Everyone preparing for a job interview needs to read this

Getting ready for a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, but these top tips will help you nail it

By Lydia Cerguera

Your application has been accepted. Your CV has been read. Now you’ve been invited to an interview for the job of your dreams.

    How are you going to give the best possible account of yourself in just a half-hour conversation?  

This is the moment when anxiety sets in. How are you going to give the best possible account of yourself in just a half-hour conversation? How are you going to make a good impression?

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of tips for interview success. Read them, and you’ll be ready for anything.

1. Turn up early

Apart from car crashes, train strikes, a national declaration of war, broken bones (you get the picture!) there is absolutely no excuse for arriving late to an interview.

Plan your journey. Check your petrol levels. Listen to the traffic news. Make sure you have parking money. Memorise the bus/train timetable.

Basically, do whatever is necessary to get there early. And by early, we mean half an hour at the very least.

That way, you have time to find the interview room, go to the toilet, calm down, drink some water, and get mentally prepared for the challenge ahead.      

2. Do your homework

Find out as much as possible about your prospective employer prior to the interview. That enables you to demonstrate a real understanding of the company, which is sure to impress.

Another tip is to get some background on your interviewer, so that you can establish a rapport with them and show that you’re willing to go the extra mile in securing the job.

3. Read the job description. Then read it again

It’s surprising how many times interviewers have to remind people of what’s included in a job role, even though they’ve applied for the vacancy.

Read all the information provided in the job spec before the interview, and be sure to refer to it in your answers. This shows that you’ve thought about your application and what you can bring to the role. It may also help you work out if the job’s exactly what you want.

    Your task is to show the interviewer that you can take direction and grow with the business, not that you want to take it over (yet).  

4. Manners maketh man (and woman)

Good manners don’t cost anything and help you make a strong impression when meeting people for the first time.

Shake the interviewer’s hand at the beginning and end of the interview, make eye contact, thank them for their time, and sit up properly in your seat.

You may find that the interviewer is busy taking notes for a lot of the interview, so don’t worry if you can’t maintain eye contact while answering their questions. But be sure to look at them, rather than turning your face away. Even with their head down, they’ll be able to sense your engagement.

5. Be confident, but not too confident

Feeling geared up and ready to take on the world? Great, but don’t muddle that with sounding arrogant about your experience and knowledge.

Answer questions with grace, despite the fact you may think you’re perfect for the role. Your task is to show the interviewer that you can take direction and grow with the business, not that you want to take it over (yet).

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before the big day

Most job adverts offer a chance to contact the employer before an interview to ask any questions. These may be about things such as working hours, the location, or the benefits package. Or maybe you just want to clarify some detail about the job spec.

It’s a good idea to get this sort of stuff out of the way prior to your interview. That will give you a clearer understanding of what’s on offer, as well as showing the interviewer that you’re taking the opportunity seriously.

7. Remember to whet your whistle

Bring a bottle of water to an interview, just in case the company doesn’t provide a drink. There’s nothing worse than tacky-mouth syndrome, especially when you’re trying to impress.

Keep the bottle in a discreet place and remember not to gulp back the entire contents within the first five minutes. It’s probably not a great idea to interrupt your interview with an emergency trip to the loo.

    ...no interviewer wants to see a candidate wearing a creased shirt with ketchup stains down the front.  

8. Turn your phone off, and put it away

You wouldn’t have your phone on at the cinema, so why would you keep it on during a potentially life-changing interview?

While it may be tempting to look like a powerhouse with your phone on the interview table, avoid this at all costs – it just shows the interviewer they are not worth your time.

9. Dress the part

It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a job at a fast-food chain or a high street bank, no interviewer wants to see a candidate wearing a creased shirt with ketchup stains down the front.

Smart clothes, a well-groomed but not fastidious appearance, and a nice clean aroma are just the ticket.

The interviewer needs to know you’ll take the role seriously. If you can’t leave the house looking smart, they’re unlikely to have confidence in your abilities.

10. Think about your answers. Don’t rush in

It can be tempting to leap in when the interview gets going, but most employers prefer candidates to take their time in answering questions. Better to give a thoughtful response after a brief pause than to jump in with something ill-considered.

