Preparing for a job interview

How to preparing for a job interview

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Preparing for a job interview

Preparing for a job interview and improve your chances of success, by following these recommendations on interview techniques, being prepared will make sure that you create a terrific impression throughout the interview. Taking the time to prepare for the interview in advance can assist you to secure a job offer.

Types of job interviews

Telephone – some graduate employers use an initial telephone interview to remove unsuitable candidates. Successful candidates are usually then invited to a face-to-face interview or an assessment centre. Duration of a telephone interview is often 30 minutes.

Video – Unconventional to the traditional telephone interview, some organisations, predominantly those recruiting in sales, media and marketing will screen candidates via Skype, FaceTime or YouTube. Duration of a video interview is usually 30 minutes.

Face-to-face – the standard type of interview, face-to-face encounters can take place with more than one interviewer or, more commonly a panel. In some exceptional cases, you may be interviewed together with other candidates, and questioning can either be strengths-based or competency-based. Duration of face-to-face interviews can usually last up to two hours.

Assessment centres – utilised mostly by big graduate employers to evaluate the performance of numerous candidates in a variety of situations, assessment centres usually entail tasks such as presentations, group work, written tests and in-tray exercises. Duration of assessment centre interviews usually lasts for one full working day.

Before the interview

Despite the type of interview you are preparing for, undertaking loads of research and planning are vital.

Steps to be taken before an interview

Research the organisation (this will assist you with replying to questions – making you stand out from less-prepared interviewees).

Match up your skills and qualifications to the job requirements

Scrutinise the job description (pay practical attention to the personal job specifications, this is where you will need to ensure that all experiences/knowledge gained meets these specifications).

Prepare answers

Plan what to wear

Plan what to bring

Plan your journey

Be aware of non-verbal communications

Follow up

Before the interview

Think about how you will describe problematic aspects of your profession such as gaps in your employment history.

Map your journey in advance; arriving ten minutes before your interview is scheduled will give you additional preparation time. Preferably completing a ‘dry run’ beforehand will allow you to familiarise yourself with the journey.

Practise answers to frequently asked interview questions, as well as going over your questions to ask at the interview.

What to take

A bottle of water

A pen and notepad


Photo ID (e.g. your passport or driving licence)

Your specification which you completed the job you are going to be interviewed for (you will need to refresh your memory on what you wrote)

Your academic certificates and work examples (if requested)

What to wear to an interview

The dress code for a man attending an interview is usually relatively straightforward; a dark suit and tie combination is the safest choice. However, for a woman you have an opportunity of outfits to wear, you could wear a dress, shirt and blouse or a trouser suit avoid trying to make a fashion statement and consider wearing black, navy or brown these are the safest colours.


Steer clear of wearing too much jewellery or make-up

Men – ensure that your fingernails are cut and clean

Women – ensure that your nails do not look like talons, keep your nail polish subtle

Make sure that any briefcase or handbag you take is smart

Shoes should be polished and not worn

Hair should be tidy and neat

Sparingly use aftershave or perfume

Outfits should always be cleaned and ironed

Four ways to make a good impression at your interview

Positivity – Be courteous to any staff you meet prior or post interview and, if nerves getting the better of you. Remind yourself that the worst thing that could happen to you is that, your interview may be unsuccessful. Throughout the interview, avoid discussing any personal problems unless wholly essential and, the golden rule is that you never badmouth your previous employers.

Body language – Always offer a firm handshake to your interviewer(s) before and after the session. Once seated, think about your posture. Sit naturally avoid slouching in your chair or leaning on the desk. During the interview, consider a frequent smile and always retain eye contact (if eye contact makes you feel uncomfortable, pick a spot on the interviewers face, i.e. nose, forehead or between the eyes brows etc. Looking at these areas simulates eye contact).

Clarity – Clearly and concisely answer all questions, evidencing your relevant skills, experiences and achievements which pertain to the advertised job. Remembering to talk about positive changes you have made in your previous role (if any); also when speaking about your experiences and skills use the term I.

It is entirely acceptable to pause before answering a difficult question to allow yourself time to think or ask for clarification if you are uncertain what the question means. When explaining, do not speak too quickly and bear in mind that the interviewer needs to know that you can do the job that you are being interviewed for.

Enthusiasm – It is essential that you allow your personality to stand out throughout. Asking thought-provoking questions at appropriate moments, this will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in the role.

Second interview

Occasionally, you may be asked to attend a second interview; the second interview will aim to carefully pore over what you and any other remaining candidates can bring to the role. Prepare for your second interview just like you did for the first, but you should also:-

Contact the company to request feedback from your first interview; this will enable you to address anything that caused you difficulty. Consider researching the organisation in greater detail than for the first interview.

Remember that if the same interviewers are present do not be over-familiar, be respectful and courteous, just because they interviewed you previously does not make them a friend.  Good Luck

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