The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself as the type of person the employer would like to have working with them. Preparation and a well written CV are everything.
How to prepare
- When you’re called for interview, ask the person for directions, to make sure you won’t get lost and arrive late. Also ask if there is a particular format to the interview – they will most likely tell you the kinds of question you will be asked, then you can think about your answers in advance.
- Read things about the company on their website and in newspaper archives, so you can show you are really interested in them. Motivation and enthusiasm is something all employers look for.
- Read over the job specification carefully and make a list of the areas of your study, experience and personality that you think are relevant, to make sure you mention these in the interview.
How to act in the interview
- Dress smartly and don’t come in smelling of smoke.
- Make sure you arrive on time and greet the interviewer with a firm handshake.
- Answer the question being asked - keep to the point. Be as positive as possible.
- Maintain eye contact and if there’s more than one interviewer, look and speak to them all.
- You will always be asked, in some way, why you would be good at the job, so prepare this answer. (Even if you’re not asked, you can mention it yourself.)
- You will be asked to talk about yourself, or to run through your CV. Make sure you keep to the things that are relevant to this employer and this job.
- You will be asked what interests you about the company or why you applied.
- You will be asked some questions to find out about your personality, e.g. your strengths and weaknesses, how you have dealt with a difficult situation or a failure, how you work under pressure, if you’re a team player. Try to give examples from your previous work, sports or school life.
- You will be asked some behavioural questions, e.g. a problem that you have solved and how you did it, a difficult decision that you’ve had to make, how you have dealt with having to work with someone you didn’t really like. When answering, try to always highlight the positive – the good things that came out of the bad or the things you learnt from the situation.
You’ll be asked if you have any questions, and you should ask ones that show you are really thinking about the job will involve, e.g.
- What would I be expected to accomplish in this position?
- What are the greatest challenges in this position?
- How do you think I fit the position?