Winning the Interview Game

Peter Fisher

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First off, you need to understand that everything they want to know about you is in just 4 key areas:

  • Why are you here?

  • What can you do for us?

  • What sort of person are you?

  • Can we afford you?

    So you must get yourself prepared for this. Examine each one of these areas and you can be (perhaps) even better prepared than the interviewer you face.

    Why are you here?

    This doesn't mean “why are you in this room?" it means what made you apply for this job? You have to show it’s because you are interested in the job, the company, the challenge and the chance to learn and develop new skills. That and the fact that you are ready to move for such a great opportunity. Above all you want the job and you are confident that you are right for it (but please don’t be too cocky).

    What can you do for us?

    An employer is looking to buy results so you bring your experience, skills and achievements, as well as your desire to develop and contribute to a new team or department. Think back to your achievements and skills, and the results you got. But don’t just hark back to what you used to do – think what you will be capable of in the future and how you will fill the role you want.

    What sort of person are you?

    Someone who has initiative and gets on well with others and is flexible in attitude to different ways of working; maybe you are a great team player, or a strong leader or you describe yourself as a loyal and conscientious person. What they really want to know is: will you fit in, or are you going to upset the existing team?

    Can we afford you?

    Salary negotiation is another issue altogether, but the point is you should have a feeling for what the remuneration is likely to be and show them that you bring value-for-money. If they put you on the spot to name a figure; shoot a little higher than you think they are prepared to pay, but say “the opportunity itself is more important than the actual salary”.

    That’s all fine as a general background but now you’ve got to be more specific.

    Put yourself on the other side of the desk – if you were doing the interviewing, what would you really want to know that would convince you to make a job offer?

    You’d want to know more about those 4 key areas above wouldn’t you?

    So what you have to do now is write out your list of questions to explore those 4 areas as if you were the interviewer. This doesn't mean you should go easy on yourself; the more thorough you are the easier the interview becomes and the better your prospects of winning.

    Make your list least 25 questions long and don’t avoid that question - the one you don’t want to be asked (you know the one don’t you?) and then work out your answers.

    If you need help with your answers or even your questions, Peter Fisher has prepared answers to 58 tough questions in the “Smart Interview Guide" which is available by visiting

    Peter Fisher is Managing Director of Career consulting Limited. More information about Winning the Interview Game at

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