Top Tips for Succeeding at a Job Interview

The job interview is arguably the most crucial part of the recruitment process. It’s an exchange where both employer and employee are judged and can ultimately be the deciding factor on whether or not a job offer is made. But it can also be highly nerve-wracking and it’s completely normal to be nervous about it. Thankfully, since NonStop was set up in 2000, we’ve helped many, many people navigate the process and have therefore put together this series of job interview tips to help you present your best self and hopefully get one step closer to being offered your next role.


Job Interview Tip 1: Research is key

Our first job interview tip is to gather as much information about your potential new employer as you can before your interview. Your NonStop recruiter will be able to help you with this by giving information about the role, the company, and any other information they have. This is, of course, one of the main benefits of working with a recruiter. However, you should take time to familiarise yourself even more with the company. For example, reading up on its history, its research, its flagship products, its goals. Basically, try to find any information you can about the company and read it.


What can you use to do this?

  • The company’s website is a good place to start. We recommend you read every page on it to glean as much information as you can.
  • Google and other search engines – simply enter the company’s name and see what comes up. Look through the news tab too to see if there are any articles about the company that can give you more insight.
  • Social and professional media – do they have LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram (and more!) pages that you can look through?
  • Personal contacts – maybe as you look through the company’s LinkedIn page you will spot someone you know who already works there and you can ask them for more information too.


Job Interview Tip 2: Plan your journey

First impressions really do count. If you’re late to the interview, can your potential employer trust that you will turn up to work on time?

If your interview is in person, plan your route in advance. If you are driving, for example, make sure you know the closest parking options.

We recommend you allow some time in case there are delays such as a traffic accident or anything that will delay your journey. For example, we once worked with a candidate who was caught up in a train driver strike and when he eventually managed to flag down a taxi, it got stuck in traffic. He had not taken the contact details of the interviewer with him so was unable to call them to let them know, nor did he have our contact details with him so we were unaware and unable to help. He arrived at the client’s location almost an hour late which was not a good look, particularly as there were other really strong candidates. Ultimately, he did not get the job.

Of course, accidents and other unforeseen events can occur, and often a client can rearrange an interview, but it’s important to make sure you are able to let us and them know in such situations.

Job interview tips for online meetings: Just because you may not be travelling to your interview doesn’t mean you can skip this step. Make sure you have a place that is free from distractions and has a stable internet connection or phone line.


Job Interview Tip 3: Be polite; show your interest

It might seem like a rather obvious point but we don’t just mean be polite to the interviewers. It’s important to be polite to everyone you meet – from the receptionist at the front desk, to other people in the elevator or waiting room. You never know who these people are and what impact their impression of you might have in the decision-making process.

Some other points to consider include:

  • Look like you want to be there. Sit up straight, for example. Slouching in your chair can come across as you being uninterested.
  • Smile, and maintain eye contact. This shows you are open, friendly, and engaged in the conversation.
  • Actively listen to what people are telling you. This builds on the previous point about engaging in the conversation and shows your interest in them and the opportunity. It also allows you to ask questions of them.
  • If asked a question, no matter how small, try to avoid one-word answers.
  • Maintain positivity, especially when asked about your previous roles and employers


Job Interview Tip 4: Be prepared to talk about your CV

It goes without saying that the interviewers will review your CV but you’d be surprised how many times we’ve heard of candidates having forgotten things on their CV so our first piece of advice here would be to thoroughly review your CV and make sure you’re familiar with every point on it.

Think about what questions the interviewers could potentially ask about your CV and prepare answers. For example, they might ask about your job changes in the past and the reasons for them. Maybe you have empty periods on your CV because you were travelling or studying or on parental leave.

If you have responsibilities, skills and/or strengths listed on your CV, think about examples you can give that can highlight when these things were an asset to your previous employer/s.


Job Interview Tip 5: Prepare for the classic questions

The following are some of the classic questions interviewers ask so we advise spending some time thinking about how you would answer them. Your answers should be truthful and able to be backed up by real examples wherever possible.

  • What do you know about us?
  • Why do you want to leave your current position?
    • Remember to try and stay positive, it’s not a good idea to be negative about your previous employers as that can be offputting for a new employer
  • What sparked your interest in this offer?
  • What results have you achieved in your previous roles?
    • Try and use concrete examples. Were your results in line with the expectations? What impact did it have on the company? How did you achieve them?
  • How do you organise your working day?
  • What do you expect from a manager?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • Be honest. Everyone has weaknesses. Maybe you could try talking about how you’re working to overcome those weaknesses, or how you identify your weaknesses.
  • What are your professional drivers and career aspirations?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Do you have any questions?
    • Don’t say no! This is an opportunity to find out more about them, about the role, to show you have done your research, and have been actively listening.


Job Interview Tip 7: Answering the classic questions

The best piece of advice we can give here is to use the STAR method:

Situation: Describe a particular event or situation. Who was there? What was it? Where and when was it?

Task: Explain the tasks you had to complete and highlight a challenge you encountered. A tight deadline, for example.

Action: What specific actions did you take to overcome the challenge and complete the task? Highlight some skills your potential new employer is looking for.

Results: What were the results of your efforts. Try and quantify these results with real numbers.


Job interview tips: Final thoughts

In a normal situation we would recommend you follow up with the interviewer with a nice email thanking them for their time and reconfirming your interest in the role. However, if you are working with one of our recruiters, we recommend reaching out to that person in the first instance for a debriefing and to discuss the next steps.

Every company has a slightly different process and expects different things at each stage but your NonStop recruiter will know their clients the best and therefore be best placed to help you navigate this post-interview time.