Interviews

  • Interview preparation

    To help you prepare well, think about...

    1. The role
      Get hold of the job description and person specification if you can (if you can’t, the National Careers Service website has generalised job profiles you can look at) and ask yourself what examples you can give for each item listed. 
    2. Tell the story
      Give your examples a beginning, middle and end – this will help you make them clear, detailed and easy for the interviewer to follow.
    3. About you
      Re-read your copy of the application form/CV that you sent the employer and think about what else you can tell the interviewer about it. Take a copy with you into the interview.
    4. About the company
      Find out as much as you can - this will show you’re keen and will help you explain why you want to work for them.
    5. Three unique selling points
      What three things about your skills/abilities/experience make you special/better than the other candidates? This will help you answer the question, ‘Why should we give you the job?’ Avoid general things like ‘punctual, reliable, trustworthy’ etc – think about the actual requirements of the job.
  • Interview nerves

    In addition to thorough preparation, these tips can help you stay calm:

    1. Pat yourself on the back
      You've got this far - employers only interview people who they think could do the job.
    2. Sit back
      Push yourself to the back of the chair, let the chair support your back and let your shoulders relax.
    3. Breathe
      Take slow and full breaths, letting your stomach rise and fall - it'll help you think more clearly, lower your heartbeat and make your voice stronger.
    4. Smile
      What you do physically affects you mentally and helps you connect better with the interviewer.
    5. Power pose
      Stand with your head held high, legs planted firmly apart and your hands on your hips. Hold this confident pose for a few moments and see how it makes you feel. Practise it in the toilets before your interview (remember to close the door first!)
  • Video interviews

    This is becoming a common feature of recruitment. In addition to our other interview tips, think about the following to help you prepare.

    1. Software and internet connection
      Check with the recruiter what they will be using and what steps, if any, you need to take before the interview, e.g. download software, check your internet connection is stable and that you have enough data.
    2. Test your equipment
      Before the interview, check that your webcam and audio are working.
    3. Location
      Choose a quiet, well-lit place where you’re not going to be interrupted.
    4. Appearance
      Make sure that both you and your background are smart and presentable.
    5. Be prepared
      Have a pen, paper and a copy of your CV/application to hand. Switch your mobile to silent.

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