Interview: Fail to plan, plan to fail!

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation‘. Arthur Ashe.
This document is tailored to job seekers on the French market and covers the most popular interview faux pas ! It is not designed to be exhaustive.


  • Be on time for interview! Plan for last minute public transport problems and bad weather.
  • Because you are worth it!” Be the image of your future employer.
  • Be organized! Take a clean copy of your CV and other supporting documentation to interview (written references, diplomas, …). Take notes (you won’t remember everything)!


All questions are just other ways of asking one of the three questions below. Remember this and questions will become easier to answer.

1. Can you do the job? (Do you have the hard skills?)
2. Will you love the job? (Are you motivated? Will you stay a sufficient amount of time to make our investment in you profitable? There are always hiring and training costs for the employer.)
3. Do I like you? (Do you have the soft skills? Will you fit in? Are we on the same wave length?)


  • What are your strong/weak points? If you are uncomfortable describing yourself, we advise you complete some free on-line personality tests. The results will guide you. (soft skills)
  • Why are you leaving your current job? (motivation)
  • Why do you want this job? (motivation)
  • Tell me about yourself? See Elevator Pitches below or narrow the question down by asking your interlocutor if there is something specific they want to know. (soft skills)
  • Give an example of how and when you showed such skill. (hard skills)


Many of us have “blips” in our career, experiences we would prefer not to discuss. Nevertheless, we are sometimes obliged to answer uncomfortable questions. Our advice is to plan your answer, remain positive and remember that most often it is not what you say, but how you say it. Ask your Consultant for advice and if all else fails “less said the better”!


Interviewers with little time may ask you to introduce yourself in a minute. Americans call this an elevator pitch. In a few words, answer the questions below and you have your pitch!

  • Name your skills (see personality tests, end of year evaluations, think about your transferable skills);
  • Name your greatest strength, achievement or a compliment you’ve received (inspire yourself from your professional references, end of year evaluations, general feedback from people or some other outstanding experience, personal or professional),
  • State what you would like to do (this should correspond to the position for which you are applying), and;
  • Why you would like to do it (you should know why you applied!).

Example : I am an expert in X with 10 years’ experience. My last boss described my great talent as being my level of service. I would like the job of X and it corresponds perfectly to what I like doing and do well.


  • Know your salary expectations with precision! HR professionals talk in gross annual salary including the 13th month. Discuss your package separately. Interviewers take notes and it is complicated to go back on what was said in the initial interview.
  • As a general rule sell yourself first and negotiate afterwards! Everyone recognizes that salary is important, however, your first interest should be for the job. Asking about salary and perks before being invited and putting too much emphasis on them is badly perceived by clients. Your Consultant will be able to give you a ball park salary figure of what your potential future employer is offering.


Planning will increase your confidence at interview and what’s been prepared can be used again in the future. Leaving an interview knowing that you have done your best is all you can do. If, despite all your efforts, you are unsuccessful, try not to take it personally.

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