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Job interviews: an overview: Preparing for a job interview

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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 and appropriate facilities are 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 an even playing field. Have a look at our article on psychometric and online tests if you have disability for examples of adjustments you can ask for. Also, read our article about how to explain a disability when applying for jobs for further information.

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 garner potential interview questions. Go through our article on answering interview questions to think about how you would answer those 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 an interview simulator

An interview simulator allows you to practice and hone your interview technique. We subscribe to Abintegro as a service to students registered with us. The Abintegro interview simulator has been developed with employers to help give you insight into what employers are looking for.

You can

  • browse a range of questions commonly asked at interviews, get a better understanding of why these questions are being posed, and gives you practical suggestions on preparing responses
  • see video clip interviews with employers, illustrating the tips and points being made.

You can also practice your interview answers, by taking an auto-generated mock interview to create a ‘true to life’ experience.

  • choose from a pre-selected question set, or customise your own
  • practice your interview technique against the clock, recording your answers as you go
  • compare your responses against video advice from employers, explaining why they ask these questions and how good answers differ from poor ones.

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.
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