Job Interviews – 10 Top Tips for Candidates
in Careers Advice, Interviews

Job Interviews – 10 Top Tips for Candidates

Top 10 Tips for Interviewing – Guide for Candidates

It’s that time of year again when everybody is looking to attend or do interviews – these are our very basic pointers for anyone going to their first interview for while.

Be yourself

Don’t try to be somebody else or the person that you think the interviewer wants you to be. Always be yourself but within reason.

Always look the interviewer in the eye

Very simple piece of advice, but so hard to follow. When you are being interviewed, whether this is via Zoom or face to face, make sure you are looking at the interviewer the whole time. If there is more than one person interviewing you, then alternate from one person to the other. If you find it hard to maintain eye contact, don’t worry; simply look over the person’s shoulder, whether left or right. Do not under any circumstances look down at the ground or at your notes or at your hands or into the air. It is very difficult to maintain eye contact, but it is so important for an interview. It is one of the major psychological profile factors that gets looked at when interviewers are thinking about the person that they have interviewed.

Speak clearly

Do not under any circumstances mumble your answers, do not use the word “like” or “umm” and try to be as clear as you possibly can be. This does not necessarily mean changing your accent or the way you speak, but just making sure that you are looking at the person you are speaking to and opening your mouth as widely as possible and speaking clearly and loudly enough for the person to hear you.

Do not waffle

This is a common problem amongst students and first time interviewees who take the opportunity of an interview to tell the interviewer their life story and any problems that are arising. This is not the aim of an interview – the aim of the interview is to decide whether or not you are suitable for the position or role that you are applying for. Think about this at all times during your interview. This is not a psychologist you are speaking to – it is a future employer or someone who has something to give you.

Always think about what you can offer to the organisation or company, and not what they can offer you

Again a common piece of feedback we get as recruiters from employers is that somebody has been for a job interview with them but spent most of the time telling the employers how good the opportunity would be for them, and nothing about what they could offer to the opportunity. The person on the other side of the room is going to be doing you a favour by offering you the position or job. Not vice versa.

Dress smartly (and have a wash!)

Again, pretty much common sense, but again a piece of feedback we regularly receive from employers is that someone had attended an interview and appeared scruffy. It does not matter what the role is that you are going for; it is common sense and politeness to at least have a wash and put on some smart clothes if possible. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that because an organisation advertise themselves as offering casual clothing policies that means you can turn up to an interview wearing a pair of jeans with holes in them and a t-shirt that has seen better days.

Make sure you know the interviewers

Find out as much as you can about the interviewers before you attend the interview. Make sure you know their names so that you are able to speak to them and address them appropriately, and also find out a bit about them. Knowing the background of the person speaking to you is extremely important, because it gives you a rapport with the interviewer. It shows the interviewer that you have taken some time to research them individually as well as the organisation, and have not simply turned up for an interview. It does not matter what the interview is for, this particular piece of advice is very useful. The more senior the role you are going for, the more important it is to spend some time undertaking this research.

Make sure you know your CV

Again, this may seem like complete common sense but there is no point turning up to an interview and talking about something that you have forgotten to put on your CV, because a) it will make the interviewer wonder what else is missing from the CV, and b) they may think you’ve made it up. Study your CV very carefully at the outset prior to interview so that you can remember all the things that you have done and experienced, and make sure that when the opportunity is right you are able to bring those things up as positive points.

Always be positive in an interview

Avoid at all costs any negativity during an interview. Try not to criticise anybody, try not to raise anything that is a bad thing or negative thing that has happened to you in your life, and keep to the script of positivity. Everybody likes you, you like everybody, everything is good, nothing is bad. If you just remember this simple phrase it will help you concentrate on doing all the things that are right in an interview. Interviewers want positive things from people they are speaking to, not negative. Negative means that you get remembered for the negative things which will stand out rather than all the positive things you have done, which do need to stand out.

We hope this helps – it is our basic guide, but so many of the feedback points we get are basic!

If you have any questions about recruitment techniques – drop us a line to – always happy to help if we can (whether or not you use our services).

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at