Before The Interview
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Where will it be held?
Figure out how you will get to the venue and how long the journey takes, especially if you are using public transport. Check for any planned disruptions to road or public transport services and aim to arrive early.
Use the following websites to make sure you plan your journey:
- Local West Yorkshire bus and train times
- Street maps for the whole UK
- The AA Journey planner - very useful if travelling by car
- Mainline intercity train services
- National Express coaches
- Information on travel for disabled people in Bradford
How long will it last?
Who will interview me?
So that you know how many people are interviewing you. Also it could be useful to know the job titles, so that you can tailor your preparation and messages. For example, If you are applying for a sales job, an HR manager is not likely to ask you specific sales questions and may not understand specific terminology that you may use if you have a lot of experience. However if the interviewer is a Sales Manager, then be prepared to answer to more job related questions.
What format will it take?
Some of the different types of interview are, for example:
- Competency/criteria-based interviews - these are structured to reflect the competencies or qualities required by the job. The interviewers are looking for evidence of your skills and abilities and expect you to support your answers with examples of your experience from your life to date.
- Technical interviews - if you have applied for a job that requires technical knowledge, it is likely that you will be asked technical questions or have a separate technical interview.
- Portfolio-based interviews - you may be asked to bring a portfolio of your work to the interview and to have an in-depth discussion about the pieces you have chosen to include.
- Case study interviews - in these you may be presented with a hypothetical or real business problem. You will be evaluated on your analysis of the problem, how you identify the key issues, how you pursue a particular line of thinking and how you organise your thoughts.
Will there be any tests or group exercises?
Do I need to bring or prepare anything specific?
The interview invitation is likely to provide you with the above information. If not then call the organisation and ask for it.
Here are 10 tips for interview success.??
Do your research!! Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.
Know everything you can about the job on offer including the job and person specification. Search the web for profiles of similar roles.
Use the job description as a guideline as to what you'll be asked about in terms of your personality, skills, work experience and qualifications. Other candidates may have similar abilities, employment and academic experience to you. Think about how you might distinguish yourself.
Find out as much as you can beforehand about the company as it will help to increase your confidence and will impress the interviewer that you have done some background research. Most companies have websites where you can get useful information - but remember that other candidates will also be looking on the website as well. If you can find out anything that's NOT on the website it will really impress the interviewer! For example search for media articles about it and take a look at the latest developments in the industry so you can converse with confidence.
Think of all the questions you would least like to be asked. Is there a gap in your CV? Have you had some poor academic results? Were you ever fired? Prepare an answer to each one. Answer as honestly as you can, without being defensive or blaming anyone. Try to turn your answer into a positive statement. Show how you overcame any difficulty and what you learned from it.
Finally, if you are asked a question that you feel you can't answer ask to return to it later and, if still unable to attempt it then, say so.
Recruiters must not discriminate on grounds of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability. If you feel uncomfortable about any question then say so. If you feel unsafe or very uneasy, end the interview politely and leave.
If you feel that you have been discriminated against, or that your personal safety has been compromised, discuss this with your careers adviser as soon as possible.
Have a list of questions in mind to ask. You may feel that all your questions have been answered at some point during the interview but try to ask some, if only to show enthusiasm and interest. These might include questions concerning progression opportunities, support for further study or any plans that the company has to expand.
Click here to see some examples of typical questions they might ask.
Although there is no set format that every job interview will follow, there are some questions that you can almost guarantee will crop up. You should prepare answers to some of the most common interview questions about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job.
Remember that most interviewers ask very similar questions, so have some answers ready BEFORE you get to the interview. Click here to see some examples of typical questions they might ask. Although they won't necessarily be asked in exactly the same words, you can often adapt an answer which you have prepared in advance to suit the question that they ask you.
Note: Most interviews will contain questions about your competencies and skills, personality, interests and values. Interviewers will expect you to support your answers with evidence from your life to date. A useful strategy for providing that evidence and for answering competency-based questions concisely is to use the STAR technique:
- Situation - briefly describe the where/when/who
- Task - outline the task or objective (what you hoped to achieve)
- Action - describe what you did - focus on your role and your input
- Result - what the outcome was and what skills you developed
Develop a range of examples of numerous competencies, using the above format. Draw from all aspects of your life. Store them safely and update your examples as you go through your career.