M&J Personnel Ltd are the go-to recruitment consultants in Essex and the Southeast for the Industrial, Commercial, and Driving sectors. We want to keep you up to speed with developments within our sectors and recruitment in general.

In our first blog, we take a look at what is for many people a time to dread in the recruitment process – the interview.

It’s important to remember that interviews are a two-way street: it’s a chance for both client and candidate alike to make a great first impression, weigh each other up, find out about each other…..It’s so easy for candidates to think of an interview as akin to visiting the dentist….you won’t enjoy it, and that it’s a process that you have to go through. That’s exactly the type of mindset that will ensure that you don’t do yourself justice.

In fact, the best piece of advice that we can offer is to view interviews as a massive positive. You’ve already done well to get in front of a company, they must rate you from your application and details – so, see this as your chance to shine, show them how good they are, and show them why you are the right person for the job.

Here is M&J Personnel Ltd’s guide to the interview process…..



The location: The pandemic has had a devastating effect on so many people, and this has also been evident in the world of business and work. We now live in a world where it is easier to communicate than ever before. It wasn’t that long ago that we only spoke face-to-face or on the telephone – but in 2022, you’re just as likely to chat on Teams, Skype, and Zoom than you are in an office. And that goes for interviews, too.

If you are at home, make sure that you do the following:

  • Ensure that your internet connection is good
  • Have a back-up form of communication – mobile phone, another laptop, iPad etc handy
  • Use earphones if possible, not the device speakers
  • Pens and paper etc at the ready, even notes to help you!

Look the part: Make sure that you don’t make a poor first impression. That means whether you are face-face or at home or an office, making sure that you look the part and if doing it electronically, your environment and surroundings do, too. Your bedroom with clothes strewn around isn’t a great look to potential employers, neither is turning up not suitable attired. If in doubt, dress up not down.

Research:  No shortcuts, do as much prep as you can, because it is very obvious when a candidate hasn’t done any research on their potential new employers, their potential new job, and just what might be asked of them at the interview. We recommend that you….

  • read the job description and person specification carefully. Be clear on the skills and qualities the employer is looking for
  • check the company website to find out more about its products or services and their plans for the future
  • go over your CV or application form and think about things the employer may ask you about
  • prepare some examples that show you have the right skills, personal qualities and experience. Use the STAR method
  • practise your timings on presentations and keep a back-up copy
  • ask someone you trust to help you practise answering questions
  • think of 2 or 3 questions of your own that you can ask at the end of your interview, to show you’re enthusiastic about the job
  • pick out something suitable and comfortable to wear
  • check what time you need to arrive and the name of the person you need to see
  • make sure that you know how to get to where the interview is being held. Work out your public transport route or where you can park. Plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the interview starts
  • make sure you know who to call in case you’re late for any reason


During the interview

Look like you really want the job:   Sounds pretty obvious, but eye contact, body language, asking questions, showing an interest…..it’s very obvious to see the candidates who do and don’t really want to be there. Smile, make eye contact, and make sure that you leave a positive impression by really looking as though you really want the job. Don’t be miserable, quiet, unresponsive and then at the end of the interview kick yourself for not showing yourself in the best light.

Questions: This ties in with preparation. By being prepared, you will probably have guessed many of the questions that will be fired at you before you even arrive at the interview. Some will be generic questions designed to put you at ease and give you the chance to be positive, whilst others will be targeted specifically at aspects of the job. We put potential interview questions into

Competency-based questions – The focus is on the things you can do, so you’ll need to give examples to show you have the skills for the job.

Strengths-based questions – These explore what you enjoy doing or do well. For example, your practical or teamworking skills, or how you work under pressure.

Technical questions – The employer may test your job-related knowledge and understanding of work processes.

Situational judgement questions – Employers may ask how you would react in typical work situations. This is to check things like your ability to solve problems, make decisions or work with others.

Values-based questions – Value-based questions identify whether you share the organisation’s values and understand their culture. This is common for health and care jobs, particularly in the NHS.

Motivational questions – These help an employer to see what drives you and to make sure you’ll fit in with their company.

Don’t panic: Things go wrong in life, and they can go wrong at interviews. The key is not to panic, remain calm, and whatever the situation is simply do your very best. That’s all you can do. Indeed, potential employers will be impressed with candidates who work well under pressure.