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How to ace your job interview

How to ace your job interview

If you are reading this, it is likely you have been successful in getting to interview stage with a prospective employer and would appreciate some pointers!

It is perfectly normal to be feeling nervous, apprehensive and daunted by the thought of an interview but hopefully these pointers will help you bag that fantastic job! 

Like many things, interviewing is a skill that can be practiced and perfected - although hopefully, you will only need to do it once!

Here at Compass Point Recruitment we have put our heads together to come up with our TOP interview tips to help you stand out from the competition and snap up that job! 

Through more than 70+ years combined experience working in recruitment our consultants have taken the feedback from our candidates and clients to support you in your first steps at nailing that interview!


Tip 1


If you are sitting in front of a Line Manager, MD or HR Manager and they ask you what you know about their business, they are expecting you to have done your research! DO NOT say “I looked on your website” and then not elaborate! 

There are many means of researching a business and tools you can access to put you ahead of your competition. These include of course the company website but also Google. Quite often just by googling a business, you will find a number of different articles, LinkedIn contacts and company reviews! 

Companies love to see that you are up to date with their news, up and coming events as well as information on their values and the fundamentals of what the business does, whether this be manufacturing, accountancy or marketing! 

Don’t be afraid to make notes and refer to these in your interview! 

Finally give yourself enough time to prepare for an interview and don’t do all of the above, sitting in your car outside of your interview, 10 minutes before!


Tip 2


Most employers will base their interview around you and your previous experience and skills. 

Make sure you have been through your CV and are prepared for any questions they may ask you. You make be asked to give examples of skills you have listed, or speak about duties you conducted in previous roles. 

It may be helpful to get someone to quiz you before on your CV with some practice questions! 

Take a copy of your CV along to your interview as well as the job description to make reference to throughout your interview.




What attire is acceptable day to day will depend on the type of business you work at. However, when going for your interview, smart is always best... remember first impressions count.  You want to make a lasting impression on that employer but NOT for the wrong reasons!




If you aren’t 100% sure where you need to go for your interview, make sure you allocate some time beforehand for a dummy run or at least leave enough time for you to find where you need to be and get there for your allotted time. Always ensure you arrive promptly for your interview. 

Arriving 5 minutes early is fine but be mindful of the environment and that arriving too early could disrupt other interviews that are taking place.. especially if there is limited Reception space for you to wait in!




This is your time to shine and demonstrate why YOU are the best candidate for the job! 

Make sure you smile, give good eye contact and greet your employer with a firm handshake! 

Be honest when answering questions, emphasise your strengths, turn weaknesses into positives and give examples of how you turned a weakness into a positive! 

Make sure you listen to the questions you are being asked and do not be afraid to pause for thought! (This is a good way to avoid waffling!) 

Remember to be yourself and show you are genuine and would be a pleasure to work with! 

Be open about your career goals and speak about why you want the job – be confident in your abilities and let this be known in your interview!




Usually during any interview there is an opportunity for you to ask questions. This may present itself throughout the interview or there may be an opportunity to do this at the end. Make sure you have some prepared questions for the employer. 

This interview is a two way process and you want to make sure you have asked the right questions in order to establish if this business is as right for you as you are for them! 

Questions for the employer might include:

  • What do you enjoy about working for this business?
  • What does a typical day look like here?
  • What challenges are you facing as a business at the moment?
  • What are the common traits that you have seen in people that succeed in your business
  • What is the 3-5 year growth plan for the business?
For more ideas, check out our blog on What to ask at a Job Interview



The topic of salary can be up for discussion at interview but this should be led by the employer. 

If a recruiter has done their job properly or the advert has been clear, you should know what the salary looks like before you go for the interview and the employer should have an idea of what you are looking for in your next role. 

The discussion of salary usually tends to be spoken about in more detail at second interview or offer stage. There are times where salary can be discussed at your first interview, however this depends on the formality of your interview and how appropriate it is for this to be mentioned.




When your interview begins to come to a close, make sure you take the opportunity to ask when you will be likely to hear when a decision will be made. Let the employer know you enjoyed hearing about the business and meeting them and reiterate that you would like to be considered for the position (only if this is the case of course!) and thank them for their time.




After telling you all about what you should do at an interview, we also wanted to highlight our Top 10 interview don’ts...

  1. Don’t be afraid to say you are unsure if asked a question you don’t know the answer to! It is far better to say you aren’t sure, than to fake it!
  2. Don’t become over familiar and slip into informal language (both verbal and body!)
  3. Don’t forget to say hello to EVERYONE you meet, this includes the receptionist – she may be asked for feedback on when you arrived!
  4. Don’t waffle! Try and remain calm during your interview and stay on track with your answers
  5. Don’t speak poorly of former colleagues or employers, this will not reflect well on you to a prospective employer and shows a lack of professionalism
  6. Don’t over think it if you slip up on a question, take a deep breath and carry on!
  7. (One for the smokers!) Don’t have a cigarette right before walking into your interview! Don’t forget that first impressions count and you want to be remembered for your overwhelming ability to do the job and NOT your cigarette breath!
  8. Don’t be afraid to interview the interviewer! Ask questions and make sure you have left the interview having covered everything that you wanted to know!
  9. Don’t give away too much personal information
  10. Don’t stress! You will be brilliant and ACE that interview!

Paige O'ConnellAbout the author

This blog was written by Paige O'Connell, Senior Consultant - Commercial, of Compass Point Recruitment.

Compass Point your local recruitment experts

Whether you are looking to find yourself a new role or filling a vacancy, Compass Point is your local expert recruitment team. We specialise in recruitment at all levels in AccountancyEngineeringFoodHuman ResourcesIndustrialOffice SupportSales & Marketing and Supply Chain.
From our Bury St Edmunds base, since 1995, we have built excellent local recruitment expertise working with clients and candidates across the whole of East Anglia region including Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk.

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