Preparation and research are key. You need to be able to confidently show you have a good understanding of the career you wish to pursue, as well as understanding your potential employer and their business. It's also good to have some awareness of how this job fits with its broader career family and what is happening in the sector.
Interview tips — beforehand
- Practise answering interview questions with someone else. If you are at school or college, you may be able to arrange a mock interview.
- Review the job description, the key skills and qualities required, and the application you completed. Be prepared to provide further information about what you said about yourself and what you can do.
- Keep in mind the interviewer wants to find out about what you can offer them — the particular skills and qualities you can bring that set you apart from other applicants.
- But it’s not just about what the employer is looking for — try to think of some insightful questions you could ask, for example, opportunities you may have to develop your role in the company.
Interview tips — on the day
- First impressions count! It’s said that within the first 30 seconds of meeting you, interviewers have already started to form an opinion about your suitability for the role.
- Make sure you dress appropriately and look the part. Every workplace has a different culture, so it’s best to play safe and avoid excessive jewellery, body piercings, make up, bold hairstyles, etc.
- Offer a firm handshake (but don’t crush their hand!), and make appropriate eye contact with the interviewer.
- Take a copy of your application and the job description, together with pen and paper. Having this to hand in a smart folder or portfolio leaves a good impression, gives you something to hold during the interview, and something to refer to if you have written your own questions.
- Try to give full, honest answers to all questions. It’s OK to take a moment to think through your response, and better to have a considered reply rather than a rushed answer. If you need more time to think about your answer, ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
- Remember it’s not enough to just say you’re good at something – always try to provide examples that clearly show the skill or personal quality required. This could come from activities at school/college, outside interests, sports, or part-time employment.
- It’s fine to ask questions, and you will often be given an opportunity to do so at the end of the interview. Avoid just asking about your salary and benefits!