How to prepare for an interview? Back to basics!

Preparing for an upcoming interview? Sometimes the essential tips which can be the most helpful are often overlooked..

It is important to remember an Interview is a positive experience. It is an opportunity for people to get to know you and hear about your career to date. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to get a feel for the company and the people within it. It is simply to get a greater understanding of your experience, personality and motivations. 

Preparing people for interviews is a key part of my every day role, don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have on people in just one meeting! For most people this is an unnatural setting, I worry when people tell me they are “great” at interviewing because that means you are possibly doing too many!!  

See below my 10 steps to a successful interview….

1. In assessing your skills many companies may ask you what is your biggest weakness. It is important to ensure that any weakness is not detrimental to the position. An Engineer would not say “I need to work on my attention to detail”. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Would you hire a financial accountant who could not work to deadlines?

2.If asked about your experience with conflict or a disagreement in a team do not portray the other party in a negative fashion. “Yes once I had an argument with a co-worker but everyone hated him/ her anyway”. Discuss the disagreement in a positive and team orientated fashion highlighting communication and compromising as the result. 

3.If you are interviewing for a people management position. You may be asked about dealing with people in certain situations, be careful of your tone and choice of words here. A leader needs to be empathic, a people person and understand the personal aspect or everyone’s lives.

4.You will always be asked about your experience to date, never put something on your CV that you do not feel comfortable speaking in detail about. It could very well be this aspect that an interviewer will focus on. 

5.Always prepare your 3 greatest strengths, they may not be asked in an obvious way but can always be introduced into a conversation. How can these be used? “How would your colleagues describe you”, “What do you think makes you good at your job”, “Why should we hire you”….

6.Competency based questions are now common in interviews and it is important to look at the STAR technique in your approach. Pretend that the people you are talking to do not know anything about what you do and paint a very clear picture from start the finish. Click Here to Learn about the STAR Technique.

7.Research the company beforehand and get a feel for the culture. You may find it aligns very well with your personality. What is important to the company and does it match up with what I important to you? The culture may be the very reason you are attracted to the company. 

8.If asked if you are interviewing elsewhere it is important be honest. It does not reflect poorly if you are open and honest with an interviewer and tell them you are in fact exploring opportunities and are interviewing with a variety of companies. In the current market it is not uncommon. 

9.Questions: At the end of an interview there is always an opportunity to ask a question, This is an opportunity to set yourself apart and ask technical questions around the role to show you understand the role and are thinking about it. Avoid questions like “when are you hoping to fill this position”. My advice would be to ask something HR will not know to ensure the hiring manager remembers you. 10.As always the most important thing in an interview is to be yourself. 

See below links to some other articles/ open roles you may be interested in:


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Michelle O'Sullivan's picture


ELECTRICAL QUANTITY SURVEYOR PERMANENT €60-65K + BENEFITS DUBLIN This international engineering contractor has been in business...
Experienced in QA Validation activities
Leading Medical Device company in search of an Experienced Supplier Quality Engineer to join their their team