Answering Interview Questions

Front view portrait of four business executives sitting in a line

The last few weeks the career team have seen a number of students who have interviews coming up, and they have been asking for some help with preparing for interviews. We recently posted about using the STAR method for answering interview questions, as well as top 5 interview tips to help you land a job.

But what about those interview questions? How can you predict what you will be asked, and therefore go into the interview fully prepared?

The first thing to do is take a look at the criteria on the person specification – write them all down in a list down the left side of the page (you can do this with pen and paper on on your computer – whatever is easier). Then jot down a few examples of when you have demonstrated that criteria on the right hand side. 2 or 3 examples is great – the interview panel will be really impressed if they ask you for an example and you give them 2 or 3!! Keep this little ‘table’ of examples around your house, stick it next to the kettle, read it while you’re having a cup of tea, and come the day of the interview, all you will need to do is recall the examples, rather than having to think from scratch.

Then there are those more general questions. How do you prepare for those?

My top tip would be to take a look at a couple of lists of common interview questions and prepare answers for them. Questions like ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ and ‘Why do you want this job?’ are highly likely to crop up in most interviews – so make sure you are ready for them!

You can download a pdf of common interview questions from The Careers Group at University of London here: download

Try these methods and let us know how you get on at your interviews!

Remember the the careers team are here to help – we can arrange a mock interview for you, or just a one-to-one session to offer some advice and guidance on interview skills. Email careers@cumbria.ac.uk to book an appointment.

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