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Preparing for an interview

Preparing for an interview

Preparing for an interview

Why is it important? 

Being well prepared is vital to a successful interview. The interview is a fundamental part of the recruitment process - it is your first chance to verbally engage with the employer and convince them that you are a good match for the job. Like anything else, interviewing is a skill that is much easier if you are prepared and organised. 

How can you prepare?

Find out the interview details

Ensure you are aware of where the interview will be held, how long it is likely to last and the number of people who will be interviewing you. Normally this information will be included when you are invited for the interview. If not, then ring up the company and ask. You can also use this as an opportunity to confirm your attendance.

Make sure to ask if you need to prepare anything and what format the interview is likely to take. Ask if there will be group exercises or if you will be required to take any tests. 

Work out how you are going to get to the interview, find out how long the journey takes, how much it will cost and, if required, book your seat on coaches or trains. Allow time for delays. 

Review your application

Interviews are often heavily based around your application, particularly focusing on your skills and experience, so it is vital that you know your application form/CV inside out. Go back over your application and ensure you are entirely confident in the content. Look at it against the person specification to ensure you have examples of the skills and competencies required. 

Remember, other candidates may have similar experience to you, so think about how you are going to make yourself stand out. It is important to be confident in your abilities.

Research the role

Find out as much as you can about the opportunity, the organisation and its values. Go back over the job description and think about why you want the role and how it fits into the wider organisation.

You can find out about job roles on Prospects, which lists more than 400 job profiles, including information on responsibilities, salary, qualifications, skills, work experience, career prospects and some case studies.

It is important that you research your prospective employer so explore their website and annual reports. You can go beyond this by searching for media articles about them (try a Google news search) and checking out their social media channels. Check out our page on networking through social media for more help with this. Think about why you want to work for the company - this is a very common interview question! 

Commercial awareness

Employers will often ask questions about current affairs and future trends affecting their industry and expect you to be able to comment.  You can find more information on how to do this by checking out our commercial awareness page.

How we can help you

Come and have a chat with one of our advisers either at our drop in or by booking an appointment for further advice on how to prepare for your interview. You can also book a mock interview to put your preparation into practice. We run workshops on interview techniques and employer presentations to give you insider information on a range of organisations and their opportunities. We also have resources on a range of industry sectors in our information room.