Interview Guide: The top 2% of interviewees

This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:


As with everything in recruitment there are tricks that you can pull that will put you in the top 2% of the market. Here is a list of simple tactics that you can use to make you stick in peoples minds.

Demonstrations – If you have a piece of relevant work that would be of interest to the client and it is something, which you could demonstrate on a computer, then take in a laptop. This is very effective with websites or applications that are difficult to explain. If you have some real code that you are proud of then it’s a great touch to bring it along. Mention at the beginning that you have bought something along incase the employer wanted to see it.

Aftershave/Perfume – Spray something fresh on just before you enter. It is always pleasant to be greeted by someone that looks presentable but someone that smells nice too can really stick in your mind. Especially when compared to another candidate who smelled the opposite of the spectrum. Who would you rather work with all day. Obviously one spray is enough though – you do not want to be overpowering.

Take a copy of your CV – You never know if the client has spent the last five minutes frantically looking for a copy of your CV before you arrived. If you arrive with a fresh copy of your CV then it will be easy for you both to discuss parts of your career history and skills.

Ask for a drink of water – If you politely ask for a drink of water at the beginning of the interview (if you are not offered) it can show confidence. It is an opportunity for the interviewer to do something for you, which is another way of establishing rapport. It is also handy if after 90 minutes of talking your throat starts to feel dry and you cannot sell yourself as well as possible.

Ask to see the office – This is tricky and should only be attempted if you feel that you have struck up a rapport with the interviewer. If this is where you’re going to spend the bulk of your day you have every reason to want to see it. Ask to see where everything happens, even to meet the team if they have time. If the interview is going well then the interviewer will be more than happy to show you the technical team. This can be a great chance to get one up on the other applicants as it could be a chance to talk more in depth about your technical skills. This will also ensure the client knows that you are keen.

Write an e-mail afterwards – If you have taken the clients business card, use it. If you feel that the interview has gone well and you built a relationship with the interviewer then they will be happy to hear from you. The best time to do this is once you have got home. Send a simple email to say ‘thank you for your time and having considered the role I am extremely interested’. If you discussed anything of particular interest or have had any further thoughts or questions since leaving the interview then now is the time to mention those. If you didn’t get the business card then send a very polite mail back to the recruiter that set up the interview. Again this small thing could win you the job if the client is deciding between two very similar candidates.


This post is part of a complete guide on writing CVs, dealing with recruiters and attending interviews. The complete guide can be found here:

Originally titled ‘the top 2%’ the copy has been researched, compiled and edited continually over the last five years by the team at RecWorks Ltd. An IT recruitment consultancy aimed at spotting and developing technical talent with a focus in Java and Graduate developers.

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