Interview Tips – Emer Woodfull, Senior Recruitment Consultant, PRL Recruitment

To help support candidates with interview preparation, we quizzed Senior recruitment Consultant, Emer Woodfull, looking for her top tips on how to perform well at interview and to ask how she prepare her candidates.


Emer has been a member of the Recruitment Team at PRL Recruitment for over 5 years. During that time she has interviewed thousands of candidates and placed hundreds in new employment…. It’s safe to say Emer knows a thing or two about interview prep.


Q. Emer, thank you for taking the time to answer a few short questions. Firstly, you’ve been in recruitment a long time, what about the job do you enjoy?

A. Placing candidates. There’s a sense of satisfaction when you place a candidate, especially one who really wants the job and has worked hard to prepare for interview, do their research and deserve the opportunity.


Q. What’s the hardest thing about the job?

A. When candidates let me down. Unfortunately, the one variable we can’t control is people and the decisions they make. It’s not uncommon for candidates to not turn up to interview or to not prepare like they should. This obviously reflects poorly on us but more so the candidate. Ireland’s a small Country and often other employers get to hear of poor candidates which is obviously not good for them in the long run and all our clients recognise the level of due diligence we operate with candidates.


Q. How do you prepare your candidates for interview?

A. Firstly, no candidate of mine meets the client unless I have phone screened them and interviewed them in person. Part of our USP at PRL Recruitment is, no candidate will meet a client without being interviewed by a member of the team. Over the years I have come to realise that CVs don’t tell you everything about a candidate and so I like to look them in the eye when I evaluate their experience and relevance to every role I recruit for.

For the candidates who I introduce to the client I give them homework to do. This includes researching the company, the line manager (LinkedIn is great), the role and if possible engage with someone already doing the job to develop a more sound understanding of the role and its requirements.

I also provide candidates with sample interview and stress based questions to help them prepare truthful and factual responses but in a more concise way which highlights their achievements and accomplishments. Something I’ve noticed over the years is; suitable and well capable candidates have been unsuccessful at interview because they struggled to highlight their career achievements and to answer the question being asked. I sometimes encourage the candidate to talk through potential responses out loud in preparation and to complete mock interviews with family or friends. The more comfortable a candidate is in responding to questions, generally the better they perform.

I also believe that first impressions are crucial when interviewing for a new job. I always advise my candidates to wear a smart suit / dress, a white well pressed shirt, tie and where appropriately be clean shaved. I’ve read several articles recently which suggest a first impression is formed within the first two minutes of meeting someone and appearance is an influencing factor.

Other tips and advice I give candidates is to reduce as much risk as possible by:

  • Arriving early
  • Driving to the venue the day before to sample traffic and possible delays
  • Always have cash / change for parking
  • Do not smoke or drink coffee before the interview to avoid bad breath
  • Even pack a spare shirt / jacket in case you spill something


Q. What are the three biggest “no’s” when interviewing?

A. That’s a hard question, I can think of a lot more than just three. But, my top three would be:

  1. Leave your phone in the car. I’ve heard of candidates (not mine or PRL Recruitment’s candidates) answering phone calls during an interview.
  2. Do not go in to an interview chewing gum!
  3. Do not lie! I’m aware interviews are an opportunity to sell yourself and your abilities and some people exaggerate the truth, but, if you lie chances are you will be caught out at later stages of the interview, at reference stage or within the first couple of weeks of starting, if you are successful.

Thanks Emer for taking the time to answer a few short questions.

We hope you found this short Q&A useful. If you’re looking for a new position or if you are recruiting, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with PRL Recruitment or Emer directly at [email protected]