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Nailing a job interview

Job interview

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The job interview stage of an application process can be the most difficult – it’s one thing to sell yourself on paper, another to convince a recruiter in-person that you’re the right person for the job.

Still, the fact that you’ve got this far should be a boost – the person sitting in front of you is interested in your skillset. Now all you have to do is convince them to give you the job.


Never wing a job interview, particularly if you have trouble translating your thoughts to speech. Read and re-read the job description, run a Google search on the company and/or the role, and speak to former employees if possible. Make sure you know what the job will entail, how your skillset matches their requirements, and what else you can bring to the role.

You don’t want it to sound rehearsed, but practice answering questions or covering certain topics in the mirror or with a friend, which can help bring clarity to certain points and reduce waffling. Common questions include your educational background, why you want a new job, difficult situations you’ve faced and how you overcame them, and why they should hire you.

Act professionally

Make sure you’re on your best behaviour throughout the entire process – you may have heard stories about candidates who were rude to the receptionist and found themselves discounted very quickly.

Don’t be unfriendly to anyone you meet, but keep a professional demeanour throughout (and that goes for your clothing choices too). You never know who is watching or listening.

Evidence base

When you’re highlighting your skills during the interview, always link it to a specific real-world example.

If you’re talking about your ability to work as part of a team, mention a particular project in which you played a part. Always emphasise your own role and what you brought to the table, and perhaps anything you learned from the process – self-awareness is an attractive trait for a potential employer.


Sometimes the interviewer will throw a curveball at you. They’re not always interested in the answer, but how you answer.

Breathe deeply and try to remain calm, and take a few seconds to think and consider the question before you answer. You’ll come across as more thoughtful and it will reduce the waffle. If you need clarification, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat or rephrase the question.

Ask a question

Generally the interviewer will allow some time at the end for any questions you may have. Always have two or three options prepared (in case they cover one or more during the interview), such as training or progression available or the company culture.

Avoid the topic of salary, benefits etc. until you’ve been offered the job, as you can come off as money-hungry.

Best of luck!

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.