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Things to Know Before a Job Interview – Advice from 5 Experts

Experts give insight into the key things to consider when going for an interview, how to stand out from the crowd and do’s & dont’s.

–≠≠–≠Girl on chair red professional dress

Landing that dream job requires preparation and research. We asked four experts about key things you need to know before an interview to make sure you’ve covered every angle and question an interviewer may ask.

In this blog, four experts give insight into the key things to consider when going for an interview, how to stand out from the crowd and essential dos and don’ts.

Be your best self. Come interview day by reading on!

Q1. What’s the best way to prepare for an interview?

Standout-cv.comAndrew Fennell | Director


1. Carry out research: You need to have a thorough understanding of the company you’re interviewing for —the types of products and services they offer, who their clients and/or customers are, their mission statements and goals, along with any recent news, updates, awards and achievements.

Additionally, you should re-read the job description and know what the goal of the role is, what types of skills, software and tools you’ll be using, any product or service knowledge required and who you’ll be working with.

2. Know why you’re a good fit for the role: Armed with the research above, think about what makes you the best fit for the company and job you’re applying for.

What experience and skills do you have that’ll allow you to carry out the role? What knowledge sets you apart from other candidates? If you’re missing any key skills, how do you plan on filling the gaps?

3. Practise common interview questions: Take a look online for some commonly asked interview questions. Prepare answers and practise speaking them out loud. This will help to boost your confidence and ensure you’re not left feeling stumped for an answer.

4. Plan your journey and leave well in advance: If you’re late, you’ll lose your chances of landing the role. Additionally, being stuck in traffic with minutes to spare will leave you feeling flustered. Plan your journey thoroughly and factor in some emergency time, too! Aim to arrive half an hour before your interview.

Giveagradago.comSam Hickson, Senior Recruitment Consultant

Sam Hickson

Q1. What’s the best way to prepare for an interview?

Use specific examples and relate them to the job role. It is a good idea to know what to expect on a day-to-day basis in the role of an accountant.

Prepare some situations that can help you in the interview using the STARA technique.

  • S – Situation. e.g. During my final year of my ACCA, I had an exam on the topic ‘Accountant in Business’
  • T- Task. e.g. My module convenor was off sick, so we missed out on a few lessons.
  • A – Action. e.g. I got in touch with an accountant I knew and asked if I could shadow them for a week.
  • R – Result. e.g. I shadowed them for a week and asked lots of questions that were relevant to the exam. The knowledge I learned was beneficial, and I passed the exam.
  • A – Application. e.g. This is an example of how I can find innovative and productive ways to acquire the knowledge I need. I can apply this in the role when I am working independently on the summer accounts project.

Lincoln Recruitment SpecialistsMatthew Roberts, Principal Consultant – Accounting

Matthew Roberts

Q1. What’s the best way to prepare for an interview?

  • Read up on the company:
    Look at news articles online
    Download their financial statements, review the Income statement and director’s commentary
    Use LinkedIn to look at Hiring Managers’ backgrounds.
  • Meet your recruiter for interview preparation or a trusted family member/friend who regularly interviews candidates.
  • Know your CV inside out. If you have experience or exposure, you can’t stand over or have an Acronym that you can’t explain; this can be your undoing.
  • Be able to talk through your experience in a way that complements the experience for the role.
  • Competency questions – Know how to answer using the STARA method

Q2. How can you stand out from the crowd at an interview? – Andrew Fennell | Director

I’d say that understanding exactly why you’re suitable for the role is key to impressing interviewers.

If you have this knowledge mapped out in your brain, you can ensure every answer reflects your suitability for the role. Make a list of the requirements and how you match them.

Read over these several times before your interview in order to familiarise yourself with them. – Sam Hickson, Senior Recruitment Consultant

Q2. How can you stand out from the crowd at an interview?

Always do your research into the company and interviewer before you go for an interview and even before sending off your CV and/or cover letter. Look deeper than the basic research; for example, look at any recent news or projects the company has been involved with.

Looking at the company and your interviewer on LinkedIn before attending the interview is an excellent way to stand out. Research your interviewer and see if you have anything in common with them to build rapport in the interview.

Find out how long they’ve been working there, what they’ve worked on, and their interests, and bring this up in the interview if you want to build a rapport with them.

Q3. What’s the best piece of advice you can give a candidate at the interview stage?

Robert HalfMatt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

Robert Half

When meeting potential employers for the first time, it’s important to make a solid first impression.

Set yourself apart from the competition by making a compelling case for why you’re the best person for the job.

Throughout the interview, make sure you’re conveying to the hiring manager where your strengths lie, show the range of technical and soft skills you’ll bring to the role and the potential you have to contribute value to the business.

Effectively demonstrating you have the all-important accounting soft skills employers are looking for will help you get ahead of the competition in the interview stages.

Q4. How can you stand out from the crowd at an interview?

Lincoln Recruitment Specialists – Matthew Roberts, Principal Consultant – Accounting

Be yourself; personality is often the differentiator when candidates have similar experiences.
Well-groomed and dressed for the occasion. Initial impressions still matter, so ensure to do the basics right.
Prepare well – fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Q5. Can you outline any dos and don’ts at an interview?

Lincoln Recruitment Specialists – Matthew Roberts, Principal Consultant – Accounting


Turn up at least 15 minutes early.
Good opening and closing handshakes.
Engage in eye contact throughout the interview with all interviewers.
Have good questions prepared – Ask during the interview, and if anything is unanswered, ask at the end.
Let the hiring manager know you are keen on the role and look forward to hearing back from them.


Turn up late, and scope out the location and the commute. Arrive early and have a coffee nearby if early.
Unless they bring it up, don’t talk about salary or benefits. If they do, have a range in your head.
Somewhere around your expectations and what is on offer, leave some room to haggle.
Talk negatively about current or previous employers.

Robert HalfMatt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK

Q5. Outline any dos and don’ts at an interview

In preparation for your interview, thoroughly research your potential employer and the role you’re interviewing for.

Practice delivering concise, thoughtful answers for the interview questions you might be asked and be confident with elaborating on the contents of your CV, with evidence and solid examples to support your abilities and achievements.

The interview stage is your opportunity to showcase your personal qualities and cultural fit for the company. Cultural fit is increasingly becoming an essential factor in the hiring decision, so you must know the culture and values of the company you’re interviewing with and display how they align with your own.

Prepare insightful questions to ask at the end of the interview. Asking the hiring manager the right questions shows that you’ve prepared for the discussion and are keen to gather additional information to make sound career decisions.

Asking questions at the end of the interview is also an opportunity for you to further show your enthusiasm for the role.

Clodagh OBrien
6 min read

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