Interviews are good news – they mean your application forms and CVs are working! Now you need to get the preparation underway to make the most of the opportunity.

Interviews indicate whether you will fit in with colleagues, present a confident and professional image with clients or customers and cope with the pressures of the job.

Interviews are also your opportunity to find out more about the job and the organisation. Employers want you to have enough information to make your decision to accept a job offer with confidence.

Thorough preparation is essential if you are to arrive at your interview ready to make the most of the opportunity and with enough self-confidence to conquer inevitable interview nerves.

  • Read over your CV or application form. Think about your personal skills, motivation and personality.
  • Read the job description and think about how your skills and experience match what the employer is looking for.
  • Decide what to wear. Make sure it's appropriate for the job, dress smartly but comfortably. You need to feel relaxed.
  • Find out how to get there and allow plenty of time for your journey.

Research the employer thoroughly

You need to make sure that you research the employer thoroughly in order to demonstrate your interest. This means finding out about what they do, the service or product that they provide, how they may develop and who their competitors are (if any). One of the first questions you may get asked is 'why do you want to work for us?'

Key points

  • Shake hands with the interviewer at the start of the interview
  • Maintain good eye-contact
  • Listen carefully to the question
  • Make sure your answers are to the point and supported with relevant examples
  • Avoid ‘yes' and ‘no' answers
  • Seek clarification if you are not clear about the meaning of the question
  • Try and smile from time to time
  • If you have more than one person interviewing you, look mainly at the questioner but glance at the other people from time to time
  • Avoid being arrogant or over-exaggerating your answers
  • Interviews are two-way processes so be prepared to ask questions yourself

Don't forget to use the interview to prepare for the next one! Look at what went well, what you can improve upon.

Think about your responses – did you remain enthusiastic and focused, did you give good examples to demonstrate your skills? 

Thinking about your answers will help to evaluate your performance and improve on it.