City : Interview Stage : Preparing for an Interview
How can I prepare for an interview?
There are lots of ways you can prepare for an interview! The aim is to feel more confident when you're going to meet your potential employers - feeling like you can tackle a range of questions, know your stuff, and are looking smart.
We've listed ways you can get prepared in the boxes below...
Read and re-read the job description
The job description that you read whilst applying for the job is really really useful when it comes to prepping for the interview. It will tell you what skills are required of the role - these are skills that the interviewers will ask you questions about.
When looking at the job description think about:
- What skills / knowledge / qualities are they looking for AND how can you show that you have them?
- If there is something that they have asked for but you don’t have then think about how you might discuss that at interview - can you show that you are a quick learner and that you would pick up new skills quickly?
- What will you actually be doing within the role that you are going to apply for - does it involve working on a computer, writing, working with numbers, a lot of physical activity?
- Try and understand how the role fits in to the company - if there's anything that confuses you you can chat to a parent, teacher, or even contact the National Careers Service.
Re-read your CV and application
Knowing what you've said in your CV and application is vital preparation so that you know what skills the interviewers are expecting you to have. It's good practice to know exactly what you've written, especially in a cover letter or supporting statment where you may have indicated specific skills and interests!
What skills or experience you have included may also guide what questions they ask you - so if they ask you to elaborate on a role you've put in your CV, you need to know what they're referring to!
So read, take notes of key skills and experiences, and re-read!
Learn about the employer
Finding out who the company or organisation are and what they do is important when showing interviewers that you're keen to join the team.
Make sure you know what their business or organisation is and how it works. It's also good to know where this role fits and what impact it has within their business!
You should also look into their competition as well as the industry that the business is in. It's good to ask...
- Who are their main competitors, and what do they do?
- What makes them different from their competitors?
- What is going on in their industry at the moment - is there anything relevant going on in the newspapers?
- Is the industry large or small?
- Is the industry competitive and fast paced?
Think about you
Answering questions about yourself, your likes, dislikes, and your personality would seem the easiest part of the interview... BUT it's harder than it seems! When you're put on the spot to 'tell me about yourself' it's easy to freeze up - so make sure you prepare an answer, highlighting your key interests and personal skills!
They will also want to know about you and your motivations - what makes you want to do what you do and how does this fit in to the role?
Predict the questions
A good way to think about what questions might be asked is to predict what they might ask based on the job description and your application - BUT don't prepare set answers for only those questions as they might ask you them!
To prepare for less obvious questions, have a think about what you have been asked in previous interviews and what you would ask if you had to interview yourself. You can also ask family members or friends to interview you to give you practice of not knowing what questions will be asked!
The interviewers won't try and catch you out, but they might ask a complicated question. If you don't understand it the first time, don't feel awkward about asking them to repeat or re-word the question - better to ask than to answer incorrectly!