Interview Techniques


Preparing for your interview

Regardless of its shape or form, even the most confident person is likely to experience some nerves in an interview. Whilst it is completely normal to feel nervous, the more preparation you do the better the chance you will have to secure the job.

The information you’ve been given before your interview should help you to prepare. Apart from date, time and venue, Assystem will give you as much information as possible about the company.

From you will be able to research Assystem, see news items, locations, company profiles, and company capability statements, everything you need to give you a good insight to who Assystem Energy & Infrastructure are.

Company knowledge

Employers want to believe that you have a genuine desire to work for their organisation and will be a committed member of the team. There is nothing worse than being faced with a candidate who hasn’t got a clue about the business and just wants a job. That’s why it is essential to demonstrate you understand the company’s history, plans and culture.

An internet search will usually reveal all you need to know about the main people in the business and whether there have been any major changes recently, such as the launch of new products or services. You don’t need to remember tones of information – a few facts and figures are enough to show you’ve done your homework.

Related skills and training                                                                      

Your CV will contain the highlights of your education and career history. It is designed to be a concise document, so there may be other relevant points to discuss face to face. Before going into the interview, make a list of the less obvious, but equally important skills you’ve acquired over the years. Whether through formal training or self-development. These could include proficiency in different software programmes, or internal training specific to your current or previous organisation. Having this list handy will allow you to easily demonstrate competency in a particular area, such as the ability to learn new systems and processes.

Measurable examples of success

It is highly likely that your interviewer has already met several other candidates for the role, so you need to make sure you stand out from the competition. When discussing your abilities and experience, try to steer clear of over-used phrases that your potential employer has probably heard a million times before, such as “I’m a real people person” or “I pride myself on my work”. Instead you should discuss situations where you demonstrated these qualities with a positive effect. For example, if you do pride yourself on your people skills then you may want to talk about a time when you led a team, helped a colleague or were commended for your excellent customer service.

Positive attitude and flexibility    

In most roles, there are times when you will be expected to go above and beyond the call of duty, or do something that doesn’t technically fit within your remit, in order to get the job done. This is all part of the natural ebb and flow of working life and not something to be shirked. Businesses need people they can rely on, so interviewees who demonstrate a willingness to be flexible and stretch themselves are more likely to be hired than those with rigid expectations or working habits.


If there’s ever a time to be on your best behaviour it’s in an interview. This may seem an obvious point but it’s something all too many people forget. Be polite to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to your potential boss. Smile, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate and show that you would be a friendly and valuable member of the team. When it comes to making a final decision between two equally qualified candidates, the one who comes across as most personable is bound to get the job!

If you remember all these points when preparing for an interview then you can feel confident you will perform to the best of your ability on the day. If you don’t get the job then try not to feel too disheartened. Instead try to think about where you could do better next time and take steps to fill any knowledge gaps or work on your interview technique with a friend.

The Big Day Has Arrived …

First impressions

Initial and lasting judgements are made on first impressions and within a very short period of time. Research indicates that around 92% of a judgment about a person is made within the first minute and a half of meeting them for the first time. So you need to get it right the first time.

There are a few simple steps you can take to create a good first impression.

  • Arrive in plenty of time and allow for contingencies. Have a ‘Plan B’ for how you will get to the venue. If you are delayed, make sure you notify your Assystem contact.
  • Wear what you are comfortable in. Avoid under or over-dressing. In either case you will feel ill-at-ease
  • If you do smoke, try not to have one just before you walk in. A mint doesn’t cover it up.
  • Avoid having coffee just before your interview, even if you are offered one when you arrive. Caffeine can increase feelings of nervousness

During the interview

Let’s assume you’ve got that first impression nailed. Here are a few things you can do to continue to build on your good start.

  • Have eye contact
  • Smile! It suggests confidence.
  • Don’t assume that the interviewer knows the detail of what is on your CV. Do not assume that they know what your previous experience has entailed.
  • Where possible, give real examples of ‘how’ you have achieved a positive outcome; specify what these were and the benefits. Be clear about what your personal contribution was. Use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’.
  • Be aware of your body language. You want to convey that you’re enthusiastic, positive and energetic. So don’t slouch in the chair looking demoralised even if you think the interview isn’t going according to plan.

At the end of the interview

At the end of the interview they should let you know when a decision will be made and how you will be notified. If they do not, you should ask.

The panel will often ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to show that you have thought about the job and the organisation and to get clarity about anything you are unclear about. If time is tight, pick a few questions, a long list of questions can tire out an interviewer who is seeing six people in one day. Don’t just ask about holidays and perks, this doesn’t leave a good impression.

Don’t introduce the issue of salary unless the interviewer brings it up. If you do, it could create the impression that salary is your prime consideration. This can always be discussed in more detail when an offer of appointment is made.

At the close of the interview, be positive. Thank the Interviewer for the opportunity to meet with them and for their time and consideration. Convey the impression that you really want the job and that you look forward to hearing from them.

What happens next?

If you are offered the job – congratulations! Respond positively to the news. It may be that the role is daunting and that it will stretch you professionally. It may mean a big life change (e.g. relocation). Try not to let these other factors influence your initial response.

Make sure that you fully understand what happens next. Normally, references will be taken up. You may need to notify your referees. Ensure that you understand what you are required to do in order that other checks can be carried out (e.g. health).

Confirm when the letter of appointment will be sent to you. Do not hand your notice in to your current employer until you have the offer of appointment confirmed in writing.

Stock Photography: Business Handshake Picture. Image: 186042


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s