The perfect interview

The dreaded interview – nothing is more likely to trigger a blank mind, stuttering and sweaty palms. But as they say, forewarned is forearmed, so we’ve got a sure fire list of top tips from specialist recruitment company Officeteam, to make sure you go into that interview cool, calm, and collected.

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Ask questions

A recent Officeteam survey revealed that leaving a lasting positive impression after an interview is of extreme importance. According to 38% of UK HR managers, the best way to do this is to ask questions at the end of the interview.

“Asking questions shows initiative, genuine interest and a desire to learn, meaning that in a workplace context you have the right skills to succeed – asking questions is the key to learning!” says Claire Howell, regional manager for OfficeTeam.

Know the company
If you’re interviewing outside your own company, have a fair idea about the business you are meeting with. Find out fact such as the number of employees, their growth, strategy, philosophy, turnover and profits. This is easily done by looking at the company website or calling for a company brochure or annual report. Not only does it show good preparation skills, again something that will transcend in to the workplace, but also proves that you genuinely want to work for the company.

Prepare documents
Preparing written or creative work, evidence of previous results, projects and portfolios will be the hard evidence to back up your interview. This provides proof that you are not exaggerating when discussing previous roles and highlights what you are able to achieve.

Be well mannered
“This may be a surprising tip, however it could cost you the job,” says Claire. “Be polite and courteous, even the smallest lack of manners will be noticed by an interviewer. This is particularly important for jobs where you will be dealing directly with the general public, clients and customers.”

Look neat and tidy
More than 20% of interviewers make up their minds about interviewees within the first five minutes, therefore the initial impact that you make on an interviewer could help influence their decision before you even start talking.

Be yourself. Trying to be someone you are not will become transparent very quickly to someone who has an extensive amount of interviewing experience. “Obviously nervousness is something you are likely to experience, however try to relax and take a deep breath!” says Claire.

Be on time
It is surprising how often candidates are late for an interview. Punctuality is very important and your interview timing will set a precedent for your time keeping skills in the future.

Do you have any top interview tips to pass on to your fellow PAs? Drop us a line at

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