Perfecting your interview technique

  • So you have secured an interview for that dream job in the equestrian industry. Having got this far, how you come across in interview is of vital importance. Some people “interview better” than others, but it essentially comes down to two factors: preparation and confidence.


    Interviewers are always impressed by candidates who arrive prepared with some knowledge about the company they have applied for a position with. This is as relevant to a job with a major equestrian company as with a local yard. Time spent researching the organisation prior to the interview will always pay off on the day.

    Things to try and find out about the organisation before the interview include:

    • What size company is it and who is it owned by? It is a small family-run company or a large multi-national, for example
    • How is the company viewed in the market? In the case of a small livery yard ask around to see what the view of the local equestrian community is
    • Who are the company’s main competitors? Are they the best in the market?
    • Read the local, regional and national equestrian press for more information
    • Find out if the company has a website. Even small yards are increasingly getting online
    • Ask if the company has a promotional leaflet or brochure available
    • Find out as much as you can about the service or products offered by the company

    Ensure that you know the exact location, the time of your interview, who you are seeing, what their position is within the company and how you pronounce their name before the day.


    It’s important that you wear appropriate clothing that you feel comfortable and confident in for the interview. First impressions are very important, so whether you are going for an office job or a position working on a yard, make sure you are well groomed with clean clothing and footwear. A suit would be appropriate for an office position, while a groom or instructor should wear clothing that would be appropriate for a professional exam.

    Do not underestimate the power of body language. The way in which you present yourself will tell an employer much more about you than your CV ever could. You should be aware of any bad habits you are prone to.

    • Your handshake should be firm, but not too forceful
    • Do not slouch; always maintain good posture
    • Be a good listener. Acknowledge the interviewer’s comments with nods where appropriate
    • If there is more than one interviewer present, switch your glance between them at regular intervals
    • Try not to gesticulate, as it suggests nervousness
    • Think before you speak and try to speak clearly and calmly

    Essential dos and don’ts

    • DO smile and maintain good eye contact throughout
    • DO dress conservatively and suitably for the position
    • DO come prepared with a list of questions to ask
    • DON’T answer questions with just a “yes” or “no” – always back up answers with examples
    • DON’T condemn your current/previous employer
    • DON’T be the first one to bring up the subject of salary

    Before leaving, establish what the next step will be, so that you know how and when you will be contacted. It is both polite and advisable to write to the person who has interviewed you to thank them for their time and confirm your interest in the position. Good luck with your job hunting!

    Find your ideal job

    Horse & Hound Online has joined forces with marketing, PR and sales recruitment specialist Goddard Gadd to bring job seekers and equine, canine and country employers together. Click here to view the current list of positions.

    Other equestrian situations vacant can be found in Horse & Hound magazine and viewed online in the HHO classified database.

    Join Horse & Hound’s NAGS

    Membership of the National Association of Grooms and Students (NAGS) is free to all bona fide grooms and students. NAGS is sponsored by training provider KEITS, which offers Modern Apprenticeships, for those aged 16-25, as well as work-based training in equine, animal care and agricultural businesses.

    Benefits of being a NAGS member include: Horse & Hound subscription at £1 per copy, £3 discount voucher on a sack of Blue Chip Dynamic, 10% discount on Splash Equestrian equipment and clothing, no P&P charges from Equestrian Vision mail order and eligibility for NAGS-only competitions and offers.

    If you are interested in becoming a member, write to: NAGS, Room 2018, Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LS (tel: 020 7261 6993), e-mail: nags@ipcmedia.com, or click here to download an application form in PDF format.

    And remember, the club is open to all students, not just those studying for an equine qualification.

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