Interview Preparation

Congratulations on successfully gaining an interview.

When you are invited to an interview it means that the employer believes that you may be a good match for the job opening and he or she wants to understand more about you and your experience to date. The interview is used to determine whether you are suitable and qualified for the position. It also provides you with the opportunity to understand if the organization and job opportunity matches what you are looking for.

Your CV has given the employer a taste of your skills and experiences and they will want to explore these in more depth. You must therefore ensure that you can talk confidently about what is written on your CV and try to focus on skills that are relevant and valuable to the position you are interviewing for.


Preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. By researching the following points, you will be much better prepared for the interview.

  • Know the exact time and place of the interview, including directions and obtain the full names and correct pronunciations of your interviewers
  • Plan your journey beforehand to ensure you arrive a few minutes early
    • Research the company  & their market (Website, Newspapers, Journals)
    • Ownership, culture, financials, products, competitors etc
  • How is the company perceived in the market
  • Research the Job
    • Make notes on how you perceive the job and the responsibilities
    • Prepare a plan of action of how you would achieve the required results
    • Review and note any questions relating to the job description

An overall understanding of the company will give you confidence during the 1st interview, so that you can ask relevant questions.


  • Greet the employer with a firm handshake and give the appearance of energy as you walk in. Smile! Be genuinely glad to meet the employer
  • Wait to be offered a chair before sitting and then sit upright. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker
  • Look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to her/him
  • Try not to use “yes" or "no". Explain wherever possible and tell them things about yourself which relate to your background, skills and accomplishments and to the position in a positive manner
  • Answer questions positively, relating to your past and present experiences
  • Ensure you highlight your strengths to the interviewer in a factual, logical and sincere manner
  • Never lie... answer questions truthfully and to the point
  • Don’t make derogatory comments about your present or former employers or companies
  • Don’t enquire about salary, holiday entitlement or bonuses etc on the initial interview, unless you are positive the interviewer is interested in hiring you
  • Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on an opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can choose from a number of positions

Smile and above all, be yourself. Don't try be something you are not

Sample questions you may be asked at interview

These questions are just indicators and not necessarily asked in this order. Always try to make your answers positive.

Q: Tell me about yourself?
A:  What the interviewer is really saying is I want to hear you talk. Use your CV as a guide, whilst highlighting your skills, experiences and achievements.

Q: Tell me the most difficult situation you have had to face and how you tackled it? 
A: What the interviewer is really trying to find out is your definition of ‘difficult’ and if you can show a logical approach to problem solving. Explain how you recognized the problem, what options were available to you and why you chose the option you did along with the ‘positive’ outcome.

Q: What are your strengths? 
A: Discuss your main strengths by listing 2-3 examples and emphasize how you believe they will benefit the organization.

Q: What areas require development? 
A: Don’t select a personal reason like ‘I am no good in the mornings’. Be professional and think of 2 examples prior to interview that you can call upon. I.e. Lack of experience, not ability in an area that is not vital to the role.

Q: What motivates you?
A: The interviewer is trying to ascertain more about your character. At this point, it would not be wise to mention ‘money’ as a motivator. Use terms like ‘being a team player’ or ‘exceeding targets’.

Q: Why do you want to leave your current employment? 
A: Never be negative or derogatory about your current or former employers.

The general response is the need for a more challenging role.

Bear in mind some of these questions may be phrased differently but the end result is still the same.

Be prepared.

Sample questions for you to ask at interview

Questions need to be open ended and geared to help you find out the interviewer’s needs/requirements, so that you can package yourself to be what they desire.

Q: What would a normal day in this role look like?

Q: How would you describe your organisational culture? 

Q: What type of salesperson are you looking for?

Q: What responsibilities would you want me to take on board?

Q: Is the area well established or does it need to be rejuvenated? (Has it been over/under target?)

Q: How has the position arisen? (If the person left or was sacked, why?)

Q: What is the background of your most successful salesperson and why is he/she successful?

Q: What form of training programme is provided internally and externally?

Q: How will you assess my performance?

Q: How well do you think I match the requirements of the role?

Q: How do you see this role developing in the future?

Q: What sort of people have done well in this team /organisation?

Q: How is the company positioned against its competitors?

Q: What is your vision for the future? What are the plans, if any, for growth or expansion? 

Q: What are the three things that would make someone an outstanding success in this role? 

Q: What background have you come from? How long have you been with the company?

Q: What are the company’s future goals? 

Q: What is the next step in the process?

Select two or three of questions and write them down on your note pad!

Be natural, enthusiastic and passionate.

Negative factors

Throughout the interview, the employer will be assessing and evaluating your negative and positive points. The most common areas which reflect a person’s negative factors include:

  • Poor personal appearance
  • Limp hand shake and failing to look employer in the eye
  • Lack of preparation for the interview by failing to research the company
  • Inability to ask relevant questions
  • Failure to ask questions about job
  • Overbearing – over aggressive or conceited
  • Inability to express thoughts clearly
  • Lack of planning for career - no purpose or goals
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm - passive and indifferent
  • Lack of confidence and poise – nervousness
  • Overemphasis on money - interested only in the best money offer
  • Evasive - makes excuses for unfavourable factors in records
  • Persistent attitude of "What can you do for me?"

If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and that you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement show. They may be testing you!

Lastly and most importantly, call your Consultant at CitiRecruit immediately after each interview and tell him / her what happened. He / she will want to talk with you before the employer calls him / her back with their feedback. If you wish to take the position further your Consultant will then do all they can to help you gain an offer of employment.

If you have any further questions, please contact a member of the Citi Recruit team.

Good luck and ENJOY.