Interview Tips

Preparation for the Interview
The Interview
Be prepared for key questions
Negative factors to watch
Closing the Interview
After the Interview


Your job interview could have a critical impact on your career prospects. It is important that you perform well as your interview remains an important step towards fulfilling your own ambitions. The guidance provided by your consultant and the following information, will assist you on how to conduct yourself and ways to improve your interviewing technique.


Preparation for the Interview

Preparation and research are the essential steps towards a successful interview. Applicants who have no idea of what they are going to say or who know nothing of what the company does, will not impress the interviewers.

  • Know the place and time of the interview.
  • Dress in appropriate business attire. A two piece suit for both men and women is the safest choice.
  • Have the correct name and title of the interviewer.
  • Research the company concerned, find out what they do, what they are involved in and any growth plans. Try some of the following:
    - Trade Magazines
    - Your recruitment consultant
    - Internet, company website
    - Professional body
    - Public company’s annual report
    - Friends
  • Prepare the questions that you wish to ask during the interview, e.g.
    - Why is the position available?
    - How would you describe the culture in this company?
    - What induction, training and professional development programs do you offer employees?
    - What are the plans and vision for growth and expansion?
    - What is the next step?

The Interview

Always remember that first impressions are very important. Throughout the interaction, which will take place, the interviewer will try to confirm if you are the right person for the job and will be looking for strengths and weaknesses relating to the position. Remember that no 2 interviews are the same, so make sure you listen intently to each question.

  • Arrive at least 5 minutes early for the interview. Don't show up 40 minutes early for your appointment and expect the interviewer to be available to start the interview immediately.
  • If you are running late for some unfortunate reason, call the interviewer and let him or her know.
  • Fill out any application forms neatly and completely.
  • Greet the interviewer by their name, firmly shake their hand, and smile.
  • Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting and sit upright in your chair.
  • At all times look alert, interested and keep eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Be aware of your body language and other non verbal communication as well as that of your interviewer.
  • Be a good listener and respectful as well as a good talker.
  • Do not smoke, even if the interviewer allows you to.
  • Follow the interviewer's lead and try to get them to describe the position and duties early in the interview so you can relate it to your background and skills.
  • Do not give yes and no answers, give short, accurate and detailed explanations.
  • Be ready for those difficult questions.
  • Be wary of giving "model answers". There are many websites and books that provide so-called best responses to interview questions. Hiring managers are fully aware of these resources and they will be able tell when you are merely regurgitating canned responses. Make use of these resources in your research, but do not regard them as textbooks.
  • Never discuss salary, bonus or holidays at the first interview.
  • Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are being interviewed for.

Be prepared for key questions

Always answer interview questions honestly and try and keep your answers to the point and related to the question. Don’t be afraid to have the question repeated or re-phrased and to take your time before answering. Remember that you are being interviewed because there is a position available, not because the interviewer wants to interrogate or embarrass you. There are some typical questions that come up in interviews -

  • Tell me something about yourself?
  • What kind of position are you looking for? Why did you apply for this position?
  • What interests you about working in this particular industry?
  • Why would you like to work for our company?
  • What interests you most about our company?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • What style of management inspires you?
  • Can you give me an example of how you managed conflict in the past?
  • What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?
  • What does teamwork mean to you?
  • Of your previous jobs, which did you enjoy the most and why?
  • Can you share your major achievements in your last role?
  • Can you obtain recommendations from previous employers?

Negative factors to watch

During the course of an interview, the potential employer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes. Listed below are negative factors frequently evaluated during the course of an interview, which can lead to rejection:

  • Poor personal presentation, hygiene and poise.
  • Being a "know-it-all", overly confident.
  • Poor communication skills i.e. inability to express thoughts clearly.
  • Lack of enthusiasm, or no clear career goals.
  • Lack of interest and self-confidence.
  • Only interested in "how much does the job pay, what's in it for me?".
  • Condemnation of past or present employers.
  • Being evasive.
  • Failure to look interviewer in the eye.
  • Limp handshake.
  • Excessive excusing of unfavourable factors in a career record.
  • Lack of preparation for the interview.
  • Running late for the interview.

Closing the interview

  • If you are interested in the position, say so. Inquire about the next steps in the interview process.
  • If you are offered the position at the time of the interview, accept immediately if you are interested in the position OR if you need time to consider, be courteous and set a definite time when you can provide your answer.
  • Do not be discouraged if a definite offer is not made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer may need to communicate with their office first or may have other applicants to interview.
  • If during the course of the interview you feel that it is not going well, do not let your disappointment show. It may be that the interviewer may seem to discourage you in order to test your reaction.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you.
  • Have you answered two of the most important questions?
    a) Why are you interested in this position/company?
    b) What can you offer the company?

After the interview

Call your TMS Asia Pacific recruitment executive and let them know how the interview went and what you think about the position (your feelings and your perception of what the interviewer's reaction is likely to be). Your recruitment executive will want to discuss your feelings regarding the position before the interviewer calls them. It helps us if we have your feedback about the position and know whether you are interested or not.