The interview can be a daunting experience, but with practice and preparation you will give yourself the best possible chance to succeed at the interview stage.
This section provides useful advice on how to prepare and perform to your best at the interview. We also provide useful information on how to get to the interview, steps to take before the interview, tips for the interview and factors to consider when answering questions during the interview.
Learn about the organisation
In order to prepare for the interview, you should find out as much as possible about the job and the organisation that you are applying to. This will help you decide if the job is right for you and will give you more confidence in the interview.
• Check out the organisation’s website.
• Get a copy of their brochure and marketing material if possible.
• Check the newspapers or online for any recent press releases on the organisation.
• If possible, talk to some people in the organisation, as this will give you an insight into how the organisation is run.
Know the skills and qualities needed for the job
The skills and quality descriptions are usually carefully worded in the job description. They may contain a number of key words, which should give you an insight into what the employer sees as key to this role. Try to make sure you use these as a cross check against the experiences and skills you want to talk to the interview board about.
• Understand the skills and qualities required for the job.
• Demonstrate that you have these skills by drawing on previous career experiences.
• Give examples of times when you demonstrated these skills and qualifications.
Know your strengths, skills and qualities
In advance of applying for a job, it is worth taking time to see whether you are qualified and suitable for the role.
• Analyse your experiences and whether the role would be a good fit for you.
• Know your own strengths, and the areas where you need to develop or improve.
Here are a few tips, which should help you prepare for attending an interview.
Preparing your examples and experiences
- Write down your education and work experience to date and your main interests and hobbies. A CV type approach would be very useful for doing this - you may have it done already!
- Write down what you see as your main achievements to date, things that you are proud of, and where you feel you made a significant contribution, in any area of your life.
- Don't be modest or shy about this - this is not the time to hold back!
- Aim to include about 10 different achievements altogether - These can be from different areas in your life; for example, education, work, interests, etc.
- Write down what you see as your strongest qualities or skills. List about 5; try to pick the qualities that you feel are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Prepare for questions and think of answers that are relevant to the job description.
- It is important to remember that an interviewer will want to know how YOUR experience, skills and qualities prepare you for the job in question.
Preparing more detailed examples
For each achievement/experience you have already identified, here are a few tips on how to expand and flesh out the detail. You will need to be able to do this in the interview.
To sketch out the background, ask yourself the following questions:
- WHEN and WHERE did this happen / occur?
- WHAT were you hoping to do / expected to do?
- WHO else was involved?
- WHAT YOU did...?
What exactly did you do and how did you use your strengths?
- Ask yourself the following "How, why, what?"
- How did you organise that? Why did you choose to do this? What did you do in particular, which helped to progress things?
What were the results of your actions?
How did things turn out? How did you know it went well? How did you measure this? Why do you think it was a good achievement?
Why does this make you suitable for this job?
- How does this experience prepare you for the post you are applying for? Are the qualities you used here relevant to the job in question? What have you learned from this experience that would help you in this job?
- Using this Q & A template for each achievement/experience on your CV will help you determine which of your experiences is relevant to the job and will help you show them off to the interview panel.
Steps to take in advance of the Interview day
- To build confidence, practice what you would say in the interview with a friend or colleague.
- If possible, tape or video yourself so you can hear how you sound and draw attention to overuse of gestures.
Getting to the Interview
Before travelling to the interview, you should know:
- The exact time and place of the interview.
- How you are going to get there and how long it will take.
If you are unable to attend the interview, please Contact us as early as possible.