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GENERAL interviews

An interview is an intense and artificial way of measuring whether you will be a good fit for a role. 

Until another method is developed, it is important to learn how to play this game.

  • First impressions are very important. It makes sense to dress your best for interview

  • When in doubt about how to dress for an interview, dress as formally and professionally as possible

  • It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed

  • Make sure you are on time and that you have a firm handshake

  • Check out the video on the left about the worst handshakes around

  • Something important to consider is that once you enter the building, your interview has begun

  • Everyone you speak to has the potential to influence the outcome so treat everyone with the respect they deserve

  • Maintaining good eye contact, posture and listening carefully are key

  • Studies say people make judgments within 4 minutes of a 1st meeting, these judgments form later impressions 

  • 55% of perception of you is based on how you look.

  • Without a good understanding of the organisation, you cannot possibly demonstrate your fit for their culture

  • Gain knowledge from all sources available: ad/job description/website/your network/annual report /current affairs

  • Researching the company’s mission statement and values will be a good starting point to focus your competencies

  • Using buzz words from the website is a good indicator of your knowledge

  • If interviewing at Deloitte, a good strategy would be to refer to the 7 signals & pick some that resonate with you

  • Understanding the people interviewing you can be as important as learning about the business

  • A small thing like mispronunciation of an interviewer’s name could lose you a lot of points

  • Do your research on Google and LinkedIn and speak to your network to work out what matters to them

  • Just before an interview I found out that one of the panel members was a big believer in mindfulness

  • Amazing, but the use of that word or inferences to mindfulness made a visible difference to the rapport I built .


  • Prepare an elevator pitch.  The key elements should convey your skills and abilities and the resulting benefit

  • Include a memorable competitive advantage that can be the edge that will enable you to stand out from others 

  • Practice your pitch in front of friends or family to get it right

  • Then recite it from memory and deliver it in an enthusiastic, confident manner  

  • To convince an employer that you are the best candidate for the role, you need to make a connection with them

  • This should happen naturally, but you can influence it – if only to give the interviewer a feeling you are getting on  

  • Like leaning forward/backwards or pacing how quickly you drink your coffee to mirror your interviewer

  • There is no way to predict what an interviewer will ask, but preparation will assist you in doing the best job you can

  • Preparation is essential and practice makes perfect

  • This will allow the interviewer to understand your past performance which is indicative of your future potential

General interview questions are mainly to break the ice, to build rapport and find out about you

Some general questions that are frequently asked at interview are:

  • Tell me about yourself?

  • Would you like to walk me through your resume?

  • What appeals to you about this role?

  • Why do you think you would be a good fit for this organisation?

  • What attributes would make you a strong candidate for this role?


“Tell me about yourself?” is a tricky question.  How long does one speak about themselves?

Use two minutes as a guide for how long to spend on question.

A structure that can be useful is to cover your:

  • Education

  • Experience

  • Interests outside of work

  • The focus should be on the education & experience, the last point is just to provide more information on yourself

  • When covering education/experience, start with the 1st chronological item and  work towards the present  

  • When, “walking” through your resume, spend more time on the roles that relate to the role you are applying for

  • This question resembles the previous one, but it is a good idea to go into more detail


Prior to interview, think of your strongest competencies & how they match the role.  This will help with questions  like:

  • What are your strengths?

  • What appeals to you about the role?

  • What attributes make you a strong candidate?


  • While it is important to make your case for the role, what you don’t say is equally important.

  • Any negative comments regarding past employers could really count against you

  • The topic of salary can also be challenging

  • It is generally not advisable to raise salary or other benefit questions at the first interview

  • The general rule is that anything related to remuneration should be raised by the interviewer


  • Having your own questions about the organisation/role demonstrates you understand the industry or challenges

  • Asking what would be expected in the first 30 and 90 days, can be helpful to understand exactly what is entailed

Equipped with preparation and practice you will be in a good position to face your next interview.  Bear in mind that you are interviewing the organisation as much as they are interviewing you!  This will give you confidence and help you lose some of those natural interview nerves when you enter the interview room.  Remember to enjoy the game.

First impressions
Cultural fit
Elevator Pitch
Typical questions
Past employers
Prepare questions
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