Interviewing - Getting That Job

by Jane Tredgett

The interview

An effective interview aims to ensure the right person is selected for the position.

This means that both parties (interviewer and interviewee) should be able to ask key questions to help them decide whether the fit is right.


Remember – a good candidate is interviewing the organisation as well – if you don’t ask any questions, you may come across as uninterested.

If you are not sure if you want the job or not, remember that the interview is to obtain the job offer, not the job. You can always turn it down later. So be enthusiastic and committed in the interview.

The interviewer should expand on information in the advertising to give a clear picture of the responsibilities and tasks the job involves. The interviewer should also aim to

  • Uncover relevant qualities/experience
  • Address any queries raised when reading the application
  • Benchmark you against other candidates to get a clear view of who has which skills.

Bear in mind that interviewing with the aid of a colleague may make it easier for the interviewer to achieve these aims (if one asks questions while the other takes notes, for example, this can make it easier to listen accurately). Two pairs of eyes and ears may make the decision making more straightforward. Consequently, it is not uncommon to have two people interviewing you.

As the candidate, you should expect to have your career and previous roles scrutinised. You may even be asked about your family and home life. It is all part of the process in which the interviewer tries to find out about the real you.

Some recruiters may be deliberately challenging or confrontational. Stay calm, nonplussed and assertive. Remember that it is just a tactic they are using to see how you react in different situations.

The interview process

An interview normally follows a fairly standard process:

  • Preparation
  • Making a positive impression when first arriving
  • Introduction (five to ten minutes)
  • Interviewer asking effective questions/making observations/note taking (20 – 30 minutes)
  • Candidate asking questions (five to ten minutes)
  • Interview close (five minutes)
  • Reviewing interviews
  • Candidates are advised on the decisions and next steps.

Telephone interviews

Some companies will conduct initial interviews over the telephone. Virtually all of the key points in this topic are still valid, and strangely, even the ones on dress code. If they phone you at home, you are likely to sound far more business like when in business dress rather than your pyjamas. In addition, you may want to have some of your answers to possible questions written down, but try not to sound too scripted.

Your voice tone almost always sounds better if you stand up while speaking on the phone – it opens your throat and helps improve voice projection, making your voice clearer and more energetic. This also helps compensate for some of the ‘dulling’ or range dampening that telephones can cause.

See also the topic on Telephone Skills.