Interview Tips #2 - David Clarke, Xerox Corporate Solutions

What’s the best/most memorable answer you’ve heard from a candidate at an interview?

I want my own office.


And what’s the worst?

Anything blaming the candidate’s current employer for their inability to progress within their current role.  Blaming others in the incorrect manner can come across in a negative way and reflect badly on the candidate.


How do you feel someone should dress for an interview? 

Very smartly, this talks to the person’s character rather than what they actually choose to wear.  It is not about a particular style, it is about demonstrating that you (the candidate) can make an effort, conform when necessary.  An interview is not always the best time to show unique individualism in the sense that people want to see that you can be part of a team and consider the needs and perceptions of others ahead of yourself.


Do you feel that the standard challenging question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time” still has a place in today’s interview processes? 

Yes, this question or ones similar to it are relevant as it illuminates the character and aspirations of the person.  There is no right answer and more widely no “correct level” of aspirations because businesses need all sorts of people.  This includes people who want to eventually run the company and people who have different priorities and seek a different work-life balance, businesses need both types.  Honesty and being up front about which type you are provides a greater chance for long-term success and contentment in the role.


When in the interview process should a candidate mention salary? 

It should definitely be covered, perhaps when the candidate feels that the interview is drawing to a close and if the interviewer hasn’t raised it yet.  Like all negotiations, the person who mentions a number first is often at a disadvantage as they have signalled their expectations to the other party, which can at times disadvantage them.   Most importantly, salary discussions should be conducted by the candidate with humility and link the value they can add to the salary they are asking for, avoid deadlines, firm limits and ultimatums as employers can be put off by them.


What’s the most important tip you would give to a candidate attending an interview? 

Be honest and try to engage the interviewer on a more personal level whilst remaining professional and appropriate.  Many people are sceptical about how much can be ascertained about someone’s skills and abilities from an interview.  An interviewer is often only analysing candidates’ honestly, sincerity and character during these initial stages, to see whether they are worthy of further interviews and analysis of skills.


Leave yours below.