Top tips on interview preparation

Lucy Woods, Senior Tax Recruitment Adviser, offers her advice on how to plan effectively for your upcoming interview.

With 13 years recruitment experience, I have recruited for a range of roles and seniority in this time.

Having both interviewed directly and reviewed interview feedback for a number of  years, it is very clear to see which  candidates have prepared and thought about how best to present themselves at interview compare to  those who haven’t.

These are my top tips for preparing for an interview

  • Prepare: Make sure you know what role you are interviewing for and what duties the role entails. Sounds simple I know but remember you are applying for a specific role, not just a company and  you need to demonstrate you have the experience/skills to carry out that role. If you are unclear as to what these are you will be on the back foot from the outset.

  • Research: Research not only the company but the individuals you are meeting. Hop onto LinkedIn or relevant business network and look at their back grounds. You may find some instant common ground or synergies you can discuss at interview.

  • Body Language: Research has shown that between 60-90% of our communication is non-verbal. Think about your body language in interview and how good eye contact and posture can help to convey your enthusiasm and interest in the role. 

  • Build Rapport:  Show an interest in your interviewers, their roles or divisions to build rapport.  This can help calm nerves on the candidates side and show good communication & relationship building skills from the start.

  • Two Way Process: Make sure during your interview process you find out as much information as you need to be able to decide if we are really the right firm for you.  You are assessing us as much as we are assessing you! 

Career summary to date

For the last 13 years I have worked in recruitment – unlucky for some but not me.  I am a passionate recruiter who still enjoys recruitment and the challenges it brings each day!  

Following graduation from Newcastle University I spent 3 years working in specialist finance & accounting recruitment agencies in both London & Newcastle. I recruited temporary qualified accountants into a range of roles. Agency life taught me the importance of getting to know your candidates and clients both technically and personally/culturally to ensure you can make a successful placement when a need arises. 

In 2004 I left the UK and live and work in Sydney, Australia. Sydney became my home for three amazing years and I became the Manager of the Temporary Accounting divisions of one of Australian’s leading recruitment agencies. Sydney is a much smaller market than London and it is a relationship driven market where I found both clients and candidates appreciated advice and guidance. 

When I returned to the UK to get married I wanted to build upon my relationship and business partnering experience from Sydney and I took a role with an Insurance company to build their in-house recruitment team. Two years and one baby later I had to make the difficult decision to leave my role with them as I wasn’t able to juggle work and family commitments with the hours & travel required of me. 

I have worked from home on a part time basis for 3 years sourcing recruiters who wished to work overseas in Australia and Asia. I also had my second child during this time before joining EY in September 2014.  At EY I have found a challenging role with the relationship and stakeholder management I love with the flexibility to work hard but have a family life too. I work 4 days a week for EY and during those 4 days you could find me working from home or from our offices in London Bridge or Canary Wharf.


Lucy Woods
  • Lucy Woods

About the author

Lucy is a Senior Recruitment Adviser specialising in Financial Services Tax and Legal recruitment. She recruits for the Transaction & Treasury, Legal & Global Compliance Reporting UK & US teams.