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Interview tips

If you have been invited to a job interview, congratulations! This means your CV or application form was successful and your potential new employer wants to find out more about you. 

With thanks to CareerPlayer - your online career video library.

Here are some steps to increase your chances of interview success.

Prepare

  • Confirm your interview time with the organisation and then put it in your calendar.
  • Plan your journey. Allow more time than you will need. However, don't arrive more than 10 minutes early. Employers report being too early as a negative factor for candidates.
  • Know your CV/application form inside out, as you may be asked questions about its content.
  • Thoroughly research – the company, its products, what you might be asked at interview, what the progression for your career might be. Check the website, but also see if they have been mentioned in industry or mainstream press reports. See if they have a Facebook page, or have posted videos on YouTube. Mountbatten Library has lots of information on companies - library staff would be happy to help with your enquiry.
  • Have a few questions ready yourself for the "any other questions?" that often comes at the end of an interview. Some standby questions could be "what would my priorities be?", "what is the most important aspect of your company culture?" to the more daring "what do you like about working here?".

Video interviews

Skype, shortlister and other software have made video interviews a popular tool for employers. They can be used as part of an initial screening process for graduate training schemes, or replace a telephone or face to face interview entirely. This is particularly true if you are interviewing for a job based in a different country. 

Here are some tips:

  • Prepare and practice just as you would for a face to face interview.
  • Make sure the technology is working.
  • Ensure you won’t be interrupted (turn off your phone, put a sign outside the room you are in, lock out your pets).
  • Dress as you would for a formal interview.
  • Look at the camera rather than the screen.
  • Consider what is in the background (what posters are on the wall, laundry drying).
  • If using Skype make sure your username is professional.
  • Some companies will give you questions which you are then required to film yourself answering – have someone check it before you send it back.

If you have been asked to video yourself answering interview questions, here's a website that gives some good examples of how to do it well.

Practice and mock interviews

Solent Futures offers mock interviews to students and graduates during one to one guidance sessions to boost your confidence for the real thing.

Prior to your mock interview, submit the following information: 

  • Details of the job (job advert plus job description and person specification if there is one) you will focus on in your mock interview.
  • Your CV targeted to this job OR your completed application form.
  • Any particular questions you want to practice answering.

These can be dropped off to the Solent Futures Centre (RM001) or emailed to careers@solent.ac.uk

Prepare as you would for a real interview. Turn up on time for your mock interview wearing interview-appropriate clothes. The "interviewer" will launch straight into the mock interview. You will receive constructive feedback – both on your strengths and areas for improvement.

Body language

This video from Ted.com discusses how important non-verbal communication is.

Competency based interview

Watch a video illustrating a competency based interview with Enterprise Rent a Car 
(Requires Solent login details.)

Page last updated on Tuesday 30 May 2017 at 11.20am.

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