The dos and don’ts of interviews

It’s tempting to think that at interviews you just need to ‘be yourself’ – when actually you need to be in control. Making a good impression takes concentration and a little preparation.

Many candidates make simple mistakes at interviews that can cost them the job. Here’s our list of the key things to watch out for.

DO know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name, its correct pronunciation, and his/her title.

DO arrive a few minutes early, but not too early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable. You can easily get directions from by simply entering the postcode of the potential employer. If you need car parking, ask Futura for the best one to use.

DO dress conservatively, preferably in darker colours. Men should wear a dark suit, matching shirt and tie and have clean shoes. Leave earrings at home. Women should wear a business suit. Everyone should pay attention to all facets of their dress and grooming and consider a haircut if overdue.

DO greet the interviewer by their surname, shake hands firmly and SMILE. It takes three times as many muscles to frown as to smile, so take the easy way out.

DO take along proof of your sales figures and/or payslips. It will add massively to your credibility.

DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting down.

DO get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position. Ask what the qualities are of the people who are already achieving in the company and relate your qualities to them. Smile.

DO find out about the company. Check out their website and look to see how long they’ve been in business, what they specialise in, where their branches are located, who the main players are in the organisation, who their clients are and what their turnover and profits are.

DO refresh your memory on the facts and figures of your present employer and former employers. If you can’t remember much about a previous company, will you be able to sell the new company effectively?

DO be prepared to answer typical questions such as:

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are you really good at?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What are you doing about addressing them?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why did you choose your particular career?
  • What are your qualifications?

DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make them realise the need for you in their organisation. Smile.

DO prepare the questions YOU want answered. This is your opportunity to find out if the company will give you the opportunity for the growth and development thatyou want. Some questions you might ask are:

  • Do you have a detailed description of the position?
  • What is the reason the position is available?
  • What is the culture of the company?
  • Is there an anticipated induction and training programme?
  • Are there advanced training programmes available for those who demonstrate outstanding ability?
  • What type of people who have done well?
  • Assertain the arnings of those successful people in their third to fifth years of employment
  • What are the company growth plans?
  • What are the most successful sectors / disciplines?

The next step

DON’T answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”. Explain whenever possible. Tell them those things about yourself that relate to the position. Smile.

DON’T slouch – it looks like you’re not interested. Look alert and interested at all times. Look the interviewer in the eye when s/he talks. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.

DON’T over-answer questions. You can talk yourself out of a job this way!

DON’T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.

DON’T ask questions about salary, bonuses, holidays, office Christmas parties etc. on your first interview unless you are positive that the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first.

Wait until the second interview or ask Futura to find these details out for you. However, you should know your market value


“Tim Goodwin is the best kind of rec-to-rec for a very simple reason: he listens to his candidates! After our first conversation, I was presented with a range of different opportunities and, after an additional chat, Tim and Futura had clearly understood my needs and what I was really looking for. There was only one option left on the table and that was the right one. ”

Futura candidate