Preparation – before the interview
• Research the company thoroughly.
Employers often comment that many students know too little about the company. Use all methods available to you to find out about the company including company brochures, careers fairs, employer presentations, and company websites.
• Think of possible questions that you might be asked.
Find out more about the types of questions and examples of possible questions. There are more example questions in various booklets and leaflets available from the Careers Service.
• Practice answering the questions out loud.
Sometimes it can be helpful to ask a friend to listen to your responses or some people find practicing in front of a mirror useful or using a tape recorder.
• Re-read your application form or CV to remind yourself of what you said.
Imagine you are the interviewer and decide what questions you might ask based on your application.
• What do you want to get across to the interviewer?
Try and think of 3 key points that you would like to get across to the interviewer whatever question they might ask!
• Your questions for the interviewer.
Prepare your questions for the interviewer and write them on a card or piece of paper to take in with you.
• Check out travel arrangements.
Plan to arrive with at least 15 minutes to spare.
• What to wear.
Decide what you want to wear and make sure that it is comfortable.
• What to take with you.
Prepare a file containing a copy of your application form, company correspondence and directions, and your questions for them.
Preparation – on the day
First impressions do count so make sure you give a good first impression:
• Be polite to everyone you meet.
• Look organised. Carry your file.
• Give the impression that you are taking the occasion seriously.
• Think about your posture. Try and put your head up and shoulders back.
• Try and relax. Deep breathing definitely helps!
• Make sure you have a firm handshake.
• Maintain good eye contact.
Preparation – the interview itself
• Remember the importance of non-verbal communication
If what you say conflicts with what your posture and expression are conveying, they will believe the latter. So regularly check your posture.
• Eye contact
In a panel interview, eye contact should normally be maintained with the person who is asking the question, although remember to draw in other panelists by looking at them from time to time.
• Verbal communication
Be enthusiastic and interesting.
• Informal interviewers
Be wary of a very informal interviewer lulling you into a false sense of security – you may reveal more than you should in this situation.
• Always try and remain positive
Sometimes the interviewer will touch on things in your past that have gone wrong. Concentrate on what you learnt from the experience. Don’t be negative or apologetic about yourself.
• Move on
If you answer a question badly, forget about it and move on to the next one. You will not be rejected on the basis of one poor answer. So bounce back and tackle the next question with renewed enthusiasm.
• Don’t give one-word answers
This puts more pressure on the interviewer to think of the next question quickly. Expand on your answers within reason.
• Don’t bluff!
If a question stumps you then you may want to try one of the following:
• turn a negative into a positive:
‘I have some experience of this at the moment but realize that this is an area I need to develop further and so I have set up a week’s work experience…’;
• ask if you could be given some time to think about the question;
• ask them to repeat the question, which will give you more thinking time;
• be honest and say that this was one of the questions you were going to put to them! (if it is a company related question);
• ask if you can return to this question later.
What Employers Want
Employers say they are impressed by job candidates who have excellent communication skills, good grooming habits, and relevant work experience. Employers say they want trustworthy new hires who can move right in, get along with their co-workers, and get the job done without having to be babied at each step.
|Top 10 Qualities Employers Seek |
1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
4. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
6. Strong work ethic
7. Analytical skills
9. Computer skills
10. Organizational skills
|Employers Rate the Importance of Experience |
Relevant work experience ………………… 4.0
Internship experience……………………. 3.9
Any work experience …………………… 3.6
Co-op experience …………………………. 3.2
(5-point scale: 5=Extremely important; 1=Not important)