Of course, if you think about potential questions before the interview, you may find you have some well-prepared answers up your sleeve. And that’s sure to make a good impression.

Published: 7 November 2019

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Top tips for note-taking success

You may also enjoy: What are catalytic mechanisms?

Jobs currently available

New job
Care Coordinator
Sector: Healthcare
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: BUC-CC
About the role

Back Up Care is recruiting for a Care Coordinator for their Colchester Office to work on the busy Healthcare desk.

Previous experience in scheduling care and support staff would be preferred and a healthcare background is an advantage. You will be extremely confident and well-presented and be able to use your own initiative.

This position will involve working alongside the Office Manager, supporting them with the day to day running of the desk.

The role will include:

  • Registration interviews with potential new candidates, and completion of all necessary compliance documents for successful candidates
  • Booking clients rotas to relevant active care staff, and ensuring that all care staff availability is booked to full potential
  • Service calls to clients that are using service meetings to ensure current clients’ needs are being met by Back Up Care
  • Telephone calls to prospect clients
  • Email and Mailers sent to prospect clients
  • Source leads for possible new business
  • Sales calls to obtain new business
  • Sales meetings to obtain new business
  • Ensure specialist software is updated with carer and client information and all bookings are entered onto the system
  • General administration duties
  • On-call rota duties

This requires you to work at an extremely fast pace, placing candidates into both temporary and permanent placements to match their qualifications, skills and experience.

There is a large amount of telephone calls liaison with candidates and clients, therefore excellent clear communicational skills are a must and excellent interpersonal skills are essential.

Other essential skills are:

  • An ability to work as part of a team and as a lone worker
  • A proven ability of effective time management and organisational skills
  • Excellent administrational skills are vital and attention to detail ensuring all candidates are compliant prior to assignment
  • Due to the requirements of the role, a driving licence and access to a vehicle for work purposes is essential

Holiday entitlement:

28 days holiday including public holidays, increasing to 33 days after 2-year service.

If you wish to apply for this role, please forward your CV to emma.brown@back-upcare.co.uk

Read more
New job
QA Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910873
About the role

Our client is seeking an experienced Quality Assurance Manager to join them on a permanent, full-time basis. This opportunity offers stability, longevity and professional development.

Reporting directly to the MD, the Quality Assurance Manager will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and improving the Company's Quality Management System and ensure internal compliance
  • Working with all departments to ensure their procedures are being followed and to improve their internal and cross-functional processes and procedures
  • Ensure that the quality of current and newly introduced products is compliant and traceable
  • Coordinate Quality activities with all over departments
  • Develop and improve quality relationships with all customers of the Company
  • Responsible for all Quality activities and personnel in the Quality Department for the Company
  • Provide strong leadership in the day-to-day operations of the Quality department and mentor the members of the team
  • Establish performance goals for all departmental employees and monitor performance on a continual basis
  • Oversee all hiring, appraisal, training and discipline of Quality personnel
  • Member of the Company's Management team
  • Produce the Quality element of the company's annual Budget
  • Formulate the departmental strategy aligned to the overall Company strategy
  • Embed a Continuous Improvement culture within the Quality Dept and contribute to the Continuous Improvement programme across the site


  • HND or equivalent qualification in Engineering or a related technical field required
  • Minimum 5 years experience in a Manufacturing environment
  • Ability to articulate (verbally and in writing), defend and negotiate Quality expectations with internal and external customers at all levels of management
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to guide and educate/train at all levels
Read more
New job
Customer Service Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910871
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded organisation at the forefront of its sector that is looking to add a Customer Service Administrator to its team, due to growth – based on the outskirts of Halstead.

The main purpose of the role is to service current and prospective customers by receiving and processing orders, enquiries and general information in a timely and courteous manner.

