An interview is where a recruiter, or their representative, asks you a series of questions to ascertain if you are the right person to hire for a job or give a place to on a course.
It is also a chance for you to find out whether the opportunity is exactly what you want.
There can be more than one stage to the process with you taking part in tests and different types of interviews on two or even three occasions.
Traditionally interviews have been held in person, face-to-face. Nowadays, they can be over any number of channels, including:
And in any number of formats including (in alphabetical order):
- aptitude tests – any number of challenging written &/or interactive tests
- behavioural – checking how you have reacted to situations in the past (“tell me about a time…”)
- competency-based – based on the capabilities the recruiter is seeking
- face-to-face – one or two interviewers
- group – a few candidates being interviewed at the same time
- informal – seems like just a friendly chat about your interests (but you are still being interviewed)
- panel – a few people sitting as a panel with a chairperson
- portfolio-based – talking around your creative work (requiring evidence of what you can do)
- stress – to check how you react to unexpected situations and pressures
- task-based – set exercises to demonstrate your abilities either alone or with others
If you’ve impressed a recruiter with your Application, and/or CV, you could well be invited for an interview. The aim will be to ensure that you are the best match for the vacancy … and that the vacancy is exactly what you want.
Prepare well in advance! Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
- research the company/Uni – demonstrate a genuine interest in the application
- research the interview – wherever practical, find out the sort of questions and the format
- prepare questions – they will invite you to ask some of your own
- know which of your skills, knowledge & abilities match to the company and advert
- rehearse – practice in front of a mirror – or video yourself!
- invest in yourself – smart clothes/reliable transport…etc
- find out the type of interview – if they haven’t already told you in the invite
Make a good first impression on the day:
- arrive 10-15 minutes early – and look the part (even for a telephone interview!)
- warm up – check your appearance in a mirror and rehearse your key answers
- be friendly – ensure you come across as confident and approachable
- eye contact – this will create a fantastic first impression
- smile – even over the telephone
- sincere handshake – firm, but not overpowering
The interviewer will form an impression of you in the first few seconds, even before you start answering any questions!
Then he or she will want to know:
- can you do the job/complete the degree?
- will you fit in with the culture of the university/company?
- are you the best candidate for the vacancy?
- relevant – be positive (and selective) about your previous experiences
- focus on them – match your skills/experience to exactly what they’re looking for
- help them – make it obvious why they should select you!
And why not take a look around Careersnearhere.com. You should be able to discuss at interview the recent and relevant experiences you’ve gathered from the local opportunities advertised (for free) on the INSPIRATION and EXPERIENCE noticeboards under the relevant industry / career sectors.
On Careersnearhere.com, why not take a look at:
- Applications, and other headings under the Tips section at the bottom of the page
- Careers Advice & Guidance Online and other headings under the Help section at the bottom of the page
Perhaps also search YouTube and the internet for relevant videos including those by some of the major employers.
And there are plenty of aptitude test websites where you can review and practice ahead of your interview. If you know you’ll have one of these psychometric tests, take a look on the internet to find out more.
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