Interviews - some thoughts and tips

Posted on 7 Sep 2022

As a recruiter one of the key things we do most often is provide guidance ahead of an interview.

This is a very important part of the recruitment process and with some logical reason, advice is often aimed only at candidates attending the interview, but it does also apply to the hirer. So I will provide some thoughts for both parties, but in this first blog let’s start with the candidate.


Preparation Preparation Preparation!

Seems straight forward right? But enough people do seem to go to interviews unprepared, get lost or are late due to not knowing where they are going. So what would I do to make sure I was ready? Plan and prepare, as simple as that. I have laid out some thoughts below. If some of this seems obvious, apologies, but I have inserted it as enough people still make these basic slip ups. So the first point.

WHEN to get ready?

Some people like to leave things to the last minute, but unless you have a Monday interview with a weekend to give you plenty of time, I would be doing this at least two working days in advance. It will enable you, if you come up with any questions, to have plenty of time to get them answered ahead of the interview.

Get ready a few days in advance
WHEN is your appointment booked for? How long to get there? Allow time for traffic if you are driving, delays if on public transport, and factor in time to get to reception and through any security checks that may be in place. Remember, you want to be there around 10 minutes before the interview so you are able to be relaxed before it starts and also demonstrate punctuality to the client.

Give yourself plenty of time
WHERE. Do you know where you are going?

Which address 
Which building if a large campus / business park 
Does the postcode work for the place you need to report if you are using satnav?

HOW are you getting there? 
Will you be using public transport? 
Where are you parking? 
Do you need money for the car park?
Check the weather forecast. Do you need an umbrella if it is going to be a wet day? You may have to dash from car to reception or station to the building and you don’t want to turn up like a drowned rat.

WHAT do I need to take?
Photo ID
WHO, seems obvious right? Then again I have personally witnessed a candidate arriving at a reception desk at a client site for an interview. Because he had left his contact details back at the hotel – by his own admission - he was berating the receptionist for not knowing who he was meant to be seeing –I guess out of frustration for his own mistake over the most basic slip up.
So regarding the WHO. Key homework activity will be to read publically available information on the interviewer. You have plenty of sources to use, obvious ones are these:- 
Clients web site 
Their LinkedIn profile  
Other social Media channels Instagram / Xing / Twitter etc.
Look them up on the web as a whole, see if they have made any key note speeches lately 
WHAT to wear?
This does seem to be asked more frequently, especially in this informal work attire day and age, the client or your agent will be able to provide some input so ask them. They will want you to be relaxed. It is clear that while some client sectors do not worry about what their staff wear, other sectors still put a lot of store in smart appearance.
While you may not need to wear a three piece suit day today if you are hired to work there, I feel it never hurts to go as smart as you can to make that good first impression.

After an interview we sometimes hear “oh I wish I had told the client about that part of my career … ”
To help prevent that, one exercise I feel is very important is to get the job specification / person specification and compare it side by side with your CV. This will allow you to re check what skills, qualities and attributes etc. the hirer is looking for and align it against the experience in your CV and from your wider career detail that you have not put in your CV. If you do this, when the time comes and you are asked to demonstrate where you did a certain thing or activity or task, you are able to provide a clear and concise evidence based answer.
If you are interviewing for any form of technical role you must allow for some form of technical assessment. Even if you have not been told you are getting a technical test, expect one. It means you will not be caught off guard and you can maintain your calm equilibrium!! And if you are provided with a test…
Read the question. TWICE! 
Check how much time to answer
Answer the question asked

So you did your homework, you got there on time, you are well presented, very relaxed because you did your preparation, you are ready to go. Good luck! Enjoy the time there.

Every interview is a positive learning experience for you as well as them! But do not panic if you feel a little nervous, don’t worry it is ok, it shows you care. Clients always allow for candidates to be a bit nervous, it shows a human side.

HAVE some questions ready. I find that clients react well to people who have questions ready to ask them, it shows the candidate is interested and taken time to prepare. Just think how it comes across to the interviewer when they ask you, [and they always ask], “have you any questions of us?” and your answer is…. “no”.


One last thing, listen to them…. really hard! When they present questions, listen to the type of words, style of language they are using and give your answers in a similar vein. DON’T WAFFLE, remember your homework has allowed you to be able to provide the clear and concise evidence based answer.

I hope that has helped and provided some useful hints and tips for you. My next article will be on what the client can do to prepare an interview.

If you would like to discuss this, then feel free to contact me by my email or phone.

Simon Dunscombe is the MD of itecopeople and has over 25 years of IT recruitment experience behind him. itecopeople was established in 1999 to provide a superior IT recruitment service to both candidates and clients alike. 
01566 776 888