This booklet is for anyone who would like to improve their confidence and skills in preparing for and performing well in job interviews.
Getting invited to an interview means that you have passed the first hurdle – your application must have made a good impression.
Now you need to prepare yourself for the interview to make sure that you do not waste the opportunity.
Countdown to the interview
The employer will be looking for someone who cannot only do the job, but
someone that shows a real interest and commitment to the organisation itself.
You may have applied to several organisations for different roles, but you
need to show to the employer who has invited you for an interview that it is
this role and this organisation above all others that you want to work within.
Do your homework…
In order to be fully prepared for the interview, it is important to research and
get as much information about the organisation and the role itself. This will
prepare you for any possible questions that you may be asked. As a result,
this will help you feel more confident attending the interview. This research
also helps you determine whether this is an organisation and a role that you
would like to work within, if you were successful in being offered the job.
Many organisations will send additional information about the company at the
application stage or sometimes with the interview invitation. You can also look
online at the company website if they have one or obtain company literature.
Two websites that you can use to help with your research is
www.kellysearch.co.uk or www.kompass.co.uk. You can also use resources
within large libraries.
At the application stage, most organisations will provide a job description and
a person specification so that candidates have a full break down of the roles
and responsibilities of the job and the skills, experiences and qualifications
that the successful candidate will have. Re-read this information as well as
your application form / curriculum vitae so that you are fully prepared.
Try this exercise…
After gathering this information, try and find the answers to the following
What does the organisation provide / make / sell?
Who are their customers / users?
What will the job involve?
What sort of person do you think they want?
How best would your own skills fit into this role?
Then think about the interview itself…
You should be notified at the time of your invitation to attend an interview if
there is anything they would like you to bring with you or if there are any tests
to take. Depending on the role that you are applying for, you may be asked to
demonstrate some of your skills on the day. Examples could be short
presentations, typing or other IT tests, telephone skills tests, numeracy and
literacy tests, problem solving exercises or other practical work based skills
assessments. Prepare in advance what is being asked of you, but if unsure
contact the organisation before the day to get further clarification.
Consider also who may be interviewing you. If it is your prospective manager,
the interview may be more detailed and questions may be more specific to the
role. If the personnel manager is interviewing you, it may be less direct or
detailed about the role itself, but may be equally as testing. There may be
more than one person interviewing you, or a small panel of interviewers. Do
not panic. The interviewer will know that you will feel nervous and will want to
put you at ease to get the best from you. Maintain eye contact with the
person talking to you at that time. Remember also that the employer(s) who
conduct the interview themselves may not do so often, so are likely to be
equally as nervous as you are.
Prepare for interview questions you may get asked…
By using your research, prepare answers for some questions you may get
asked. The interviewer is going to want to know not only whether you have
experience and skills in particular areas, but also examples of when you have
used these skills before. Think of examples from your working life, home life,
studies and voluntary work. Particularly think of examples and instances
where you have worked as part of a team, organised your time effectively to
meet a deadline, a time where you have coped with pressure and what you
did. If you have thought beforehand of some examples, it will help you not to
panic during the interview itself and will help you appear more confident.
Possible interview questions & some suggested responses…