Interview Tips

Preparing for Interviews

Good answers are only one of the keys to success at an interview. Groundwork and preparation beforehand will really pay off as well. You need to look beyond the job you are applying for to understand the organisation as a whole and the environment in which it operates. Find out as much as you can about the estate/company.

Anticipate likely questions

Anticipating questions you are likely to be asked and preparing suitable replies should help to make you more confident – even if you’re still just as nervous. There are standard questions which you are likely to be asked in one way or another – questions about work, the job you’re being interviewed for and your life outside work.

You should also prepare some questions to ask them to show you’re interested in the job:

  • How did this job vacancy come about?
  • How do they see the role developing?
  • What are the challenges facing the team/department/organisation?
  • What would they expect you to achieve in the first three months after appointment?
  • Are there any problems in this role that you should know about?

Check the practicalities

It’s important to confirm arrangements and timings. Try and investigate the place first if you can. You’ll feel more confident if you know:

  • Which building the interview will be held in
  • Parking facilities or train times
  • Dress code and working atmosphere

What are interviews?

Interviews are a two-way dialogue where you and the interviewer swap information about your experiences and expectations. They will want to find out how well you could do the job and whether you’ll fit in with their organisation. Your aim is to convince them that you are the best person for the job. You also want to find out what it would be like to work there and if this is the right company for you?

  • Think about it from the interviewer’s point of view
  • What are they looking for?
  • How will they assess you?
  • What questions are they most likely to ask?
  • How can you convince them that you are the best fit for the job and organisation?
  • What evidence have you got to support that?

Different types of interview

Interviews are always part of the selection process, but they’re not always traditional one-to-one interviews. You might be interviewed over the phone, by a panel of people or be asked to take assessment tests.

Your Garden Workforce consultant will always tell you what you can expect on the day including:

  • What is likely to happen
  • How many interviews you’ll have and with how many interviewers
  • The name and job titles of your interviewers – memorise them if you can
  • Who else you are likely to meet and when
  • If there will be any psychometric assessments and if so which type
  • If you will be expected to deliver any presentations

Improving Your Interview Technique

The first few minutes are crucial as they strongly influence how the interviewer feels about you. Fortunately, appearing confident is a skill you can learn and practice. Start with a firm handshake, use a positive voice and be aware of your body language. Speak clearly and distinctively and make sure that your voice sounds warm, especially if the job involves communication skills. Be enthusiastic about the job and the prospect of working for them. Smile and use hand movements and facial expressions to emphasise your enthusiasm and to support what you are saying. Keep enough eye contact to establish sincerity. They want to know why you should get the job so…

  • Use convincing star examples (situation, task, action, result) to show what you’ve achieved in previous positions and what you could contribute to this one
  • Talk positively about results and benefits, profitability and productivity to convince the interviewer that you are determined to succeed
  • Get your points across in a factual but sincere way. Remember that most interviewers don’t set out to catch you out. It’s their job to ask challenging, probing questions so they get to know you better. They need to find out about you and how you’d fit in with the job and the organisation.

You can improve your interview technique by…

  • Listening attentively to questions and thinking about your reply before you speak (even if you have rehearsed it)
  • Answering questions with more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – the interviewer is trying to get to know you
  • Asking for clarification if you don’t understand a question – asking them to explain or rephrase a question shows good communication skills on your part
  • Using the interview to ask questions which show your research into the job, the organisation and the market in which it operates

But resist the temptation to…

  • Criticise your previous employer or colleagues – no matter how tempting it is, it’s unprofessional
  • negotiate your salary on terms of employment until you have been offered the job
  • Pressurise your interviewer for a decision – nobody likes to be put on the spot

Tips from the experts

  • Get a good night’s rest before each interview so that you’re at your best
  • Be on time or arrive early. Arriving late suggests you may always be late for work
  • Take a mobile in case of unexpected delays – but switch it off when you get there
  • Pay attention to how you look – your clothes and personal grooming make an impression
  • Limit hand luggage to a good quality briefcase or portfolio
  • Take a notebook, file or diary to write down key issues and questions
  • Look as if you already belong in the organisation
  • read company press releases, brochures and notice boards for up-to-date information

Closing the Interview

Before you leave the interview, shake hands and thank them for the chance to learn more about the job and the organisation. Send a brief thank you letter or email to your interviewer within a day or so. Keep it simple.

  • say how much you enjoyed the interview
  • Confirm that you are still very interested in them and the job
  • Stress what a good fit you are with the job and the organisation. It’s a good opportunity to show your communication skills and a chance to mention any relevant skills or experience that you forgot to mention at the interview.

After each interview

Contact your Garden Workforce Consultant by phone or email to let them know how things went.