PAS | Interview advice and preparation hints and tips

Interview Advice

This section provides useful advice on how to prepare and perform your best at interview.

Are you preparing for interview? This section provides useful tips for preparing for a job interview. There is a video that is designed to be of use to anyone but may be of most use to you if you are starting out, or in the early stages of your career. In addition, there is a booklet that goes alongside the video.

Interview Videos

The videos in this section offer practical tips and advice for:

Knowing the Job / Organisation

Find out as much as possible about the job and the company for which you are applying. This will help you decide if the job is right for you and will give you more confidence in the interview.

  • Check out their website.
  • If you can, get a copy of their brochure and marketing material.
  • Check the newspapers or online for any recent press releases on the company.
  • 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 / Qualities for the Job

  • For many of our interviews the skills/qualities required will be published in the application form. Typically each skill/quality will be described in two to three lines or a short paragraph. It is important that you read this carefully and understand what is required under each skill/quality.
  • These skill/quality descriptions are usually carefully worded and 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 etc you want to talk to the interview board about.

Knowing Yourself

  • In advance of applying for a job (i.e. even before filling in the application form) it is worth taking time out to analyse yourself.
  • Know your own strengths, and the areas where you need to develop / improve.

Here are a few tips, which should help you prepare for completing an application form or attending for interview.

  • Write down your education and work experience to date and your main interests/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, from different areas in your life e.g. 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.

Preparing your Examples / Experiences

  • 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.
  • For each achievement/experience you have identified already, 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.

The Background...

To sketch out the background ask yourself the following questions:

  • WHEN & 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 & 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, try to run through 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/or draw attention to overuse of gestures etc.

Getting There

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 unsure of the location, telephone the Public Appointments Service and ask for directions.

Who does what
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