Navigating the interview gauntlet

Navigating the interview gauntlet

Are you willing to go where the company sends you?

This question may seem to be the proverbial ‘spanner in the works’. However, step back and think about what exactly the prospective employer is asking you?

Some of us think we are not allowed to question the interviewer. This is an urban myth. If you are unsure of the question and require more information, you are entitled to ask for more clarity.

In this scenario you could question the specifics of the question: is it a case of occasional business travel, or is the company actually relocating? My advice would be: keep your options open.

Don’t say no to the prospect of relocation in the interview. This will result in a definite ‘no’ for the prospect of them offering you the job, and possibly ending the interview prematurely.

The interview is the process by which you aim to guarantee yourself an offer. However, you must understand that that is all it is an offer. It is then up to you to choose whether to accept it or not. Leave the avenues open, it is only when you successfully receive an offer can you then make an informed decision: even if you and your other half are not so keen on Uzbekistan this time of year.


What would you like to be doing in five years from now?

Obviously one should steer clear of ‘hopefully will have won the lottery by then, lounging by a pool far far away’, but still bring a degree of honesty to your answer.

Don’t be afraid to show ambition and determination. What‘s stopping you from saying, ‘a partner of this firm, or two levels from where I am now’?

Employers want to see drive. This is also an opportunity to reflect on past achievements in roles to date. Explain how you were promoted in a previous role and aim to repeat this success in this prospective role.

The interviewer is not trying to catch you out. At the end of the day the onus is on you to highlight your attributes and counteract these sticky questions with positives.

One way of counterbalancing this is to speak about your enthusiasm for future opportunities within the company. ‘From my research and what you have told me, the company offers a continuous training programme, and I would expect that from this, opportunities would come to the fore’.

Remember most interviewers are like Leaving Cert examiners: they actually want to see you do well, and in this case they are merely assessing if you have the ambition to succeed, if hired.


Preparing for interview

As we have often said in this column, the key element of preparing for interview is to think about what the employer is actually looking for – too often, people broadcast what they have, but do not relate it to the employer’s needs.

If you would like a copy of our form that helps you to isolate the employer’s needs, simply email with Key Issues Form in the subject line. This form will help to get you in the right frame of mind prior to the interview.