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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, if you arrive at the offices more than ten minutes in advance, consider waiting in your car or taking a short walk. Arriving too early can be awkward for interviewers trying to juggle timing of interview slots.
  • Make sure you 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. Their website is the best place to start, but don’t stop there. For example, you could 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. Apart from the fact that the majority of people don’t like being filmed, there are many advantages for candidates such as no need to factor in travel and the associated costs, and it can be done at a convenient time.

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.
  • To make eye contact, 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

Employability and Enterprise 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, either hand the following information in to our desk in the Mountbatten Library or email it to careers@solent.ac.uk, ensuring that you mark the email for the attention of the Careers Adviser who will be interviewing you: 

  • 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.

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.

CV and Career Building Curriculum Plus unit

Mock interviews are assessed as part of the CV and Career Building Curriculum Plus unit.

The person providing the mock interview may be Solent Futures staff but you may also be interviewed by other members of staff from the University who have an interest in this type of activity. You will receive a written summary of your performance highlighting your strengths and areas for development.

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

Page last updated on Wednesday 26 October 2016 at 11.09am.

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