Key tasks include:

  • Answering incoming calls, giving product information, lead times, dealing with general enquiries and queries, redirecting calls to relevant departments
  • Raising and inputting orders and proforma invoices
  • Raising quotations
  • Amending orders, as required
  • Scanning documentation
  • Liaising with Areas Sales Managers and responding to their requests
  • Arranging couriers and/or carriers as required
  • Any general office associated duties

Key requirements for the role:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good eye for detail
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Courteous

Previous experience requirements:

  • Previous Customer Service Administrative experience gained within an office environment
  • Excellent telephone manner with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and experience of in-house systems
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise own workload
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the importance of data protection and adherence to the process

Offering free parking and an excellent working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a growing team.

Working Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week - offering a competitive salary and company benefits.

Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.91 per hour
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 910811
About the role

Want to work in a safe, clean environment?
And have the possibility of ongoing work?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Temporary Production Operative to be based in Needham Market.

Duties include:

  • Ensure all final and completed products are packed to the customer specifications                               
  • Informing Line Leaders of defects found in the products
  • Keep machines supplied with packing materials and labels
  • Assist the Line Leaders with handovers and changeovers
  • Responsible for general cleanliness of the production area and removal of production and general waste
  • Check products on the line for quality and defects
  • Basic production duties carried out in a fast-paced environment

Working hours:

8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Read more
New job
Logistics Coordinator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £24,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910869
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a well-regarded, family-run business on the outskirts of Ipswich.

You will be responsible for assisting with the loads out operation of the business by ensuring that the process from collection to arrival at the final destination is fully supported by the relevant goods in haulage documentation.

You will also be supporting the sales function of the business by dealing with customer queries in terms of both sales and operations as well as assisting with various ad-hoc marketing campaigns. This is a very varied role and requires flexibility, commitment and a substantial desire to learn and grow with the flourishing business.

Duties will include:

  • Process orders and oversees the order to completion of paperwork
  • Facilitate the shipping of products from one destination to another
  • Arrange transportation with outside hauliers
  • Receive paperwork from the Weighbridge department and check and complete the paperwork within the allocated time allowed
  • Answer calls and emails relating to customer queries and log them on the CRM system and resolve any outstanding issues raised
  • Keep CRM records up-to-date
  • Work with the sales and operations team to ensure that high customer service levels are achieved and delivered to all customers you are responsible for at all times

Skills required:

  • Good Microsoft skills including Word, Outlook & Excel
  • Ability to work proactively on an independent basis as well as be a good team player
  • You will have the interpersonal skills necessary to develop and sustain effective relationships with team members of other departments and with all customers
  • Good attention to detail and analytical skills
Read more
Legal Secretary (Part-Time)
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: Up to £11.00 per hour
Location: Witham
Role: Part Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910868
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting an established business, based in Witham looking to add a highly-skilled secretary to their long-standing team.

The role will involve, audio typing, preparing documents, answering the phone, dealing with enquiries and assisting colleagues as well as directing queries as needed.

Key responsibilities to include:

  • Audio typing – dictation
  • Preparing letters and drafting documents
  • Handling diaries and booking appointments
  • Answering the phone and dealing with queries
  • General secretarial and office-based duties

As well as having experience in a secretarial position, you will have audio typing experience and excellent typing skills. The role requires you to have a good level of IT literacy, experience of Word (essential) and Excel would be useful. You will take pride in your work and have a caring and sympathetic nature.

Please note this role is part-time.

This is a great opportunity, offering a good pay rate and company benefits.

Read more
Accounts Assistant
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: £9.50 - £10.00 per hour
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910867
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a well-regarded, family-run business on the outskirts of Sudbury.

They are looking to add an Accounts Assistant with payroll experience to their team.

Key duties include:

  • Responsible for weekly and monthly payroll’s on Sage and all related duties (holiday forms etc.)
  • Knowledge of Xero accounts
  • Purchase Ledger
  • Sales Ledger
  • Chasing payments
  • Exporting mail-order invoices and credit notes from Magento to Xero
  • Assist Bookkeeper with any accounts duties
  • Assist Bookkeeper with HR Duties as needed
  • Reconciling Braintree payments to Mail Order invoices
  • Assist with stocktaking and valuation

Knowledge of Xero and Microsoft Office would be advantageous, although Sage experience would be considered. Attention to detail, good time management skills, accuracy, approachable and reliability is a must.

Free parking is available on site, offering a competitive hourly rate and an excellent working environment.

Read more