Interview hints and tips

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Breeze into the interview face to face or online without any thought to what you will say will more than likely lead to stumbles and stutters. It helps to treat an interview like an exam with the subject being you, your career and your development.

If you’re preparing for an interview, these tips will help you to give a positive impression.



Before the interview

You may be able arrange an informal visit or telephone call with the Recruiting Manager to find out more about the job or team. If you really want to get the job, then it shows how keen you are to find out more.



Prepare for questions

You won’t know exactly what questions you will be asked, but you can use the job description and person specification to think what questions you are likely to be asked. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and think what skills and competences they are looking for. Think of examples you can give to back up what you say. For example if you say you are a good communicator, describe an occasion when you used your communication skills to good effect. It’s good to have examples of what you have achieved or skills you have used.



Practice out loud

It helps to practice your answers out loud – don’t just think ‘oh yes I’ll talk about when I worked for ABC organisation’ as what’s in your head still needs to be shaped into sentences and communicated to your interviewees.



Do your research

You may be asked what you know about the Trust, so do your homework. You should also take a look at the latest developments or research in the field in which realtes to the job you have applied for as you may well be asked for your views or knowledge of this.



Look the part

Your appearance alone won’t get you a job even if on a video call, but if you turn up scruffy for an interview, the panel’s first impression is likely to be that you don’t care about getting the job. Make sure you are clean and presentable and they’ll see that you’ve made an effort. You don’t have to buy a new suit, but you might want to make sure your shoes are polished, your clothes fit correctly and that your accessories / makeup are not distracting.



Presentation on the subject of...

If you are invited to make a presentation you can be imaginative, but make sure you’ve answered the question and thought about the style of the company. Don’t write long sentences and just read them out – bullet points are best so you can talk around them. Practice the presentation. Time how long it takes as you may not be allowed to go over the stated time and may miss your most important points. Pause for breath. Speak clearly.

You may need to do a presentation over a video. Make time to practice showing your presentation to a family member or friend using the same video call software.

Don’t try to rush through to get it over with.



Stay calm

Good preparation is key in control. If asked to attend a face to face interview, plan your journey, allowing extra time for any unexpected delays. Get everything ready before the day of the interview. If you are nervous about the journey and being on time, travel the route beforehand to be sure you know where you are going and how long it will take to get there and where you will be able to park.

We have prepared a page here about how to prepare for a video interview: Interview and assessment support



Prepare some questions and ask them when you are offered the change

It’s a good idea to ask some questions at interview to demonstrate your interest in the position. It shows you’ve really thought about what it will be like to work in that job or for that company. Ask two or three questions at most. Too many may looks as though you didn’t do your research beforehand. You could prepare 4 or 5 ques- tions as some may be covered in the interview and you’ll look as if you weren’t paying attention if you ask them again. You might ask about working arrangements, or development opportunities, or about projects and plans, culture of the department or company. Don’t ask about pay – save that for negotiation after the interview.