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Preparation Job interviews

To give yourself the best chance possible in securing the role you want, you need to remember that the interview process is your opportunity to sell yourself, showcase your skills and show your personality.

Preparation is key with any interview; if you’re prepared you’ll not only feel more confident, but you’ll also instil confidence in the person or people interviewing you.

Do your research

One question that nearly always is asked in a job interview is ‘Tell me what you know about this organisation.’ The interviewer/s are trying to gauge how interested you are in them. Equally, it shows dedication and preparation.

If you fail to do your research on the organisation, they’ll probably assume that you aren’t fully committed and could lose interest in you as a result. So always do your research! Have a look at our article on doing your research. Make notes of key information that you find from your research and if any of your research brings up questions, write them down too; these could potentially be questions that you ask at the end of the interview.

Finally, read, re-read and learn the facts and information that you’ve gathered on the organisation. This means that when the question is asked, your answer will appear confident and natural.

Ask for reasonable adjustments if you have a disability

Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 if you have declared a disability. The arrangements can range from making sure the venue is accessible to having appropriate facilities available. If you feel you'll need adjustments, talk to the employer in advance and suggest what adjustments you'll find helpful. Don’t feel awkward about asking, as all you're doing is giving yourself the same opportunity as other candidates.

Video interviews are increasingly being used by employers in recruitment which may not be suitable for everyone. If this applies to you, you can ask for employers to put reasonable adjustments in place for these. There are lots of useful suggestions available from Scope about how to handle a video interview and the kind of adjustments you can ask for.

Our article, psychometric and aptitude tests if you have disability, gives examples of adjustments you can ask for and how to approach these kind of tests.

Explaining a disability when applying for jobs gives more advice if you have questions or concerns about applying for jobs.

Prepare to answer interview questions

You can’t predict what questions you’ll be asked in an interview, but you can be prepared for the types of questions that you might get asked. A good place to start is to review the job advert and specification, you can use the criteria to work out potential interview questions. Go through our article on answering interview questions to think about how you would answer these questions and provide evidence of your experience.

Prepare your questions for the end of an interview

When you’re asked at the end of the interview if you’ve any questions, never say no. As it will imply that you lack interest and enthusiasm. Read our article on asking questions at the end of an interview.

Use Interview360 to do a mock video interview

Interview360 takes you through a mock video interview so you can practice for the big day. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to give you in-depth insight into how you act, look and interact throughout your interview, from your speech frequency and eye movement, to smile frequency and filler words.

Interview360 allows you to either choose from a pre-selected question set to create your own mock interview, or take an interview based on the actual content of your CV. You can practice your interview technique with timed questions and have your answers recorded so you are able to playback and review your performance. You will also receive an in-depth analysis of your effort and key tips and advice to improve answers, body language and appearance when undertaking a video interview.

You have access to Interview360 through your OU account if you’re a current OU student or completed your study within the last three years. If you're not sure how to sign-in, see Help with signing into OU systems. You'll find more information about our careers tools and services, including how to manage your data, in About the Careers and Employability Services.

If you feel the Interview360 tool is not suitable for you, but would like to talk to someone about the interview process or preparing for an interview, you can receive one-to-one support by requesting a careers consultation.

Overcoming interview nerves

  • Start off with a positive mindset by reminding yourself that the reason you're there is that the employer saw things they liked about you in your application.
  • Take time to breathe and find a sense of calm before your interview starts.
  • If you feel your mind racing during the interview, mentally pause and silently tap yourself on the shoulder to stay focused and collect your thoughts.
  • Focus on building a respectful and genuine rapport with the employer rather than trying to impress.
  • You’ll be keen to show how much you want the role at the company but refrain from making negative comments about your current position and employer as you might come across as ungrateful and disloyal as an employee.

Useful tips

  • Look into some of the employer’s competitors. This shows business acumen and a proactive nature.
  • Review the job description again. Think ahead of examples in your current or previous positions or assignments that support the skills required in the job description.
  • Revisit your CV if you provided one at the application stage - the interviewer may ask questions about your CV for further clarification.
  • If you have to prepare and give a presentation, practice in front of friends or family and time it to get feedback and to ensure you can deliver it in the allotted time.
  • Plan your route or check train or bus times and have your interview clothes cleaned, pressed and ready beforehand.
  • Finally, to ensure that you’re refreshed and energised in the morning, try to get an early night the night before.

Last updated 4 months ago