Your guide to interview success!

Interviews strike fear into most people, regardless of age and experience, but as an essential requirement of getting a job they have to be faced. And with careful preparation and practice there is no reason why you cannot approach your next interview with a high degree of confidence.


Research is one of the key elements in the preparation process.

Study the job advert and any information sent to you with your application form and carefully assess how your existing skills match the job specification.

What skills can you offer that will recommend you to your prospective employer?

You will need to find out as much about the company as possible once you have been offered an interview.

One source of information that is particularly useful is the UK Kompass Register which you should be able to access in the reference section of the larger of your local libraries.

This should help you find out more about the organisation you are trying to enter – its size, turnover and operations.

When you receive an offer of an interview you should have a fair idea of the format it will follow.

If not, you may want to ring the personnel department or the person who has written to you in order to clarify who will be at the interview and whether you are expected to have prepared anything to present to them on the day.

Some companies will encourage and respond well to requests for an informal tour before the interview.

If you have examples of work, take them with you as concrete evidence of your achievements.

Answering questions
One way of preparing yourself is to run through answers to standard questions and to try to anticipate what areas of your CV the interview panel may focus on.

If, for instance, you have moved from job to job you will need to prepare a positive explanation – that you have been looking for fresh challenges and have excelled within each post, perhaps.

Emphasise the fact that you are now looking to settle and consolidate your experience.

However, if you have stayed in one company for a long time you will need to justify this too. Think of the positives – you are an experienced worker.

Highlight the ongoing training that you have received during your career, talk about teamwork, and mention your ability to get on with people at all levels.

Use examples to illustrate your points wherever possible.

Just saying ‘I work well in a team’ isn’t sufficient.

Give an example of a project that you have completed and how each member of staff within the team complemented each other, or how you managed to overcome the hurdles that the team encountered.

Asking questions
If you have done sufficient research on the company and the job, questions will come to you fairly easily.

Asking the interviewer or interviewing panel questions about the job and company gives you a chance to decide whether you like their approach and also the opportunity to look enthusiastic about the post.

Positive mental attitude
It sounds trite but the attitude with which you approach an interview really helps the way you come across.

If you feel comfortable in what you are wearing, get to the interview in plenty of time, decide that you are there to choose whether you want the job just as much as the interview panel is there to judge you, then you are giving yourself the best chance of succeeding.

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