Back to BlogThe Key to a Good Interview

What is the key to a good interview? Read on to find out!

First things first… Impressions. 

First impressions are absolutely key in an interview situation.  It’s well documented that it takes seven seconds to form an opinion of someone when you first meet them.  This means that the whole interview process could be shaped within the first seven seconds of you meeting someone.

The key to this is not only the dress code – I’ll talk about that below – but the handshake (firm but not too aggressive), eye contact and a smile definitely go a long way.  Make a little small talk, ask about their day, comment on how nice the office is, talk about the weather (it’s the countries favourite pastime after all!), or even just ask if they’re busy – this will relax everyone and you’re already building rapport before you know it.


Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.  It’s a cliché, I know, but clichés become clichés for a reason (is that also a cliché?)… Anyway, my point is… Prepare!

Look at their website.  This is the age of information – use it.  Find out as much as you can about the company and your interviewer if you know who it will be (LinkedIn is a good source for this), you may even know some of the same people which is always a good icebreaker.  Take a pen and paper for notes.  Find out exactly where you are going, have a look at Google Maps so you know you won’t be late (see first impressions).

Know your CV.  You don’t want to forget what you have written on your CV.  Have a look over this before the interview and ensure you know it like the back of your hand so when you are questioned, you know exactly what the interviewer is referring to.

Dress code

This is massively industry dependant.  Some trade and blue collar workers may be coming straight from jobs to an interview.  A general rule is that if you are unable to show up in a shirt and trousers, always let the interviewer or consultant know, so that they know to expect this.

It may be seen as old-fashioned to show up to an interview in a suit, but most interviewers will appreciate the effort you have put in to look professional and it would certainly make that all-important first impression a good one!

Answering questions

There are many tips everywhere on this (see the S.T.A.R technique as one example), so I’ll keep it short.

The key to answering any question proposed in an interview is to expand as much as possible and give good, relevant examples too.  One word answers are not going to cut it, an interview should be as conversational as possible and (fingers crossed) should flow as a conversation would, rather than being a barrage of questions directed at the interviewee.

That being said, you should also ask questions back and show an interest in the person/people interviewing you and the company you may end up working for.  Not only does this relax the interviewer and yourself, you also get relevant information and this will allow you to tailor your next answer based on the questions you have already asked.  Plus, you know more about the company and interviewer, win-win I’d say!

Asking Questions

This has been mentioned above, but always have a few questions ready to ask at the end of an interview.  Ask questions throughout as and when they come up, because chances are when they ask you at the end, you’ve already forgotten.

If you can, take a notepad and write down any questions you have so that you don’t forget or freeze when they ask ‘any questions?’

Ending the interview

Always thank the interviewer for their time and end with the small talk mentioned earlier. Ask when you are likely to hear news on the role.

Finally, this is a bold one… Ask if they have any concerns about your ability to perform the role.

This one takes confidence to ask and shows that you have confidence in your own ability.  It means that you can address any concerns head on, rather than it being discussed when you are not present and unable to appease concerns and re-assure them of your capability.

First People Solutions are experienced in recruitment programs from graduate level to mass recruitment of experienced staff. Whether you are a looking to progress your career or an employer looking for help or assistance in recruitment, please get in touch.
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Author: Kyle Erskine