Tag Archives: interview preperation

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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Top five interview tips to help you land that job!

Interviews can be scary, especially if you have never had one before. The most important thing to do before any interview is to make sure that you are well prepared. Take some time before your interview to research the company, prepare answers to common interview questions, and make sure that you have everything you will need on the day to hand.

interview

Tip 1: Research the Company

Ideally you will already have done some research before applying for the role, but if not, now is the time to do it! You don’t have to memorise all of their annual reports or become an expert on their products, but if you haven’t done any research at all, it will reflect poorly on you during the interview. You should aim to know something about the products and services they provide as well as a brief overview of their history – you can also search for news articles about them, for added points.

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

You will normally be told in advance the location of the interview, so make the most of this advance knowledge and plan your route to get there. Being late for the interview means getting off on the wrong foot at best, and will have a strong negative impact on your chances of getting the job. Aim to arrive around 10 minutes before the time stated on your invite to interview. Build in time in your route for traffic jams, roadworks, public transport issues and so on. Take a spare copy of your CV with you, as well as the job description, your application, and some information on the company. Then when you arrive early, you can read through your pack while you are waiting.

Tip 3: First Impressions

When you arrive for your interview, make sure you switch off your mobile phone (or at the very least make sure it is on silent with the vibrate turned OFF). Take some mints or chewing gum to freshen your breath, but make sure you finish/dispose of it before going into the interview – you don’t want to be crunching mints or chewing gum in your interview!

Tip 4: Be Confident and Enthusiastic

Confidence is one the most important traits to creating a positive impression. Smile, be courteous and address the interviewers by name whenever possible. Keep in mind that you have already impressed the employer enough with your application/CV for them to want to see you. This is no small thing considering the volume of applications most employers receive. Therefore, you have already made a positive impression on them. Your task at the interview is to allow the employer to learn more about you and to see if they like your personality. This is hard to do if you clam up with nerves so take some deep breaths and try to relax.

Tip 5: Follow-Up To Your Interview

After your interview, write to the employer and thank them for their time in seeing you – do this if you are offered the job or not. This will make sure that you stick in their minds as a polite and proactive candidate, and will also confirm to the employer that you are still interested in the position. Sometimes you might need to check a fact or clarify a point raised during the interview. You can use the follow-up email or letter to relay this information to them.

Post adapted from http://www.jobcentreguide.co.uk/job-interview-tips/23/job-interview-tips