Secrets of a Successful Interview


Check your personal presentation before and during the interview. Give yourself every possible chance of getting the position by ensuring that you are tuned to the following factors:

1) At the start of the interview:

  • Punctuality: Never arrive late for an interview.
  • Handshake: Strong and confident, not limp and fishy.
  • Eye Contact: Meet the interviewer’s eyes.
  • Personal Appearance: Grooming and dress make the first impression.
  • Smoking: Refrain from smoking, both during the interview and in the reception area.
  • Application Form: Present a neat, complete record; never write “see resume”
  • Confidence and Poise: Fiddling and hesitation will make you appear ill at ease.

2) During the Interview:

  • Express yourself clearly; pay attention to your voice, diction and grammar.
  • Show enthusiasm rather than passive indifference; ask questions about the job, the company and the industry.
  • Give definite responses to questions. Be ready to justify job changes
  • Do not discuss income unless asked.
  • Impress upon the interviewer what you have to offer and not what you want in return


Question 1- Why don’t you start by telling me something about yourself?

The interviewer wants to get to know you in the shortest period of time and has put the onus on you to set the pace of the interview. Be brief in your comments 1-3 minutes. Do not ramble. Organise your thoughts into brief descriptions of your birthplace, childhood, parents’ vocation, school days, work history, achievements and interests. The interviewer will watch for your enthusiasm, energy level, effective communication, body language and so on.

Question 2 – Why do you want to leave your present company?

Give careful thought and planning to your response to this question. Be concise, logical, reasonable and above all non-critical.

Question 3 – What kind of job are you looking for or what position do you feel best qualified to fill?

Be very realistic to the level of responsibility you can confidently handle. Do not limit yourself by naming a specific title. Talk instead of functional responsibility.

Question 4 – What are your long range objectives?

Tell the interviewer that you would like to join a progressive company such as the one under discussion in the position in question. State that you can do an outstanding job and could be considered for promotional opportunities. If you would like to become a member of the management team, say so. Avoid the overworked “I’d like to be in your seat one day!”

Question 5 – What are your monetary needs?

Tactfully avoid naming any specific figure, no matter how much you are persuaded to do so. There are many different ways of putting together a remuneration package, combining salary, bonuses, commissions, profit-sharing plans, stock options and so on. Giving a figure creates barriers which become very difficult to overcome. Leave it to the interviewer to make an offer in line with their budget and what they evaluate the job being worth.

Question 6 – When would you be available?

Here your best reply would be – as soon as I am able to give notice and fulfill my 4 week termination clause with my present employer.

Question 7 – How do you feel about relocation?

Do not state any preferences at this time. Assure the employer that you are reasonably open and flexible. If you are not in a position to relocate due to children schooling state the fact.

Question 8 – What do you consider your strongest points?

Here the interviewer is looking for strong and favourable personality characteristics and you must be ready to reply with some specifics, such as being a good communicator, people-oriented, and innovative, having high energy and drive levels. Being an effective manager and initiating change and so on.

Question 9 – What do you feel are your weakest points?

Remember we are all humans and we all have weak points, but this question calls for advance planning and consideration to choose one or two so-called weak points. Like implied weakness of being impatient, however you have developed control in understanding that not everyone is equal. Or that you are not a political animal in the business sense.

Question 10 – While you are here, I would like you to talk with our Mr. Jones.

Most important and worthwhile interviews are multiple; i.e. being referred to another member of the team, usually the direct report or the head of the division. Here the client may be looking for a second opinion. Keep calm and keep to your plan. Do not let your guard down. You have not yet got the job. Do not try and become familiar.

Question 11 – Your original interviewer may ask, how did you get along with Mr. Jones?

This sounds like a harmless question but it is loaded. You cannot be aware of Mr. Jones’ status in the company at this point, so reply in a comparatively neutral manner, neither praising him too much nor being too critical of him. Adequate to say “I think we got along very well and I enjoyed my session with him.” If you want the job, this is where you should express your feelings. Say that you want the job why you should be hired.

At the close of the interview:

Ask the interviewer’s interest in your application: How does my background mesh with what you are seeking? I feel we would have a good working relationship? Express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time and your eagerness to meet again.


Secrets of a Successful Interview