“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” 

Benjamin Franklin

Never has the old adage been more appropriate than when thinking about interviewing. Many things about the interview process have changed or evolved in response to the global pandemic, including the inclusion and often used virtual interview. However, the importance of preparation remains a vital step. 

Whilst the interview is an opportunity to learn more about the role and your potential new employer, it is important to make a strong first impression.

Take a look at our helpful tips on how you can prepare for an interview and ensure that you stand out from the other applicants.

Understand The Job

Read through the job specification again and ensure you thoroughly understand any qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for. This will help you determine your previous experience and exactly what you wish to demonstrate in the interview.

Make notes on key points or where you have any questions about the role or company. 


Look at their company website, key personnel, social media platforms and note down any relevant information to have with you for the interview. Find out about:

  • Vision / Mission / Values / Purpose 
  • Key selling points and differentiators 
  • Key specialism and area of expertise
  • Service offerings
  • Geographical coverage 
  • Key milestones achieved 
  • Key messaging on social media / current campaigns

Your CV 

To help you prepare for an interview, it’s good practice to read through your CV. Do this prior to the interview and make sure you are aware of the information you have included. The interviewer will likely ask you to talk them through your CV. Decide which areas you wish to focus on and which parts can be skimmed over if less relevant to the role.


Come to the interview with some well prepared questions that demonstrate your interest and intent for the company and role. An employer will often ask if you have any questions, so make sure you have a list of about 3-5 questions (possibly more depending on the situation).


Face to Face: Plan your journey beforehand and leave plenty of time to get there early. If you are unable to demonstrate good timekeeping, you will be on the back foot for the rest of the interview. It is better to arrive early, be able to grab a coffee and mentally prepare yourself for the interview ahead.    

Depending on your mode of transport, there are some great journey planner and travel apps to assist your preparation.

Telephone: Make sure you are somewhere quiet with good phone reception. Set up a space where you can focus and have a surface where you can keep any documents to hand or write notes. Make sure any other devices are on silent/do not disturb and make sure you pick up the first call.   

Video: Test your camera and microphone set up before your meeting. Do a couple of test runs with the specific software being used to become familiar with the software. Often you can open the interview link early to test your camera and mic. Make sure you are in a quiet location with strong wifi signal and good lighting so you can be clearly seen. Make sure your background is suitable and you are well presented. Click the link in good time to make sure you do not miss the meeting. 

First Impression 

First impressions are key in all walks of life, especially interviews. Ask the employer or recruiter (if you’re speaking with one) what the dress code is so you can dress appropriately. If it is face to face, be early for the meeting and enter with a firm handshake whilst maintaining eye contact throughout the interview. Non-verbal communication can be just as important as anything you say, so use confident, accessible body language. Smile frequently, maintain a good posture and stay relaxed.

If the meeting is virtual, even though you may not be able to be seen, your posture dictates a lot about how your voice is perceived. Make sure if seated, you are comfortable, and sitting upright (not slumped).

Consider your answers

Though it’s hard to know exactly what questions you’ll be asked, you can prepare for your interview by considering how you will answer. Ensure you respond truthfully, tying your answers back to any key skills and accomplishments. Keep your answers short and focused on the question you’ve been asked, to avoid rambling and going off topic.

As much as possible, avoid speaking negatively about your current or former employers/colleagues. Your new employer will be looking for a positive approach and ability to overcome challenges. Even if you’re feeling discouraged, try to explore the good things, what you’ve learned and what you’ve gained from your experience.


The final part of the interview is a great opportunity for you to close the client/sell yourself so don’t be afraid to ask how they felt the interview went. Did they have any reservations? What are the next stages? These will give you clarity and further opportunity to shut down any of their reservations.

Advance TRS

For more helpful interview tips, and job search advice check out our other Advance Advice articles.

We have a variety of opportunities available on our job boards and a team of talented consultants to speak to on 01483 361 061.

While all interviews and interviewers are different, there are some common questions that are asked frequently. This is to find out more about the candidate and how they deal with certain situations. We’ve compiled a list of some of those questions and some guidance on how to answer them.

You can read more of our interview tips in our Advance Advice section.

Tell me about yourself

Some interviewers will start the conversation by giving a little insight into the business. They will then most likely ask you to tell them a little bit about yourself.

Give them a quick summary of who you are and what you have been doing. In addition, some insight on any experience you’ve had which is relevant to the job. It’s a great point in the interview to mention your top achievements and why you think you’d be perfect for the role.

The interviewer won’t want to hear your life story or your family history here. Make sure to talk about experience relevant to the position instead. 

Why are you looking to leave your current role?

With this common interview question, you should consider how you word your answer. Here, it is important not to talk negatively about your current employer. Focus on mentioning that you are looking for new challenges. You could even highlight aspects of the job you are interviewing for which aren’t available with your current employer.

Tell me about a tricky situation you have dealt with and how you solved it

When being asked this kind of question, the interviewers want to find out more about your negotiating skills or potential clashes with colleagues. The best way to approach this question is to explain the situation, how you resolved it and what the outcome was.

Try to steer clear of describing a situation where you caused conflict. This might give the impression that you are a trouble-maker and might not be a good fit for their team.

What are your weaknesses

Being asked this question can be quite daunting and we have recently dedicated a blog post to it which you can read here.

Talk about something you know isn’t your strongest point but which you are working on, for example, your presentation skills. This is something you can get training on and will be the kind of answer the interviewer is looking for.

The salary question

Don’t undersell yourself here and say to the interviewer that whatever they think will be great. 

