FCP’s top tips for excelling in your job interview

FCP’s top tips for excelling in your job interview

Job interviews produce a myriad of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a fresh graduate taking your first steps into the professional arena, the interview process is a crucial juncture that can shape your career trajectory. In this fast-paced and competitive job market, being well-prepared is not just an advantage – it’s a necessity. In this blog we will be giving you our top tips for prep and to nail your interview!

Do your Research

The more prepared you are the more confident and relaxed you will be in an interview. It is recommended that you are aware of the following:

  • Know the employer: corporate values, ethics, the organisational culture, and the history of the organisation.
  • Look at the organisation’s website, LinkedIn page and other social media accounts.
  • Know why you want to work for this organisation.
  • Find out who will be interviewing you. You can do this by asking your recruiter.
  • Do some research on your interviewer—see where they fit in the organisation, look on LinkedIn, see if you have any previous work colleagues in common.

Dress for Success

Remember first impressions count. Ask your recruiter what would be expected at the workplace. If unsure always go for formal business attire.

Be confident. Check your posture, and show courtesy towards your interviewer and any other person you meet at the organisation.

Self Assessment

  • Examine what value you can add to a business. What are your attributes, skills, and abilities.
  • Know what your achievements have been.
  • Make a list of obstacles you have overcome.
  • Think about how you applied problem solving skills and list all the steps you took to obtain a favourable solution.
  • Look through the job description and create a comparison with your current role versus what this job would entail.
  • Know your strengths and market yourself. You also need to know your weaknesses and where you want to grow and improve.

How will you get there?

  • It is incredibly important you are never late to an interview. It is recommended you arrive around 10 minutes early.
  • Plan your route, know where you are going and who you are meant to ask for at reception.
  • Be physically prepared. Have a quiet night and a good sleep. Have everything prepared the night before: clothes ironed, resume and certificates in a folder.

Practice Interview Questions

It is never possible to know what you are going to be asked in an interview but you can prepare for standard questions.

  • Tell me about yourself?

Try to add new information that isn’t listed in your CV. This question helps the interviewer get to know you better and warms you up for the rest of the interview.

  • What attracted you to the company?

This is where you can demonstrate your prior research and personalise your application.

  • What have been your achievements to date?

Use recent examples. Make sure you list why these achievements are beneficial and what skills you used.

  • What do you dislike about your current role?

Always try to answer this question in a positive manner. You do not want to focus on something that may turn up in your new position. Try to list things such as seeking a career change, professional development, or relating to an aspect the prospective role can offer.

  • Tell me about a time you encountered a challenge and how did you resolve it?

This is a behavioural question. Try using the STAR method for answering this question – Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Situation: set the scene for the challenge/obstacle

Task: What was required of you

Action: What you actually did. How you went about resolving the issue.

Result: Make sure the result was positive for the business as well as for yourself.

Remember: Behavioural questions assume that past behaviour will indicate future behaviour. These questions will begin with: “tell me about a time when”; “describe a time when”; “have you ever”; or “give me an example”.

Do you have any questions for us?

  • Have a list of pre-prepared interview questions. Try asking questions like the following:
  • What type of induction and training do you offer?
  • Why is the position available?
  • Is there any prospect for career advancement?
  • Ask the interviewer why they like working for the company.
  • Where is the company heading in the next couple of years?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?

Types of Interviews

 It is important you understand the different styles of interview. Ask your recruiter if they know how you are being interviewed.


This is usually a one on one interview and the most common. The interviewer wants to see how you will fit into the company. There will be a set list of questions being asked to identify your skills and abilities. Keep your answers short and to the point. Focus on the questions being asked.

Panel Interview

This is similar to the structured one on one interview but with more than one interviewer. Members of the panel will most likely be from different areas of the business and each will have their own agenda. You must quickly establish rapport with each member. Remember to face and direct your answer to the person asking the question.


