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Interview Tips

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Interview Tips

Plan for the interview

Get information

Find out about the employer and the job – this could be provided by an information pack or check out their website. Try to find out the following:

  • What do they do/make/sell?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What sort of organization are they?
  • What exactly will the job involve?
  • What sort of person do you think they want?
  • How can you best fit your skills to match the job?

Planning for the interview

Find out who will be conducting the interview:

  • Who will be interviewing? If it is your prospective manager, the interview may be more detailed. If the Personnel Manager is interviewing, it may be less direct or detailed, but could still be testing.
  • Will there be a test to take? Find out before the interview and ask for an example of the things you'll be asked to do.
  • If you have a disability, contact the employer prior to the interview if you require any particular arrangements. Check the day before to ensure details have been noted prior to your arrival.
  • Prepare for questions you might be asked

The following is a list of questions you may bb v nvvb n b e asked at an interview. Some suggestions are given which you may like to use to prepare your own answer. Thorough preparation will give you the confidence to do your best at an interview.

1. Why do you want to work here?

  • Mention:  
    • Good reputation of the firm
    • Any other positive information you have about the firm, e.g. their training record
    • It will give you a chance to do work which interests you

2. Why did you leave your last job?

Explaining briefly and honestly the reasons why your last job ended. If there is anything positive to say, say it, e.g.:

If you left for health reasons point out that you are now fit and reassure the employer that you can do the duties required, or, if you were dismissed, that you take responsibility for your actions and have learnt from the experience. 

3. Have you done this kind of work before?

  • Yes - tell them the skills you have and how you can use them.
  • No - quickly describe other work experience which will help you learn the job quickly. Emphasize your interest and enthusiasm to learn.

4. What did you do in your last job? Describe:

  • Skills and duties relevant to new job
  • Machines/equipment used
  • Your responsibilities
  • People you dealt with
  • How long you were there
  • If you were promoted

5. What kinds of equipment can you operate?

  • Name any type of equipment relevant to the new job 
  • Your training/qualifications
  • Length of time you have operated this equipment

6. How long have you been out of work - how do you spend your time? Describe:

  • Job search activity
  • Voluntary work 
  • Further education or study
  • Hobbies

7. Why have you had?

a) so many jobs? b) only one job?
a) So many jobs? 

You wanted to widen your experience in different types of work/firms. Many of the jobs were temporary. You would rather be in work than out of work.

b) Only one job? 
You had several different jobs within your last employment. The opportunity to develop. Their good record in training and development.

8. Why should I take you on?

  • Be ready for this question and answer confidently and positively 
  • Describe your skills and experience and how they relate to this job
  • Reassure the employer that you are hard-working, reliable and capable

9. Aren't you over-qualified?


  • You are looking for something fresh/new/different 
  • You can take as well as give instructions 

10. How do you get on with people?

  • Describe how you have previously worked as part of a team
  • Mention your ability to get on with people at all levels
  • Give examples

11. What makes a good team member?

Describe the skills required e.g.:

  • Good communication
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Co-operation
  • Sense of humor 

12. How do you cope with pressure?

Describe the pressures in previous jobs using a recent example, e.g.

how you coped with a changed deadline, completed a rush order or dealt with staff shortages

13. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

They should already know your strengths from your Application Form/CV or they would not be interviewing you, but if they ask about any weaknesses: Start by describing parts of your last job that you found testing but explain how you overcame these problems Be fairly brief but honest, e.g. "I can sometimes be a little too enthusiastic".

Note: Employers value people who can admit their mistakes rather than blaming their failings on others.

14. What would you like to be doing in five years time?

Explain that you would ideally like to be working for the same company but to have developed within it.

15. How often were you absent from your last job?

  • If rarely - say so
  • If absence has been a problem - explain why

16. When would you be available to start?

As soon as possible! Do not put any barriers in the way.

17. Do you have any questions?

You may like to prepare for this - it is almost always asked at the interview. You could ask:

  • Why is the job vacant? 
  • Why did the last person leave?
  • Who would I report to?
  • What training will I do, if any?
  • What would my first job be? 
  • How soon will I hear about the result of my application? 
  • How would I be paid?

Plan your journey

Consider a "dummy run" before the day of the interview or check how long the journey will take. If necessary ask the Employer for directions, bus routes or details of car parking. Plan an alternative means of getting there and be prepared for the unexpected. If you have a disability, check there are no obstacles which could cause you problems or delays. Think about what you will wear This may depend upon the sort of work you will be doing:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to decide what to wear and get the clothes ready the day before.
  • You don't have to buy a new outfit! Aim for neat, tidy, clean and uncluttered appearance.
  • If you look good it will help you feel good!
  • Gather together the written information you will need at the interview: CV, references, certificates, portfolio or examples of your work (if requested by the Employer).
  • Re -read the job advert to refresh your memory - make sure you haven't missed something.

And finally

  • Try to get a good night's sleep!
  • The day of your interview Before Leaving
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
  • Make sure you've got all relevant paperwork, e.g. CVs, invitation letter if have
  • If you are unavoidably delayed, Telephone early to explain, apologise and try to get another appointment

On Arrival

  • Aim to arrive about 10 minutes before the interview time 
  • Give your name to the receptionist or whoever is there to greet you
  • Try to relax and keep calm
  • Chat to the receptionist or whoever greets you, before going into the interview. This will ensure that the first thing you say isn't croaked out because you haven't spoken to anyone for oven an hour!

Your interview

First, accept that the symptoms of nerves - a fast heartbeat, clammy hands and butterflies in the stomach - are natural. These are your body's natural way of meeting a challenge and in small doses can give you the 'oomph' to make a good impression. You will make an impression in the first few minutes. It takes this time for people to assess someone and store this information. Once an impression has been formed, it's seldom changed. It's important to make first impression work for you. Nervous tension may make your voice sound shaky. Practice deep slow breathing before you get to the interview. This will slow down your heart rate and help you avoid taking quick ,shallow breaths

Here are some tips which may help:


  • Enter the room confidently
  • Shake hands firmly - and introduce yourself
  • Be polite and friendly - look the interviewer straight in the eye as soon as you enter the room
  • Look interested - ask questions as well as answering
  • Answer questions as fully as you can - avoid yes and no answers
  • Provide examples to prove your achievements 
  • Tell the truth 
  • Ask if you don't understand a question
  • Speak clearly 
  • Sell yourself - get your good points across/be positive
  • Give a friendly smile (if in doubt don't - it is better to look serious than insincere)


  • Sit until invited
  • Fidget and slouch in the chair
  • Criticize former employers 
  • Interrupt
  • Draw attention to your weaknesses 
  • Go over the top - stay calm and stick to the facts

Remember, most employers like:

  • People who listen
  • People who answer questions with examples 
  • People who come prepared 
  • People who appear confident

Good luck!

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