Preparing for interviews

Great news! You’ve been offered an interview. Now what? Have a look at a few of our tips to make sure you prepare effectively.

  1. Get the details!
    Often in the excitement of finding out you have an interview it is easy to forget to ask details like what you should wear (are there practical tasks?), whether there is parking nearby and what documents you need to bring with you.
    If it is not just a face to face interview you will often be sent an itinerary for the day- make sure you know what is expected of you for each task and prepare accordingly.
  2. What experience do you already have?
    You will be asked to show how you are suited for the role or place. Have a read through your personal statement or letter of application and remind yourself of what experience you have which makes you suited for the role.  Writing these down and glancing through them before your interview will help you to remember examples of key experiences you have had which you can draw on in your answers.
  3. Create a portfolio
    Over your time at school and at university you will have gathered a range of certificates, experiences and other documents which can be used as examples in an interview.  Collating some good examples of these and organising them nicely into a folder will allow you to remind yourself of the experiences and qualifications you have got (as in point 2, above) as well as enabling you to give a copy to the interviewer to support your application.  This takes the pressure off you to remember all that you have done or trying to shoehorn irrelevant information into an answer.
  4. Guess the questions
    Speak to others in the same industry for ideas on questions you may be asked. Examples include:
    – What makes you suited for this role?
    – Why do you want to work/ study here?
    – What is your greatest achievement?
    –  Can you tell me an example of a time you have overcome adversity?
    – What are you hoping to get from this course/ role?
    If you are asked to prepare a presentation be prepared for questions about the content and structure of your presentation, including reflecting on it if you were to do it again.
  5. Group Tasks
    If your interview day includes a group task make sure that you get involved.  Interviewers will be looking at how you interact with a group as well as your team working and leadership skills.  Don’t try to take over and if you notice that someone is quiet try to include them by asking their opinion.  Remember this is about how you work with other people NOT about how you can work on your own. Taking over and completing the task as quickly as possible is not the aim.
  6. What to wear?
    Remember that an interview is a formal occasion and first impressions are important.  Whether you have practical tasks or have been told to come wearing smart/casual it is always best to dress more smartly than you think necessary.  You don’t want to be the only person there in jeans when everyone else has smart trousers and a blazer on. Avoid large logos, anything which is too short, tight or revealing and make sure it is comfortable.  You will likely be uncomfortable enough as it is without your clothing causing issues as well!
  7. Relax!
    Remember that interviews are for you to show how you are suitable for the position, but also for you to find out if the employer/college/university is right for you.  Ask questions you are unsure about and write down anything which comes up during the day so you can ask the interviewers before you leave.

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