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Interview Preparation

Many candidates are apprehensive of interviews with a prospective employer – some candidates find it difficult to overcome nervousness. Some find it difficult to juggle all the aspects involved during the interview.  We at HERO have spent many years guiding people through the interview process, ensuring that the candidates met by our clients are confident and self-assured.

Firstly, well done! An excellent outcome. To be called for interview means that the employer has reviewed your CV and, on paper, you meet the requirements for the role. An interview offers you the perfect opportunity to impress in person, expand on your CV and add the character to your career to date. Remember an interview is just a conversation. We have put a few tips together to help you interview with confidence and secure your dream job.

Research the company and the job description
To be successful at interview you will need to do your homework on the Employer. Understanding their business, products, recent investments, projects or even community social responsibility will demonstrate your interest specific to their company.

Being clear on how the job description directly relates to your experience is key.

Anticipate the interview questions
To help you prepare we’ve provided a list of the Competency Based questions That you can download here that are likely to come up during your interview. Take time to understand the competencies for the position you are interviewing for.

Our HERO Consultant is always available to fully support and guide you.

Articulating your answers using the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) will help in putting the important structure to your response and communication.

It’s beneficial to write it down.  It helps articulate your thought process as well as committing it to memory.

Download our guide on the STAR technique here.

Practice your speaking voice and body language
It’s important to make a positive and lasting impression during the interview process. You can do this by practising confident, strong speaking voice and friendly, open, body language.

Know your CV well
Be clear on areas like why you left each employer, achievements and process improvements you brought to each role even right down to the results you got in your exams. You would be surprised how often this question comes up, regardless of how long ago you sat your exams.

Conduct Mock interviews
Just like public speaking, practicing interviews is the best way to improve your confidence. Work with your HERO Consultant, friends and family to conduct mock interviews again and again.

The more you repeat your interview, the more confident you’ll be during the actual interview.

Know where you’re going and how to get there..
Arrive early: This may seem obvious, but it’s better to leave with plenty of time to get to your interview and allow for any unforeseen delays.  If you’re located close to the site where you’re interviewing a quick trip can help you to navigate your way on the day and negotiate any parking restrictions.

Dress well – wear professional or business attire
For companies that have a business or business casual dress code, keep your look basic and conservative for the first interview.  First impressions count.

Promote yourself
One of the biggest challenges in an interview is promoting yourself.  Irish people are modest by nature but in an interview we have to convince the employer of our ability to do the job.

The truth is that you do have professional skills and experiences that may set you apart from other applicants.  The best way to do this is to base your interview around proven achievements. These can stem from college, work experience or your extra-curricular activities.

It’s okay to take a second to think.
An “unknown question’ during interview can sometimes throw us off track.  Remember it’s okay to take a moment or two to think about your answer to the question before you say it.

Rather than panic and begin saying anything and everything pause for a moment instead. Remember you can always ask for more information.

Ask Questions – prepare several thoughtful question for the interview
Most employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful question about the company and the position. You will most likely be asked ‘ Do you have any questions for us’?  No, is never an acceptable answer. When we don’t ask question from the employer we can come across disinterested.

Questions about progression, training, internal targets or daily operations are good. They show enthusiasm and dedication to learning.

We have provided a list of question that you may find helpful.

  • What opportunities are available to develop my career with your organisation?
  • If I am successful, what are your expectations in the first 30/60/90 days?
  • What do you anticipate as been the biggest challenge in this role?
  • Can you advise where this role sits within the organisational structure?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?


Be yourself
Being authentic in interview by reflecting who you are and how you work best is so important for both you and the company.   It’s worth taking the time to finding the right company and culture for you. Let them see the real you.  We spend much of our lives at work.  Choose your next employer wisely. You will know when it’s right.

Create a CV that gets you noticed
A high-quality CV is a personal marketing document and is an important tool when it comes to job hunting and sets you apart from your competitors. A good CV will showcase your professional history, your skills, abilities and achievements. Ideally, it should highlight why you are the best person for the job.  It should be succinct and presented in an easy to read format using a simple font, minimal styling and the use of bullet points to break down information While the layout and structure of a CV can be flexible, there are some mandatory inclusions that employers expect to see.

To ensure you create a CV that gets you noticed, HERO have outlined some guidelines to help you stand out.

Start with name, address and contact details
List the main contact details prospective employers will be able to reach you on easily. Ensure the details are clear and feature prominently at the top of your CV. Include a link to your up to date LinkedIn profile within your introductory details.

Personal profile
A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s a short paragraph that sits just underneath your name and contact details giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.  Summarise and highlight what you can offer to a prospective employer. Point out any career highlights that will draw attention to what you have accomplished. It should be tailored specifically for each role you apply for and aim to make you stand out from the competition.

Summarise your skills
Use bullet points to list the skills and experience you have that are specific and relevant to the role. Employers will scan this section of your CV very quickly to see what you can offer and your suitability for the role. Wherever possible, use the same adjectives used in the advertisement.

Experience and Employment History
This section should include your work history in the most recent chronological order including professional experience, volunteer or internships/college placements. Experience and employment history.  When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and bolster each point with strong verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact.  It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially if it’s a long list. If you have many years’ worth of experience, you can reduce the detail of old or irrelevant roles. It is important to tailor this section of your CV to the job, specifically where key responsibilities in previous roles are applicable for your application.

Highlight your achievements
Your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight why you are the best fit the role, so it is important to include where you have gone above and beyond or made a significant achievement. Where achievements are measurable, include the numbers i.e. increased sales over target by 15%.

List education, any training and courses
Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved.  It is important to showcase where you may have up-skilled or could bring new knowledge to the organisation.  If lengthy, only list what is relevant or required for the role you are applying for, starting with most recent.

List any interests/hobbies (optional)
This is where you can highlight your personality in any hobbies or interests outside of work. Note, it is optional to include this on your CV.

References are available on request
It is fine to list references are available on request if you are not comfortable disclosing your referees until further into the recruitment process. It is important to make sure you have them readily available and contactable when requested.

Key skills
If you’re writing a functional CV, or have some abilities you want to showcase to a potential employer immediately, insert a key skills section underneath your personal profile. You should aim to detail four to five abilities at most.

Final top five tips
Use the right ‘keywords’ to ensure your CV is picked up in keyword searches by recruiters and headhunters.

Explain any gaps in your CV.

Highlight the skills that you have developed.

Don’t include acronyms or organisation related terminology.

Include two forms of contact, email and mobile.

Spelling and grammar check – ensure you check your CV thoroughly for any spelling and grammar errors. Perhaps even consider having a friend or family member check it over for you as well.

HERO Consultants would be happy to help you with any queries you may have in relation to how to get your CV noticed and we’d love to hear from you.

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