The interview is the final part of the selection process (subject to references and checks). It’s a well-known phrase, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Preparing for an interview can make a noticeable difference on the day and help to build your confidence, giving you the opportunity to present yourself as well as possible to potential future employers.
Here you will find interview tips to maximise your chances of securing that job.
Use the Job Search Planning page for advice on following up applications.
There are several types of interviews:
Telephone – you may initially have a telephone interview with a potential employer. Ensure that you are somewhere where you will not be disturbed, and your phone is charged (and with good signal if you are using a mobile phone). Be prepared with some interview answers, have a CV handy and a pen to make any notes.
Video – alternatively, an employer may want to do an initial interview via Skype, or an equivalent platform. Make sure you are dressed appropriately, in a quiet location, have prepared some interview answers and your laptop/phone is properly set-up. Your equipment must be charged and the software ready.
Face-to-face – this is the most common way to be interviewed. It may be a one-to-one with an interviewer, or with a panel of people. You may also have a competency-based interview, this is where the STAR approach will be useful, as the interviewer will ask set questions to determine whether you meet their criteria.
Interviews can be stressful, but preparation can make all the difference so here are some top-tips for before, during and after.
- Research the company, why you want to work there and how the role you’re applying for fits into the company’s aims
- Find out what type of interview it is and who might be interviewing you
- Print off your CV and make notes that relate to the job description, identify the skills and experiences most relevant
- If asked, prepare copies of your certificates/qualifications beforehand and have them ready for your interview
- Before you go, ensure you know the location, date and time of the interview
- Plan your journey in advance, leave plenty of time in case there are delays and traffic problems. Do not be late for an interview!
For the interview
- Body language plays a big part in an interview. Give a strong handshake before and after, maintain eye contact and sit up straight. This will highlight your engagement and enthusiasm. Try not to fidget, slouch or interrupt the interviewer!
- Dress to impress – pick out your smart outfit the night before to avoid unnecessary stress
- Prepare your answers to general interview questions and some to ask for at the end of the interview
- After the interview, thank the employer
Try not to worry if you are rejected. Asking for feedback is a great way to improve your future prospects. Although it could be daunting to contact the company, understanding their reasons has the potential to enhance your future job prospects.
You may not get a reply but if you were to receive feedback, for instance, that they felt you were not qualified enough, in your next interview be sure to highlight your experience and achievements in greater detail. Remember the three P’s; stay professional, polite and positive.