Make a good impression at a job interview, with advice on how to prepare, and how to show what you have to offer.
Types of interview
There are different types of interviews which employers might use. You should prepare for the one you’re attending.
Your interview may only be with one person. This is usually face-to-face, and is more common in smaller companies.
Some interviews are with a panel of 2 or more people. Make sure you look at all the interviewers when you’re speaking with them. They may also ask you to do a presentation.
A group discussion is usually part of an assessment centre day with other candidates. You'll have to show you can get along with people, put your ideas forward and be respectful of others.
Types of interview questions
Employers use different types of questions when interviewing. They may tell you beforehand what type of interview it is. They may also have information on their website about their recruitment process.
The focus is on the things you can do, so you’ll need to give examples to show you have the skills for the job. If you do not have examples from a work environment, you can use experiences from your personal life.
You may find out before the interview which competencies they're measuring you against.
These explore what you enjoy doing or do well. For example, your practical or teamworking skills, or how you work under pressure.
The employer may test your job-related knowledge and understanding of work processes. This is common for jobs in:
Situational judgement questions
Employers may ask how you would react in typical work situations. This is to check things like your ability to solve problems, make decisions or work with others.
Value-based questions identify whether you share the organisation's values and understand their culture. This is common for health and care jobs
These help an employer to see what drives you and to make sure you’ll fit in with their company.
Learn what other people say it's like to work at the company or in a similar job.
You could also talk to people you know who work at the company or are in similar jobs.
To help make sure you’re prepared:
1. Read the job description and person specification carefully. Be clear on the skills and qualities the employer is looking for
2. Check the company website to find out more about its products or services and their plans for the future
3. Ask someone you trust to help you practise answering questions
4. Think of 2 or 3 questions of your own that you can ask at the end of your interview, to show you’re enthusiastic about the job
5. Check what time you need to arrive and the name of the person you need to see
6. Make sure that you know how to get to where the interview is being held. Work out your public transport route or where you can park. Plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the interview starts
7. Make sure you know who to call in case you’re late for any reason
In the interview, remember to:
1. Be polite and use the right language and tone for a formal situation
2. Listen to the questions and think before you begin your answers
3. Ask the interviewer to repeat or explain further if you do not understand a question
4. Be positive about your experiences. If you’ve faced difficult situations, show what you learned from them
5. Be honest and assertive
6. Ask a couple of questions when you’re given the opportunity. Choose questions that make you sound keen. For example, "What opportunities are there for training with the company?" It’s best not to ask about pay or holidays at this stage
At the end of the interview, thank the employer for their time. Tell them you’re looking forward to hearing from them.