Interview Advice by Jarvis Johnson

Published on: 16 Aug 2011

Most important point: Turn up!!!

And if for any reason you can’t turn up, PHONE UP!

If you read no further, then make sure you at least never fail on the above!!!

A couple of videos to show the kinds of interviews to avoid!

Arrogant lazy candidate vs interviewer trying to be nice  
Arrogant interviewer vs desperate candidate  

Real-life examples of what NOT to do... 

Turning up smelling of fish (ground into soles of shoes in the factory!)
Being drunk and incoherent!
...and one Hygiene Manager, when asked whether she preferred the use of hoses or buckets, replied “ I hate hoses, men just swing them around like they’re giant d*cks” – yes seriously that was her answer!!!

What follows is a condensed version of our interview advice. If you would like to receive a PDF version of the full advice document, please e-mail 

Preparing for the interview

Research and make notes about:

• The Company
• Their product(s)
• Awards/standards achieved
• Their ethos
• The job
• The journey

Note: An interview is a sales situation, but that works both ways! You need to find out whether the job and the company is right for you, as much as the employer needs to find out whether you are the right candidate for them.

During the interview


• Dress appropriately
• Arrive in good time
• Freshen up once you get there, use a mirror to check you still look presentable!
• Use your time in reception wisely; talk to the receptionist if appropriate, read company literature etc
• Give a great first impression...firm handshake, smile, convey enthusiasm and energy!
• Maintain eye contact (not in a stalker-ish staring kind of way!)
• Ask questions
• Answer questions in a logical, factual and sincere manner. Back up your claims with examples
• Convey the impression that YOU WANT THAT JOB


• Don't relax and rely on your application form to do the selling for you.
• Don't chew gum.
• Don't answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no".
• Don't waffle
• Don't lie!
• Don't make derogatory remarks about your present or past employers
• DON'T enquire about salary, holiday, bonuses, or other benefits, unless the employer has said he would like to offer you the job.

Commonly asked interview questions

Some questions are fairly typical of most interviews, and you can dramatically increase your chances of success by preparing for these beforehand.

We have provided examples of common interview questions in our full interview guidance document. Please e-mail if you would like us to send you a copy.

Competency-based interviews

Competency-based interviews are actually easier to deal with than other types of interviews, because they are the easiest to prepare for. They are also a very fair way for an employer to assess candidates against each other.

For any given role, an employer will have a list of essential competencies, or skills. They will then ask you to demonstrate, using examples, that you have that particular skill, and they will ask you more in-depth questions based on that example. They will then score each answer and it will give them a grading system for each candidate.

The most commonly used technique for competency-based interviews is the S-T-A-R technique: Situation/Task-Actions-Results 

Situation/Task: What was the situation/task? What was your brief? What did you need to achieve? What tasks did you need to complete?

Actions: What did you do?

Results: What was the end result? What did you achieve? What went wrong – and if something did, what did you learn from it?

You can prepare for competency-based interviews by making a list of the skills that you think are essential to the role you have applied for, and thinking of good examples that will demonstrate that you have those skills. Remember to refer to the job brief or description supplied by your Consultant.

The Most Important Thing (aside from turning up!!)

Employers are always more interested in people who are keen on the job. If you are interested in the position and would like to receive an offer, ASK FOR THE JOB!

"Paul, you said earlier that there would have to be a second interview. I'm very interested in this position and I'm sure I can do a good job for you. Are there any reasons why I shouldn't be invited back for a second interview?"

"John, I realise you have other applicants to see, but AT THIS STAGE, do you have any reservations? Is there any reason why you wouldn't want to employ me?"
If the interviewer DOES have some reservations, try to address them and then ask the question again. Agree on a time-scale by which you will have some feedback (via your Consultant) & a decision.

Just as Important…

Immediately after your interview, you must telephone your Consultant. When employers call Recruiters to give feedback, they often ask: ‘Have you heard from the candidate?' It is much more encouraging to the employer if we can say that we have and that you are very interested.
If you have any unanswered questions or feel that you didn’t answer a particular question as well as you could have done, tell your Consultant and we will pass on your comments/questions. If you would like to write to the company to thank the interviewer for their time and re-iterate your interest, we would encourage you to do so, via your Consultant. E-mail your Consultant and he/she will forward your comments.

One final thought... 

If your interview is successful and you decide to resign...a quick tip from a previous real-life “how not to...”: Don’t resign by scrawling a note on a piece of toilet paper apologising for the empty whisky bottles hidden in your desk drawer!