Interviews are an opportunity for an employer to see if you are the right person for the job. It’s also an opportunity to make sure the company and the job are right for you. In order to make a good first impression, preparation is key! Here are a few top tips to help you through.
Preparing for an Interview
To help make sure you’re prepared:
- read the job description and person specification carefully. Be clear on the skills and qualities the employer is looking for
- check the company website to find out more about its products or services and their plans
- go over your CV or application form and think about things the employer may ask you about
- prepare some examples that show you have the right skills, personal qualities and experience. Use the STAR method (opens in a new window)
- practise your timings on presentations and keep a back-up copy
- ask someone you trust to help you practise answering questions
- think of 2 or 3 questions of your own that you can ask at the end of your interview, to show you’re enthusiastic about the job
- pick out something suitable and comfortable to wear
- check what time you need to arrive and the name of the person you need to see
- make sure that you know how to get to where the interview is being held. Work out your public transport route or where you can park. Plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the interview starts
- make sure you know who to call in case you’re late for any reason
If you have a disability, you may need adjustments to make the interview accessible. You can get advice from Scope (opens in a new window) on how to ask for adjustments at an interview.
The day of the Interview
Before you go in to the interview:
- remember to turn your phone off
- use breathing techniques to calm yourself – remember, a few nerves are normal
- smile and greet your interviewer with confidence
- ask for some water if you need it
In the interview, remember to:
- be polite and use the right language and tone for a formal situation
- listen to the questions and think before you begin your answers
- ask the interviewer to repeat or explain further if you do not understand a question
- use the STAR method (opens in a new window) to answer questions about your skills and experience
- be positive about your experiences. If you’ve faced difficult situations, show what you learned from them
- be honest and assertive
- ask a couple of questions when you’re given the opportunity. Choose questions that make you sound keen. For example, “What opportunities are there for training with the company?” It’s best not to ask about pay or holidays at this stage
At the end of the interview, thank the employer for their time. Tell them you’re looking forward to hearing from them.
After the interview
When you leave the interview, try to reflect on some of the harder questions you were asked – this can help you to prepare for future interviews.
After the Interview
Accepting a job
If you’re offered the job, let the company know in good time whether you want to accept the offer. You can also agree when you’ll start and find out what you’ll need to do on your first day.
Turning down a job
If you decide not to accept the job, turn it down but be polite. You may want to work for them in the future.
If you’re not successful
If the employer does not offer you the job:
- try to be positive – this is a chance to learn from your experience and build your resilience (opens in a new window)
- ask for feedback on your interview
- think about the things that did not go so well and what you could do to improve next time
- get some interview practice. Ask friends, family, colleagues or a careers adviser to help
What STAR (opens in a new window) stands for
- situation – the situation you had to deal with
- task – the task you were given to do
- action – the action you took
- result – what happened because of your action and what you learned from the experience