitary ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Always give examples
  • Do not mention SALARY or BONUSES in the interview unless prompted to do so
  • Remember to thank them for their time when leaving, including the Receptionist
  • Don’t be too familiar – set a professional tone
  • Take your CV with you – ask your Consultant for a copy
  • Switch your mobile phone off

Questions for your Interviewers

  • What training and development opportunities can this role offer?
  • How many are in the team and how would you describe the dynamics?
  • What challenges could I face in the first three months?
  • How many others are you interviewing and what is the next step in the interview process?
  • When are you ideally looking to make a decision by/have someone start?

Competency Based Interviews

A competency-based interview is used to demonstrate certain behaviours/skills in the work place; it allows you to really talk in-depth about your past experiences and demonstrate your ability based on the criteria of the role. Note down any examples you can think of when you have put these competencies into practice; these examples could come from current or previous jobs; university, voluntary work, study at school or personal experiences. The focus should be on you, even if the situation involved a group

Example Interview Questions

  • Why do you want this job?
  • How does your experience match the requirements of the role?
  • What would you say are your main strengths?
  • Give me an example of when you have been a good team player and what was your input?
  • Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile for a customer?
  • Think of a difficult situation in the workplace that you were involved in. How did you deal with this situation to a successful outcome?
  • What have you achieved within your career to date that you are particularly proud of?
  • Where can you see yourself in the next year? And even the next 3 years?
  • What is the greatest challenge you have faced to date?
  • Give me an example of a time where you have had to communicate difficult information?
  • Tell me about a time when you were working on a piece of work where the priorities changed? How did you handle the situation?
  • Discuss a situation where you contributed towards improvements within the workplace
  • Tell me about yourself

Potentially Tricky Questions & Answers


Briefly outline recent personal and professional experiences (relating to the position where possible). Take the interviewer through key job moves and add any major achievements. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you like to do outside of work – where appropriate


Stay neutral or positive, no negatives. Focus on what you learned


Work out in advance your rationale for your moves. People do change jobs, and if your reasons are sound, say so. Avoid: Did not get along with boss, did not like management policies, passed over for salary increase, too many arguments, too much overtime or personal problems interfering with work


Don’t volunteer information about your past salary unless pressed. Ensure you have clarified the salary of the role with your Consultant beforehand


If this matter is pressed then honesty is the best policy but perhaps highlight that money is not the key motivator


Indicate that you can, then counter: “How much pressure is involved in this position?” If you thrive under pressure give a few examples


You must prepare for this question, it is almost certain to come up. Don’t be negative about your former employer. The interviewer is trying to decipher whether you left for good reasons. Focus on results “Having successfully achieved …… I’m ready for a new challenge”


Good examples include: job interest, opportunity, personal growth, company ethics, chance to learn or work for a company who has world class products and reputation


First of all, you won’t get away with saying ‘nothing at all’. Everybody has some aspects of their work that they like less than other parts. Ensure your answer does not have a conflict of interest with the role you are applying for


Interviewers don’t expect you to be perfect. Turn this question on its head and present a personal weakness as a professional strength e.g. ‘I can get frustrated when people don’t share my enthusiasm but this is only because I’m passionate about the work I do’. Another way of answering is to identify an area where you’re currently seeking improvement and what steps you’re taking e.g. ‘I’m not so savvy on MS Excel so have signed up to a short course’

7 Facts Recruiters Look for In Your CV

Most business decisions are based on hard cold facts, and hiring decisions are no different. If an organisation is going to invest time and money into employing you; they will need to see evidence that you can perform.

By now we all know that clichés and buzzwords do nothing to impress recruiters, but many candidates still do not fully understand which facts are sought in a CV. When writing your role descriptions in particular; you should put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about the evidence you would require to make an informed hiring decision. Including the following details in your CV’s role descriptions will provide clarity to recruiters and support the case for interviewing and eventually hiring you.

1. Your position in the hierarchy

If a hiring manager is going to bring you on board, then it’s crucial for them to understand where they can place you within their team. Whether you are sitting at the top of the pile and overseeing largescale operations; leading a small team or working independently with nobody under your management; you need to make your position clear. Be sure to describe who you report to, whether you manage anybody and which people are dependent on you.

2. Who you interact with

Human interaction plays a vital role in the running of any organisation, so hiring managers will need to be satisfied that you are comfortable dealing with people. Most jobs will require you to interact with a wide range of individuals, so your CV should demonstrate you are capable of this. Show exactly who you interact with from customers and suppliers to management and external regulators; to prove your business-social abilities. Evidence that you can build strong working relationships, and use them to create beneficial outcomes for your employers.

3. Technology expertise

Technology is used in every line of work; from computer based tools like programming languages and accountancy software, through to hardware such as production machinery and vehicles. Most roles will require some working knowledge of one or more tools, so employers will be keen to understand your ability to use their core systems and hardware. So whether you’re an expert coder or a sports car technician, it’s essential to detail the tools you are able to use and how you apply them within your roles.

4. Work Produced

The work that you produce will vary greatly depending on your industry. It could be anything from Excel reports or website pages, to physical products like mobile phones or even buildings. Whatever tangible work you produce within your own roles, include it within your CV and be clear on the volumes you have produced, quality of the work, and how valuable they are to your customers or internal dependents.

5. What your employer actually does

This may seem obvious, but a surprisingly few candidates include a sufficient explanation of their employers. Before you delve into the specifics of your roles, it’s important that the recruiter understands who you work for and what they do. Without building context around your role, it will be difficult for readers to fully understand your work. However the level of detail you need to include will vary depending on the organisation.

If you work for relatively small business, it’s less likely that recruiters will have heard of them; so you will need to provide a full explanation of the services they offer and markets they operate in. However if you work for a household brand then you will need to place more focus on describing the department you work in, and how it’s function contributes to the success of the wider business.

6. The objective of your roles

The most important aspect that recruiters will want to know about your previous jobs, is what were you hired to do? It’s all well and good writing a detailed list of your daily activities, meetings and presentations; but without outlining the high level purpose of your role, nobody will understand what all your hard work was for. Every role should start with a clear objective statement so that readers can comprehend the bigger picture of your duties.

7. Numbers

Recruiters will look for numbers in your CV as a means of quantifying your value to an employer. Figures can provide strong evidence of the return on investment that an employer can expect after hiring you. For example, if you can provide some statistics around revenue that you’ve generated for a firm, or the value of a project you have supported, they are a great way to demonstrate your value. But the figures do not always have to be monetary; you can include figures such as; percentages of targets achieved or time taken to deliver a piece of work.

By including some of the facts above in your own CV role descriptions, you will prove your worth to recruiters and greatly increase your chances of landing job interviews.

About the author: Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV writing service StandOut CV.