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How To Win The Interview

How to win that important interview

You have been invited for job interview for your dream position and you need to prepare as best you can.

In this article, Niall Curley, Onsite Recruitment & HR Account Specialist at Kelly Services provides top tips to ensure you are well prepared and how to present yourself during the interview. 

1. Be clear on the details

Don’t be shy to ask the recruitment consultant or company representative for as much detail as possible on the position and the interviewing panel. Details such as the interview process (first, second interviews, assessment centre), general length and style (competency or behavioural based) of interview are important as well.

2. Research the company

You would be surprised at the number of candidates that sit in front of companies and have not researched the company – this is a huge faux pas. It’s vitally important that you research the company – any recent announcements or news in the media can be useful information to mention during the interview. In addition, the company’s values and activities in the areas of social responsibility can be useful to mention. Building rapport and a genuine interest in the company and its culture is important.

3. Arrive on Time

Be on time for the interview. Arrive 10-15mins before the interview to park, relax and get settled. Doing a dry run and driving to the interview location the day before the interview can be useful especially if you are anxious and if there is a lot of traffic in the general area. Arriving late is one of the worst interview mistakes.

4. Calm, Confident, Personable and Engaging

Interviews can be stressful. During the interview try and remain calm and relaxed (not too relaxed though). Answering with confidence and making a connection with the panel is important.

Solid preparation in advance of the interview will ensure you are confident and sell your experience. As the saying goes – By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

5. Talking too much

Talking too much can result in the panel losing interest fast. Don’t give long-winded stories and ramble on as the interviewer may stop you. The best way to prevent this is to prepare well and keep your answers short enough and to the point. Then, expand them outwards with further details if required. Make your answers relevant, focused and coherent.

6. Sell what you know (knowledge, skills and experience) and what you can bring to the company

Answering the question you are asked and selling your experience and skill-set is important. Candidates stumbling over interview answers and not giving articulated responses will not help you impress the interview panel.

7. Apply the STAR approach

One method that will allow you to answer questions coherently is to use the STAR approach. This stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.

Competency Based Interviewing is based on the belief that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. The interviewer will be seeking information about your past behaviour in certain situations.

8. Behavioural based Interview questions

You should be prepared to answer some behavioural based interview questions. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. The interviewer might be looking to see how you handle pressure, work with difficult co-workers, problem solve and how you went above and beyond on a project.

To prepare for this type of interview you should prepare a list of competencies, attributes, skills and examples of past behaviour. You can apply the STAR approach when preparing the examples.

9. Sound like a person and not a robot – prepare but don’t memorise

Yes, you need to walk into the interview prepared. However, prepared does not mean that you have to memorise every possible question and answer that could be asked. Don’t over rehearse answers and ensure in the interview you speak as if you were thinking of the answer on the spot.

If the interviewer thinks you sound rehearsed they may ask more difficult probing questions or follow up questions to ensure you have the experience and skillset required.

10. Ask questions at the end of the interview

Ensure you have one of two questions ready at the end to ask the interview panel on the position and the company. This will show you are really interested in the company/role and that you are motivated, knowledgeable and enthusiastic to learn more. Summarise your experience and why you are the best candidate for the position. Leaving on the right note and leaving a strong impression is important. Thank the interview panel before leaving and shake their hands.


If you are interested in starting a new career or looking at the market, please visit our website for open opportunities or register your CV for future opportunities.​