• Leeds: 0113 2366300
  • Sheffield: 0114 2611700
  • Manchester: 0161 9806677
  • Doncaster: 01302 366999





Andrew Walker, Managing Consultant

Whether you are looking for your first job or moving on from your current position, making the right impression and selling yourself at an interview is essential to landing that dream role.

Before the interview

  • Start your research as soon as you find out you have secured an interview.  Find out as much as you can about your potential employer; read their annual report, check out their website, look at any recent press releases and be aware of any social media forums that they are involved with.
  • Find out who will be conducting the interview and what role they have in the company. Ask if you will be meeting one person or facing a panel and whether the appointment involves an assessment or psychometric test.
  • Get the exact address of where your interview will take place and work out how to get there – if possible do a trial run of your journey so you know where the building is, where you can park and what the traffic will be like.
  • It is impossible to predict what questions will come up during an interview but by doing some thorough preparation beforehand, using your CV as a starting point, you will be a great position to anticipate some of the more likely things you may be asked.
  • Think about your strengths, achievements and areas that you are proud of in order to sell yourself to the best of your ability.  Consider your weaknesses – interviewers will not be expecting you to be perfect in every way – and be positive about how you are looking at areas for improvement.

At the interview

  • Create the right impression from the outset but dressing in professional and presentable manner.
  • Nothing creates a bad impression like somebody arriving late for an interview.  Aim to arrive ten minutes early but if, despite your best efforts, you find yourself running late call as soon as you can to let them know and give them an idea of when you expect to arrive.
  • Make sure that you know how long the interview is expected to last beforehand so you are not clock-watching.
  • First impressions count; make eye contact, smile, look interested and alert and greet each person with a strong, confident handshake.
  • Conduct yourself in the right manner throughout – be aware of your body language and whilst your responses should demonstrate you are confident in your ability make sure you don’t come across as arrogant.
  • Take time to think about your answer to each question; give full and detailed answers but make sure you stick to the points you want make – if you are unsure about the question, ask for clarification.
  • Give positive reasons for why you are looking for a new role and don’t be negative about your current or past employers.
  • You may have areas of your CV which are not as strong as others; don’t try to cover these up – explain how you have taken steps to improve or the circumstances behind any career gaps.
  • When invited, ask your interviewer interesting and thoughtful questions which aren’t restricted to what the company can offer you.  These can be a key factor in how the interviewer assesses you against other candidates and it gives you an opportunity to find out more about the company structure and plans for the future.
  • It is always best to avoid discussing potential salary until it is raised by the interviewer; do not be tempted to lie about what you currently earn in an attempt to secure a better package.
  • Clarify what the next stage would be – is there a second interview and what timescales are they working towards?

After the interview

  • Think carefully about the potential opportunity and try to assess as best you can if the role is one that you would be interested in pursuing.
  • Consider everything – are you happy with the commute on a daily basis, will there be an increase in travel or parking costs, are there shops or places to grab lunch nearby?
  • If you were to be offered the position, what salary would you expect to receive?  Are there any benefits such as pension or healthcare which are important to you?
  • Give thought to the opportunities for progression, training and what involvement you will have in shaping the department moving forward – would the role help you achieve your immediate and longer term ambitions?
  • If, unfortunately, you are not offered the position, make sure you request feedback as to why you were not successful on this occasion.

If you would like more information on how to perform at interview, please contact me on 0114 2611700.


Sharp Consultancy specialises in the recruitment of finance and accountancy professionals.  With offices in Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster and Manchester our highly experienced team of consultants recruit for temporary, interim and permanent roles across the full spectrum of positions throughout Yorkshire and the North West.