Interviewing for a job

You will usually need to do an interview before you get offered a job - find out how to do your best and impress
Job Interview

If you get asked to come to an interview, congratulations! You made a good application, and met all the criteria for the job. Now you have to show that you are the best person for the job.

An interview is your chance to really shine and show what you’re capable of. These top tips will help you make the best of your interview.

Before your interview

When you are invited to come to interview, you will be given information like:

  • Where the interview is
  • Whether you need to do any tests
  • Whether you need to bring anything with you

If you are not sure about anything, call and ask. You will be given a phone number for enquiries.

Crucial: For some organisations you may need to book your interview slot using an online form or tool. Follow the instructions you are given, and ask for help if you nned to. 

Types of interview

It's a good idea to find out who will be interviewing you and what type of interview it is before you go.

If you are interviewed by one person, it's called a one-to-one interview. You can also be interviewed by several people, which is a panel interview.

You may also be asked interview with a group of other candidates. This type of group interview may involve informal discussion as well as interview questions.

Some roles may need you to attend selection days, do tasks to prove you have certain skills or even undertake a piece of work with other candidates.

Instant Expert: Learn more about standing out from the crowd at a group interview.

Sometimes you may be asked to present something at an interview. Make sure to practice beforehand so that you know what you're going to say and do in the time you have.

Before the interview checklist

It is normal to feel nervous before an interview. Making up a checklist can help you beat the nerves and arrive calm.

  1. Confirm the date and time of the interview
  2. Check the details of where and when the interview is, and who it is with.
  3. Ask about any tests, presentations or activities you will do as part of your interview.
  4. Plan how you will get to your interview and how long that will take.
  5. Research the organisation through their website.
  6. Think about any questions the employer might ask you and prepare some answers.
  7. Think up any questions you want to ask the employer. 
  8. Practice answers to questions you might get asked. Get a friend or someone at home to help.
  9. Pick out what you will wear.
  10. Prepare a folder with anything you need to bring, like your qualifications, ID and something to take notes on.

Some people also find it useful to practice calming techniques to beat stress, and doing mock interviews with your school, college or learning provider can also be helpful.

Crucial: Always think safety when applying for jobs. Check the company before you travel, and always tell someone where you will be, when and for how long. More about Job-Seeking and Safety.

At the interview checklist

Don't worry if you panic when the interview starts. Your interviewers know to expect this and they will try to put you at ease.  

  1. Dress smartly, even if the job has a casual dress policy or uniform.
  2. Make sure your personal hygiene is good: clean teeth, body, clothes, and deodorant if you need it.
  3. Arrive at least ten minutes before the start so you can relax and use the loo.
  4. Sit up straight in your chair and don’t fidget, doodle or chew gum.
  5. Look at whoever is speaking to you, speak clearly, and smile.
  6. Answer questions honestly and carefully, giving examples from your own experience.
  7. Say why you want to work for the company, and what skills you bring.
  8. Remind yourself that interviewers want to fill the position and genuinely want you to succeed!
  9. At the end, thank the interviewer and offer your hand to shake.

Instant Expert: For lots of great tips on interviews and other skills like building a CV, log on to Barclays Life Skills.

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