So, you’ve got yourself an interview and now’s the time to shine….

For some, interviews are a natural, enjoyable and sometimes easy process that most of the time will result in a job offer. You find selling yourself is easy – after all, who knows you better than you! However for some, the thought of an interview for that dream job can keep them awake at night. Nerves take over and influence the things you say, the way you behave and even how you think. Interviews, like most things in life are something you get better at with practice. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, below are some useful tips to maximise your chance of success.

Before the interview

• Research the organisation, check the company website and search for them on the internet.

• Research their competitors and any interesting industry developments.

• If you’re changing career make sure you research the industry and job role.

• Prepare answers to the more common and tough questions – you’ll feel more confident as a result.

• Make sure you know the name of the person or people interviewing you.

• Check the format of the interview e.g informal or structured competency-based…

• Research your interviewers – Google their names and check LinkedIn.

• Print a copy of your CV to take with you.

• Re-read and learn your CV.

• Plan the journey and check for potential delays.

• Take a contact number with you in case there are any problems.

• Print out a map of your route, don’t just rely on Satellite Navigation.

• Plan to get there early allowing for any unexpected travel delays.

At the interview

• Switch off your mobile phone.

• Use your career highlights or key achievements to sell yourself, remember a company always buys what you can do for them so use lots of examples to evidence your experience and skills.

• Interview using future tense language e.g “Here’s what I can do for you…..”

• Don’t talk about money, it doesn’t create the right impression and an employer may question your motivations. If need be, then communicate “ XYZ is what I am on, if you think I am the right candidate then I would hope you could make me a suitable offer”.

• Ask probing and creative questions about the role and company – the quality of questions you ask can set you apart from your competition.

• Close for the interview feedback e.g “From what you’ve seen of me is there any gaps in my experience that is of concern to you?” or “I’m really interested in the opportunity; do you have any reservations about putting me forward to the next step?”

• Finally, thank them for your time and communicate your interest.

After the interview

• Call your consultant to complete a full interview de-brief.

• Email to thank the interviewer for the opportunity (could be direct or via the recruitment consultant).

So in Summary….

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and welcome the feedback, good or bad – it’s all constructive and will only service you better for the future. Learn your CV off patter, sometime what you achieved 10 years ago can be forgotten. Develop a good list of questions to ask them – be as inquisitive and creative as possible. Always be enthusiastic, motivated and prepare on those tough questions so you feel more confident. Where possible interview using future tense language and back up your answers with relevant examples and past achievements.

For further career advice or to find out how Leader Executive Search can support you with your job search within the FMCG industry please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0845 689 0820 or

About Jonathan O'Hagan

With over 15 years of experience Jonathan is a respected Headhunter/ Executive Recruiter with a strong and proven commercial background. Having moved into Executive Search in 2006 Jonathan joined a midlands based Executive Search Consultancy establishing and specialising in the FMCG and Retail practice. He quickly and successfully built an impressive reputation in the market place and established himself as the preferred search partner to a number of major blue chip retailers, food manufacturers and wholesalers. Throughout his career Jonathan has handled various assignments across the UK and EMEA regions in all areas of the industry from Sales, Marketing, Operations, NPD, Technical and other specialist functions. In early 2011 Jonathan founded Leader Executive Search following a strong desire to provide a more personal, professional, quality driven and flexible consultancy for both candidates and clients alike in this ever demanding and changing industry. Previously Jonathan has worked for leading multinational companies including DSGi and the world renowned Franklin Covey Group. Specialties: Executive Search (Headhunting), Career Development, Talent Attraction and Online Resourcing Tools and Methods.