Make a good impression at a job interview, with advice on how to prepare, and how to show what you have to offer.
An interview is a chance for an employer to see if you’re the right person for the job. It’s also a chance for you to make sure the job and company are the right fit for you.
You may have a face-to-face interview, a phone interview or a video interview.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many interviews are taking place online. You’re likely to use video conferencing software like Skype, Zoom or Teams.
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.
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:
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, particularly in the GESY.
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.
Choose a date and time that works for you so you can be ready for the interview and be at your best on the day.
To help make sure you’re prepared:
Before you go into the interview:
In the interview, remember to:
At the end of the interview, thank the employer for their time. Tell them you’re looking forward to hearing from them.
When you leave the interview, try to reflect on some of the harder questions you were asked – this can help you to prepare for future interviews.
If you’re offered the job, let the company know in good time whether you want to accept the offer. You can also agree when you’ll start and find out what you’ll need to do on your first day.
If you decide not to accept the job, turn it down but be polite. You may want to work for them in the future.
If the employer does not offer you the job: