puro accountancy

How do I prepare for a Face-to-Face interview?

As interviews can be intimidating, you can never be too prepared. Our interview tips below are designed to help you prepare yourself fully, so you can land your dream job!

Arriving For Your Interview

Always try to arrive a little early just in case the traffic is slightly heavier than expected or there are delays on public transport. It will also give you a chance to go through your notes, collect your thoughts and if needed check your hair or adjust your tie. Remember to turn your phone off before entering the building.

If you are running late, call your recruitment consultant so they can call ahead and inform the interviewer. Once you arrive at the interview, ensure that you take a moment to collect your thoughts before entering the building. If you have arrived late ensure that you apologise for your late arrival.

Remember that the person who greets you, may be asked to feedback what they thought of you while you were waiting, so always be polite, friendly and be alert!

Interview Rules

The first rule is to relax! The more preparation you have carried out prior to the interview the easier it will be for you to relax. The interviewer will try to put you at ease; however some less experienced interviewers may still be a little more formal.

Sit comfortably, do not slouch or lean forward, maintain eye contact, and do not fidget. Always accept a glass of water, so if the interviewer asks you a challenging question, or should you just need to gather your thoughts you can take a quick sip!

Listen carefully to all the questions and give thorough answers. If you feel the interviewer wants more information you need offer to further explain. Finally, be yourself and enjoy the process!

Interview Questions

1) Tell us something about yourself?
Research shows this is the question that most interviewers start with. This gives you the opportunity to use your Personal Profile by relating your successes in your career and personal life in a concise and logical manner. This will give you a positive start to the interview.

2) What do you know about our company and why do want to join us?
Demonstrate your research and highlight the positive success of the company, try, if possible, to quote that days current share price. Talking about challenges and opportunities to progression as reasons for your application is a good idea. Always avoid making negative comments about your current or previous employers.

3) What are your strengths?
This is an opportunity to match your knowledge and skill to the company’s requirements. By using the research and the job description, you can reinforce your ability with examples of actual similar project successors

4) What are your weaknesses?
This is the trick question – (Do not say “None”), use this to demonstrate your enthusiasm. “I can be impatient to finish tasks as I pride myself on hitting time targets”.

5) Do you have any questions?
This is usually the concluding question and one where you can seal the deal, by preparing a written set of questions about:

Competency Based Interviews

Competency based interviews involve a lot of questions which allow you to  demonstrate your experience and skills which the interviewer is looking for. This type of interview may seem to be a little daunting, however with a little planning it is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the role and to showcase your skills and experiences.

The interviewer will ask a number of open questions which you will need to demonstrate a time or situation where you were required to take some form of action.

Often, these types of questions begin with the phrases “Describe a time when…” or “Provide a specific example…” or “Highlight a time where…”

Social Situation Interviews

It is now relatively common for prospective employees to meet the new team for lunch, a coffee or a glass of wine in a social environment. Firstly, if you do drink be careful how much you actually drink. It’s during this casual environment the interviewer is looking to see how you interact with people, and to actually evaluate if the interviewer can see themselves working with you.

Interview Preparation

It is imperative that you give yourself enough time to research the company, the role and the interviewer. Ensure that you spend time reviewing the company, the performance, recent business news and anything else in the press.

Prepare a personal profile, which should be around 100 words. This will include your successes, education, sport, work and hobbies. This profile should be a complete positive history (using words like winning, achieving, leading) about yourself without going into specifics. If you can remember and rehearse this profile it will be perfect when you get asked “tell me about yourself”.

Mentally prepare answers to the obvious questions, and take time to prepare a number of open questions to ask the interviewer. Ensure that you re-read your CV so that you will not appear vague about its contents.

Although your recruitment consultant will have provided you with the address, it is your responsibility to plan your journey in advance. There are a number of things to consider including, where will you park or how long will it take you to walk from the train station?

Interviews are formal, and as such, it is imperative for you to dress appropriately for the occasion. Coffee stained ties, unpolished shoes or missing buttons are far from ideal.

You should take a small document case or folder, not a bulky briefcase; this should contain your professional looking note book and a list of relevant questions.

Interview Questions to Ask

Towards the end of the interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Every interviewer is looking for you ask at least four good open questions. In addition, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the company, the team, the role and demonstrate your interest in the role.

Prior to the interview, prepare and write down at least eight questions and select which ones you want to ask. Here is a selection of some questions you may want to ask;

1) How will I fit into the team?
2) Who will I report into?
3) What additional personal training will I be able to undertake?
4) Why has this opportunity arisen?
5) What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
6) What do you like most about working for the company?
7) “Do you have any reservations or concerns about my ability or experience”, by asking this question you will be able to overcome any concern or reservation that the interviewer has. If you do not ask this question the interviewer will always have the concern or reservation
8) When will you be making a decision about this position?


First Impressions Count

Research shows that interviewers often make up their mind about applicants in the first 15 minutes, so your introduction is important. No company wants to employ miserable people so SMILE and shake hands firmly (don’t break their fingers), remember to start your introduction by using the interviewers name.

Interview Follow-up

Once you have left the interview collect your thoughts, make some notes and call your recruitment consultant. Your recruitment consultant is then able to contact the interviewer, relay your feedback and gain some feedback for you!