A lot of job adverts will include a salary band and if this isn’t the case, you can take a look at similar roles and get a good idea of an appropriate salary from those. 

You can then justify what you are asking for by mentioning relevant knowledge and experience you will bring to the team.

Do you have any questions

Avoid asking about working hours and holidays here but instead, ask something about the business. Something you might have read about and you’d like to find out more. Maybe there is a new product or service they are launching which you can ask about. That also shows the interviewer that you have done your research on the company. 

Are you looking to take the next step in your career? 

Advance TRS is growing quickly and we are always looking for ambitious, driven people to join the team. If you are interested to find out more about our current opportunities, visit our website

Or, for a discrete conversation, contact Jess Wells our Talent Acquisition Manager.

Looking for a new job can be an exhausting and daunting prospect. What kind of salary can I get? Which companies are hiring? What are the people like? How do I update my CV? What do I say at an interview? These are all questions that can get in the way of you taking your next step in your career. 

It can also be a lonely process if you don’t want to let on to friends and colleagues that you are looking to move, you may be left feeling out on a limb. 

Recruiters can have a bad reputation, but fundamentally they can really help you to find your next role and hold your hand through the process, being a trusted advisor and confidant to help you make your next step the right one.

Here are just a few benefits of working with a recruitment consultant. 

1. Help with updating your CV

If you have been out of the job market for a while, the thought of updating your CV might be a scary one. By working with a recruitment consultant, they can help you through the process, giving you CV templates, tips and tricks or even writing it with you. Don’t hesitate to ask them for support and guidance – a good consultant will know how to make your CV stand out from the rest. Finally, remember this service is free for you! So make sure you get the full benefits of working with a pro. Read our CV writing tips or download our CV template

2. Bring you to life

No more battling to be the most eye-catching CV on the pile. Not only can a recruitment consultant help you look great on paper, but they can also bring you to life for the client. By getting to know you and understanding what you have to offer, they can sell you to the client so that before they have even seen your CV they want to meet you. This jumps you to the top of the pile and ahead of the competition. 

3. Finding hidden gems 

Good recruitment consultants have exclusive relationships with their clients, with access to roles that are not openly advertised on the job market. Simply put, your dream job might be out there but you may never see it unless you engage with a consultant well embedded in your industry, working with the companies you want to work for. So do your research to find the consultant representing these companies and let them unlock the hidden gem jobs you didn’t even know about.

4. Salary clarity 

From day one a consultant will know the salary information for roles you are applying for and will work to understand your expectations and value on the market. A consultant can also act as a great advocate in uncomfortable salary conversations to help negotiate on your behalf for the salary you are looking for so you won’t have to wonder if you could have got a higher salary in hindsight. 

5. Interview walkthrough 

Consultants know the client, the locations and their interview style. They are best placed to coach you through the interview process so you can put your best foot forward and feel confident and prepared. It is in the consultant’s interest that you perform well at interview stage if you’re the right person for the role, and having someone in your corner to coach you through the process can make it less stressful. Read our interview tips here

At Advance TRS our consultants work in a consultative manner and strive to act as your trusted advisor. Remember as a candidate our service is free and our team are here to help you through the process from start to finish. 

View our latest opportunities here or contact our team on 01483 361061 or info@advance-trs.com.

So you have an interview, congratulations, you are one step closer to securing your next job. Now, preparation is key, so follow our step by step guide to maximise your opportunity.

Step 1. Know what you’re wearing – dress for success!

First impressions last, so what you wear for an interview is essential.  Make sure you are aware of the company dress code before you arrive, some businesses prefer their staff to dress formally whilst others take a more casual approach. If you are in doubt over what to wear then always err on the side of caution and dress smartly. It is better to be overdressed for an interview than underdressed.

Step 2. Practice your performance

If you were an actor you wouldn’t go to the opening night of a big performance without having learnt your lines. Treat your interview in the same way; we advise rehearsing with a friend or family member the night before so you are fully prepared for being put on the spot.

Step 3. Do you know about the company? Research, Research, Research

There is nothing worse for a hiring manager than a candidate who knows nothing about his or her company, it demonstrates either a lack of care or regard for the job or just pure laziness.

Before you go to the interview make sure you have read the company website and taken the time to understand the size of the business, its services or products, history and mission statement. It is also worth printing out any material that could be of particular interest.

Know who you are meeting, search the company website and LinkedIn to get as much information about your interviewer as possible.  This will help you to anticipate what he or she will be looking for in an employee.

Step 4. Where are you going and how will you get there?

Always check the route and how long it will take, then plan on arriving early. If you are using public transport make sure you buy tickets in advance to save cost, time and hassle on the day of your interview. If you are driving, find out where you will park; having to walk miles unexpectedly could make you late and appearing flustered will not create the best first impression.

Step 5. What to take with you

At advance we recommend our candidates take three items with them to any interview:

  • A copy of the job description, use it to refer to during the interview.
  • Two copies of your CV, this demonstrates organisation and could assist the interviewer if they do not have a copy to hand.
  • And finally, a notepad and pen. Ask if you take notes, this demonstrates interest, shows you are eager to learn and take the job in question seriously.

Step 6. Questions and Closing

Prepare 10 questions.

This is where most people get caught out. Don’t be afraid to challenge the interviewer on why you should join their organisation.  If appropriate ask why they joined the company.  This demonstrates that you value your own worth.

And finally…

Ask the interview panel if they have any reservations about your capabilities, this gives you the opportunity to address any concerns they may have.

Good luck!