Surviving an interview
An interview is a meeting to exchange information and have a two-way discussion. Its purpose is to let the employer find out if you are suitable for the job. It also gives you an opportunity to see if the job is right for you.An interview can take several forms. It may be with employers or a recruitment agency, with one or more people, either one at a time or all together (a panel interview), in person or over the telephone, a technical interview to see whether you have the skills for the job (this often involves a literacy/numeracy test) or with a group of other applicants where you will be assessed against them.
Before you go
Interviews can be stressful, but you can reduce the stress by considering some of the questions below beforehand:
Where is the interview?
When is the interview?
How much time do I need to get ready and get there?
Have I Googled the company and been on their website?
What am I going to wear that’s smart?
How am I getting there?
Do I need any money (for parking, transport etc)?
Have I charged my mobile?
Who do I need to call if I’m running late/can’t find the place?
Have I looked at my application form/CV to remember what I’ve written?
Have I thought about what I will be asked?
What questions will I ask them at the end of the interview?
Do I need to take anything with me? (CV, portfolio etc)

Telephone interviews
These are becoming more common and are often used as a ‘vetting’ process so BE PREPARED! Before you make the call make sure you have all your details to hand. This should include the job advert, your application letter and CV.  Have a pen and paper ready, use a telephone in a quiet area and speak clearly!

Face to face interviews
It’s important to prepare thoroughly before starting out for an interview. Find out as much as possible about the company by looking at their website. Read your CV and application letter carefully, and write down the most important points you want to make during the interview. Prepare answers to likely questions - here are some examples:
Using only three words, describe yourself.
What did you like/dislike about your previous job/work experience?
  • How do you react under pressure?
  • What interests you most about this job?
  • Tell me about an achievement that you are proud of.
  • What do you feel you can bring to this job?
  • What are your long term ambitions?
  • Can you tell me about an occasion when you have worked successfully in a team?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What qualities do you think this job requires?
  • What do you know about this organisation?
  • Have you done a similar role before?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • How do you handle criticism?
In the downloads section at the bottom of the page, there are some further questions you could be asked and also some suggested answers - well worth a read! In addition, we provide a guide for answering increasingly common situational questions.