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Interview Hints and Tips

Interview Hints and Tips

Do your homework - know the job / organisation

Make sure that this job / organisation is for you. Read the Qualifications and Particulars of Post / Job Specification carefully before applying for the Job because it could save you time and expense attending for an interview. 

Application forms are there for a reason – this is where the Interview Board will receive their first introduction to you. It’s your opportunity to market yourself. Write clearly and legibly, ideally, type into the application form. Also be thorough when filling in your ‘Job Description’. You want to make a good impression but be careful not to waffle because you may be caught out at the interview.

Focus on the main skills you will need for the job and try to highlight these in the way you complete the application form.

Prepare well

  • Visit the website to find out about the organisation.
  • Familiarise yourself with the working of the organisation.
  • Make sure you read the most important documents – for example Annual Reports, Corporate Plans, Annual Budgets, County Development Plan and other key strategies and documents relating to the organisation. Use the search facility on the internet to find these.
  • Keep a close eye on national and local media for any relevant articles.
  • If possible, contact somebody you know who works in the organisation for information on developments.
  • Plan your journey – maybe even a trial run. Make sure that you have clear directions and are clear of time and location of interview. If you are running late make sure that you contact Human Resources (HR) to notify them. Make sure you are contactable too.
  • Preparing well by researching can indicate commitment and interest in the job / organisation.

Prepare Examples

  • Always have examples (at least two), of where you showed your initiative / leadership / skills / customer care and so on. Relate the examples to the work experience as outlined in your application form.
  • Practice your examples: - It may sound stupid, but practice out loud and / or in front of a mirror, it does help to hear yourself.
  • You should put yourself in the interviewer’s position and prepare a list of anticipated questions and answers. Rehearse them – again and again.
  • Preparing well will fill you with confidence and this will show at interview
  • Don’t forget that the most important person at the interview is you. Go through your work experience and highlight achievements. Make sure that you are able to speak about your best qualities by referring to examples.

Consider the following

  • Dress smartly and professionally – this is part of presenting yourself positively.
  • Maintain regular eye contact with all Interview Board Members.
  • Speak slowly, confidently and clearly. Think before you answer - don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on any question you do not understand – it’s better than giving a totally wrong answer.
  • Focus on communicating the main points of what you want to say in your answer. Avoid giving answers that are very long and complicated. Use real examples in your answers where possible.
  • Try to avoid folding your arms or fidgeting because it can affect your speech and distract from what you want to say.
  • Do not cover your mouth when speaking.
  • Try to ask some questions that display interest in the organisation.
  • Avoid yes or no answers – always elaborate on your “yes” or “no”.
  • If you hit a blank wall while in your interview don’t panic. Take a drink of water because it will give you time to compose yourself.
  • The interview board understand that you will naturally be nervous and they will take that into account.
  • Don’t criticise former or current employers during the interview.
  • Don’t forget to switch off your mobile phone.
  • Do not discuss terms and conditions with the Board. 

After the interview

  • It is useful to think about your interview performance and identify where you think you underperformed. This can help focus your attention on weaknesses for the next time, for example speaking too fast, not giving relevant answers and so on.
  • Always request your interview marks and feedback.

For more information

  • Further general information and advice on Interview Preparation is available at the publicjobs.ie

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