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Pass an interview

Interview is, probably, the most important step in recruitment. On the one hand, it allows an employer to meet you, understand whether you fit for the job you apply for, estimate your skills and experience and find out how you will "hit it off". On the other hand, it's your chance to look at how company operates inside and understand whether it meets your needs and expectations or not. 

Preparing for the interview

Collect information about the company. Probably, you have already done it while writing application letter - then it's good to refresh your knowledge before the interview. If a vacancy is offered to you through a recruitment agency and you haven't contacted your potential employer yet, you should take this task seriously: examine the company web-site, collect additional data from media and the Internet.
If a candidate hasn't found out any information before the interview he risks to look lazy and immature.

Mind your looks. As you know, "your dress is your business card". Here the proverb referrers to you.

'It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.'
Oscar Wilde

The most essential requirement is neatness. The best impression is made by business style. On the contrary, if you apply for the position of a designer or any other creative job, requirements to your style will be different. To be on the safe side, check the company website - there might be some requirements: some companies publish dress-code rules for their company in open access. i.e you can find this information in code of ethics or any other similar document.

  • Your shoes should be neat, clean and tidy. It's better to replace trainers by shoes or high boots (according to the season).
  • Your bag should also suit the situation. For example, you can take a neat business case. Beach bag, bright knapsack or clumsy plastic bag from an outlet nearby won't be adequate.
Useful tip. It's best if your suit is not only appropriate but also sensible. If your shoes are too tight it anyhow affects your face - and your companion might think that you are telling lies, trying to conceal something or you just have a bad temper.


Pay attention to your hands. Hands are one of the most important indicators of your neatness. You should have clean hands and delicate manicure.

  • Your make-up should be neutral.


Pay attention to what you say. Interview is not the right place for slang or coarse language. Avoid using junk words (such as "you know", "uh", "like" etc.). if needed - train with your friends and acquaintances, ask them to tell you if you use these words without noticing it. By the way, if you tend to interrupt a person you are talking to try to get rid of this habit in any case.

  • The tone of your speech should be friendly. Dull, arrogant, dark and aggressive intonation is your enemy if you want to make contacts.
  • Mind your posture and gestures. Make sure that you maintain eye contact. If you look dull and sleepy, if you are itching from time to time, chewing a gum or thrilling - it is very hard for you to pass the interview.
By the way, according to the experts, candidates are assessed by 3 major criteria:
  • Meeting of the requirements
  • Personal motivation
  • Appearance and personal attractiveness.

Smell is also very important. Offensive breath or bad smell make talking to you impossible, meaning people just get rid of you as soon as possible. Take a shower, wear clean cloths, clean your teeth and use deodorant.


Come to the interview in time, 10-15 min earlier. Please, remember: getting late is a very bad mistake. If you are even late for the interview what comes up during weekdays? HR-managers and consultants are as a rule very busy so your delay may cost you an interview.
In case if you do not know how to get to the place, find it on the map beforehand, think about your way there, try to guess how long it will take you to get there. Once more, find a section "Contacts" on the company website - there you can find instructions. If you travel by car, try to estimate where traffic jams might be.

What to do, if...

If you are getting late...


It's a must to call your interviewer and inform of when you'll be able to get to the place. Here your habit to be always available will help you. In case if you don't have a mobile phone you can always use a public telephone nearby or ask for help some kind people around you who do have phones. 


Common questions at an interview

Be ready to answer the questions clearly and to the point.
  • Tell something about yourself
Here the answer "what exactly do you want to know" is definitely inappropriate. Make a plan of your mini-presentation. The things you should highlight are: skills and personal traits that can help you to manage the job successfully. Your speech should be brief (just a couple of minutes) but quite informative at the same time: don't miss anything important.
What's more, don't go into details about your private life or your achievements concerned your hobby - it can produce an impression that you do not rank your job high in the list of your priorities in life. Your employer will have to make a decision about your qualification based on one or two meetings , that is why your skill to demonstrate your advantages briefly and to the point is as important as having them.

Useful tip. If you have never been at an interview make a plan of your presentation and rehearse it - alone for the first time - and with your friend after that. Note how long your presentation lasts. A dragged out beginning, missing several important details and -as a result - rushed conclusion are very common mistakes. Correct timing of your presentation and rehearsals help to avoid them. 

  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Why do you want to work in this company?
  • What advantages do you have to get this job?
  • What strong points do you have?
  • Your key achievements
  • Name 5 adjectives that can characterize you
  • Your weaknesses

Remember: your weaknesses are prolongations of your strong points. For instance, thoroughness verges on formalism, and a hard worker can become a workaholic. The most important thing is to show that your weak points in some cases can become your advantages. 