This is a more informal interview style: usually more conversation based. Remember to employ active listening skills and you will be required to carry the conversation. You are there to convey you are the most qualified for this position. Do not let the informal environment impact your professional behaviour: you are being monitored to determine if you will fit within the company culture.


This is an interview style used to probe you for information. The belief is that past performance will be indicative of future performance. All questions will be based upon how you have previously handled a situation.

Try to identify the skills and behaviours the employer would be looking for. For example: technical, administrative, teamwork, motivation, personal skills, leadership or flexibility. Apply the STAR method (situation, task, action, result) when answering any behaviour based question.

Problem Solving / Case Interview

This type of interview is used when it can be difficult to assess your skill set without some form of test.

It could be as easy as role playing a situation within the business. For example dealing with a client or another co-worker.

You could also be required to demonstrate your skills through computer based programs.

Remember the interviewer isn’t always looking for the correct answer, more assessing your thought process and your responses.

Group Interview

This is employed when the interviewer/s want to determine how you will perform in a group. It usually involves solving a problem as a group. You are being assessed on your communication, contribution, expression, how you react to others, and how you achieved the end goal. Remember not everyone has to be a leader; however, it is important to interact within the group and stand out.

Stress Interview

Where a job requires the employee to act under pressure or stress, an interviewer may test your reaction. To be successful in this type of interview focus on the question being asked and not the manner in which it is delivered.

Questions could be asked either in a structured or unstructured manner. You may be asked strange questions; the interviewer may appear distant, rude or indifferent.

Remember, the interviewer wants you to be stressed. The important thing is to stay collected, focused and professional.

Telephone / web interview

A telephone interview can be used for one of two reasons.

Firstly it is used as a screening tool. It will be brief, and questions will be based on the job criteria. It is often a precursor to a face-to-face interview.

Secondly a phone interview is used where the interviewer/s or candidate is not able to make a face to-face interview. In this case the phone interview may follow any of the previously mentioned styles.

During the interview

Remember that presentation is key in any interview. You are trying to give the best representation of yourself

  • Do not fidget
  • Small talk between reception and the interview room may occur. Be prepared for this.
  • Always remember to smile and give a firm handshake.
  • Remember to make eye contact and focus on your posture. Sit up straight and do not stare into the distance.
  • Make your body language open, inviting and warm. Try to appear relaxed and comfortable.
  • Pause to think about your answer. Do not ramble or give an unclear or inconclusive answer.
  • Do not get too personal or familiar with your interviewer. Remember to stay professional.

Active listening

  • Listening is the most important, fundamental component of interpersonal communication skills. Active listening means giving the other person time to form their own thoughts, feelings and opinions and they should be given adequate time to do so.
  • Seek clarification on something you do not understand. Ask open-ended questions and the interviewer can expand on topics.
  • Never interrupt the interviewer. Wait for them to pause or indicate for you to speak.
  • Remember a few key points, ideas or concepts from a previous conversation.
  • If allowed, make brief notes as the interview progresses to help jog your memory.
  • Show comprehension by paraphrasing what the interviewer has previously stated. Make a summary or statement.
  • Summarising shows you have received the message. The interviewer is given the opportunity to correct if your comprehension is incorrect or it shows the interviewer you have understood.

Closing the interview/after

  • You may be given the chance to leave a closing statement. Highlight why you want the job, and why your skills and experience are needed in the organisation.
  • Ask your interviewer when you would expect to hear about a decision.
  • Take the time to thank your interviewer/s. On the way out of the interview room remember you may be required to make small talk. Remember you are still being interviewed as you leave the building.
  • Follow up after the interview. Send one courtesy email thanking the interviewer for their time within 48 hours of the interview. Keep the email positive. Reiterate highlights of the interview.
  • If you are not successful for the position remember to ask for feedback.

Mastering the art of interviews is an invaluable skill that can significantly enhance one’s chances of success in the professional realm. The top tips discussed, ranging from thorough preparation and confident communication during the interview to showcasing a positive attitude and active listening, collectively form a strategic guide for interview success. We hope these tips help you on your next and future interviews, good luck!