Interview Tips

Preparing for a job interview takes time, careful planning and thinking, so it is important to schedule in some preparation time at least one week before the interview itself. Good preparation is essential for success - research the company, the job and ensure you are personally physically well prepared. Lack of preparation will show and is one of the main reasons for failing to get the job. However, recruiters are not looking for clones- it is Ok to be yourself and have a bit of flair.

What to Wear
More than fifty percent of another person's perception of you is based on how you look and therefore your appearance is crucial to making a good impression. 
What to wear for a job interview has to be researched by doing thorough job interview preparation. If you are going to work in the Media or for an IT firm then the dress code may be smart but casual by the same token if you are going to work for a firm of Solicitors, Accountants or a Bank then the chances are the dress code is going to be formal, so it can be difficult to decide what to wear for your interview. 
Direct approaches (phoning to check the dress code) or indirect approaches (standing outside the office to check the people coming and going) are both valid ways of determining the general rules. 
Aim to dress one level up from what you would expect to wear if you got the job. Essentially, if you feel comfortable, you'll act comfortably which is vital in a pressure situation. 
As a general rule, opt for a dark suit, dark shoes, smart shirt and tie. Dark socks that match are recommended . Clean hair, fingernails, shoes and teeth are a must. 

These are general tips - applicable in most, but not all situations:

  • Not too casual - If you get the feeling that casual is OK, then stay on the smart side of casual. Wear a smart pair of trousers and an open necked shirt as the bare minimum.
  • No headwear - Under no circumstances wear a cap, beanie or hoodie to an interview - you'll look like you've got something to hide. There are obvious religious and medical exceptions to this rule.
  • Get the right fit - If you've had to borrow an ill fitting suit for an interview, or you just like to wear your clothes a little too loose or tight, try and find something more fitted.
  • Ties - Your interviewer is unlikely to see you as a fun addition to the team if you are wearing a wacky tie, instead as someone who's not serious about the job. It can be worth taking a spare with you in case of spillages before hand...
  • Facial hair - If you have it, make sure it's well trimmed and clean.
  • Piercings and tattoos - A feature that is increasingly common, and likely to deter an employer. If you can't remove them, keep any studs small and cover any offensive or obscene body art.

There will always be a subjective element to any interview. It is not only what you say but how you come across. The interview workshops can help with this but here are some commonsense suggestions.

  • Consider the opening of the interview and how to make a good impression: firm handshake, eye contact and a friendly professional greeting.
  • Try to relax enough to be yourself in the interview.
  • Be honest, open and enthusiastic when giving your answers.
  • Be ready to ask some meaningful questions at the end of the interview to demonstrate interest and reinforce your motivation.

Common Interview Questions
Tell me about yourself:

  • What are your major strengths/weaknesses ?
  • What experience has most influenced your development as an individual ?
  • Why did you apply to the Royal Agricultural College ?
  • Tell me about your course at the RAC
  • What aspects of the course have you liked/disliked most ?

Questions about your projects, placement, vacation work:

  • What did you learn from these ?
  • What did you contribute to them ?
  • Why did you choose your particular options ?

Questions about your hobbies, interests, social life:

  • What sort of responsibilities do these involve ?
  • What do you get out of them ?
  • What do you contribute to them ?
  • What sort of organisational skills do these involve ?

What sort of careers are you considering and why:

  • Why do you want to join this organisation ?
  • Why have you chosen to apply for ...... as a type of work ?
  • What do you think you would be able to contribute to this organisation/type of work ?

Tell me why I should employ you:

  • How ambitious are you - where do you see yourself in 5/10 yrs time ?
  • What major problems or disappointments have you encountered and how did you deal with them ?
  • How would you cope if you were in a disagreement with colleagues at work ?
  • How do you go about motivating others/yourself ?
  • How do you organise your time and assess your priorities ?

Questions on current affairs:

  • Topical questions about the organisation.