  • What prospective do you see in the company for yourself?
  • Why have you decided to leave your previous job?
Think over your answer. It is very unwise to be critical of your previous employer. Try to emphasize on your wish to gain new experience, you can tell about lack of career opportunities on your previous job.

Please, remember: your answer concerning changing the job gives your potential employer food for thoughts to understand how long you are planning to work in the company and how you'll behave leaving.

  • What salary you'd like to get?

If it's mentioned during your conversation, state the amount you account on. In fact, it's reasonable to name the sum only after your interviewer has touched on this issue. 

  • Have you had any other job offers?
Tell the truth. If you have other offers at the moment - say that you are interested mostly in the current offer. If not - do not tell lies and claim that you have a great amount of offers. Experienced HR-specialist can easily find out the cheat and may think that you are trying to blackmail your employer.
  • Do you have any questions?

An Interview is a two-way street. An employer assesses you and you also should make your impression on the company and the position - whether it suits you, will it be comfortable for you to work in the company, will it be a good opportunity in your career, will you be able to meet the expectations of your employer. that is why it's quite natural if you have questions.
Ask your interviewer to tell you about the company and your future job (see below short-list of questions). Be flexible: on the one hand, questions should be asked. On the other hand don't ask about the things your interviewer had already talked about or you can find out on the company web-site.

  • What responsibilitiesand targets will you have?
  • What goals you are expected to achieve, and how they will be measured?
  • Whom will you directly report to?
  • Are there any trainings held for newcomers?
  • What career opportunities will you have in the company?
  • Ask about terms of work: the length of probation period (in any case, by law it should not exceed 3 months), working hours, terms of payments, bonuses, fringe benefits, etc.


What you should bring with you to the interview

1. If possible, print a couple of copies of your CV.
2. It's a must to take your passport with you - many companies, especially located in business centers, have a security service which can let you in only if you have a document of identification. It would be very insulting to miss an interview because of such a trifle.
3. Education certificate - certificate of higher education, certificates of additional education and training courses.
4. Letter of recommendation and a note of thanks or a list of contacts of people who can give you recommendations.
5. If you apply for a creative work, you should bring your portfolio or at least some samples of your works (articles published, photos, descriptions of your projects)
6. A notepad and a pen for you to be able to write down any necessary information. By the way, it will help you to produce favorable impression.

How to behave on an interview

Switch off your mobile phone. The phone should be switched off during the whole interview. If your conversation is interrupted by a festal music of your phone and you start discussing some personal questions you look very disrespectable and uninterested in the interview. 

what to do, if...

If you have to answer a very important phone call...

 ... just tell about in to your interviewer beforehand. It's no doubt your conversation should be as brief as possible. It's better to switch off all ringtones and leave vibro only - then you won't miss your call.


If you forgot to switch off your mobile...
...hang up or if it's not possible, answer and say briefly that you are busy and call back later. After that apologize and switch off your phone.
Be confident, calm and attentive. You won't get a second chance to make a good impression. Being too nervous or offhand is inappropriate.

What to do if...

If it's hard for you to calm down...

... remember that you do not lose anything and the interview is beneficial in any case. You will get the job, otherwise you will draw your own conclusions and won't make same mistakes on the next interview.

If you are asked tricky questions...

...sometimes it is made to understand how you behave in odd situations. The main thing is to stay calm. If you don't know the answer - just say so. In some cases sense of humor can be a salvation.


If you do not know how to answer the question concerning your job...

...stay serene. Say honestly that you do not know the answer. You can tell briefly how you would behave in a normal situation? For example: "It won't take time to look up the information there..."
Be positive. It is a commonplace if you emphasize on your advantages and strengthes,at the same time don't be afraid of the questions about your disadvantages. Every experienced manager and HR-consultant understands that there are no ideal people.
Give preference to active voice over passive voice (the same is for CV), to results over processes, show that you are ready to take responsibility for your actions and if possible - use certain figures and facts.
By the way, quite often companies combine interviews and tests.
Be honest. All the information you give can be easily checked. Anexperienced HR-specialist can penetrate the deception asking some additional questions or by checking the information after the interview.

What to do if...


If you are found out in a lie...
...accept our condolences


 End of the interview

In the end you should ask when and where you can learn the results of the interview. If you were told that you failed - it's reasonable to ask why. This information can be used in the future. Try to take everything into account and decide whether you like the position offered or not. If by the end of the interview you've understood that the position does not suit you - inform of it the interviewer at once. If you need some time to think everything over - say that you need a couple of days to make a decision. At home think again about all pros and cons. Do not forget to call back the company and inform them of your decision.  



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