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Job interview tips

If your potential employer feels that you meet the standards for a role, they will invite you to an interview. Job interviews can be daunting, but the more you prepare, the more relaxed you will feel on the day.


How do I prepare for a job interview?

Here are some simple tips to help with your interview preparation.

Before the day of the interview 

1. Do a practice interview. A practice interview will not only help settle your nerves, it'll help you to realise how prepared you are to answer the questions. Practice with your local job club, the Jobcentre Plus or in front of a family member or friend. Ask them how you come across and what areas you can improve upon.

2. Read the job specification and job description again. Familiarise yourself once again with the job description and person specification, as well as your CV and/or application form.

3. Do some background research. Knowing a few key facts about the organisation can really help in the interview. It shows you have made the effort to find out more.You should also ask about the interview format, so you know what to expect on the day.

4. Plan for the interview day. Double-check the time of the interview, where it will take place, and how long it will take to get there. Plan your route and your leaving time, giving yourself plenty of time to get there without feeling rushed or stressed. Make sure you take a note of their phone number in case you’re running late.

5. Prepare your outfit.  Pick out what you will wear and have it ready. Try it on in advance to ensure it fits properly and looks suitable for the interview.

On the day of the interview

  • aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled time, just in case you need to sign into the building or find the right room.
  • if you're running late, phone ahead and let them know
  • avoid unnecessary distractions – put your mobile phone on silent

Further help

You might find your local Jobcentre can help you prepare for an interview


What should I expect at the job interview?

The interview could take place with one person or several people, or possibly in front of a panel.

Many interviews will consist of a set of pre-determined questions, which are asked of all candidates. You may notice your interviewer(s) writing comments as you answer. Don’t be unnerved by this – it’s just so they can go back over their notes later to help them make their decision. Sometimes they will score you on your answers and add up the scores later to see which candidate got the highest marks.

Some employers ask candidates to sit a test or to prepare a presentation for their interview. If you have to prepare a presentation, make sure you have all the materials you need with you, including any handouts.

Check with the employer in advance if you plan to use a PowerPoint presentation, as you will need to make sure they have the equipment available or arrange to bring it yourself.

It can be difficult to prepare for tests if you don’t know what the content will be. If that’s the case, you could still ask your local job club or Jobcentre Plus if they can advise you or give you practice tests.


What should I do next?

National Careers Service

Visit the National Careers Service website for common interview questions and interview tips

Further information

To speak to an adviser at the National Careers Service, call 0800 100 900

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Last updated: Nov 08 2017

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