Keele University Interview
Interviews can differ greatly depending on what it is you have applied for. Work experience interviews can often be informal although those for summer internships are similar in style and content to what you would expect for a graduate trainee position. Graduate job interviews can range from one off interviews lasting around thirty minutes to two day assessment centres involving group exercises and psychometric tests. But no matter what type of interview, by doing some work beforehand you will greatly increase your chances of success.
What you need to focus on of course is the fact that you have been granted an interview and what that means:
- The employer is very interested in employing you (otherwise why go to all that bother and cost of wasting time in interviewing you)
- You are probably over half way to getting the job.
- Not only does the interview present you with a real opportunity to demonstrate to the employer why they should recruit you, it allows you to find out more about them and to fully make up your mind about whether you want to work for them.
What to expect
Although the criteria-based interview is probably the most common form of interview, employers do use a number of alternatives:
- Telephone interviews.
- Panel interview.
- Technical interview.
Always remember when doing your interview preparation, the employer is interested in you; otherwise why would they have given you an interview? Clearly you have been successful in your initial application otherwise you would not have been given an interview. Now that you got the employer interested in you you need to go that extra length in order to clinch the job. This means developing further your knowledge of both the job and employer while at the same time thinking about how you will match yourself to the job specification. Think about:
What do you know about the job and the organisation?
- Do you have a realistic picture of what the job will entail?
- Can you draw up a list of specific skills and competencies the employer is looking for in somebody doing that job?
- How knowledgeable are you about the organisation?
- Why does this organisation attract you?
Information to help you find answers to these questions can be found from looking in company reports, brochures, websites, careers information, through talking to experts and through periods of work experience and work shadowing. The Careers Information page on this website will help you to start researching career ideas and employers while the Skills page goes into detail on the competencies sought after by employers.
Your research into the job and organisation should have provided you with an insight into how you will be assessed at interview. This allows you to prepare much more effectively – by concentrating on the experiences and qualifications which are relevant to the job.
Think about your:
- Academic qualifications and subjects.
- Voluntary work, work experience and employment history.
- Achievements and positions of responsibility.
Look at these experiences and select those which you feel will be of most interest to the employer. You will have done this to a certain extent when completing the application form or CV. Now you have to go into greater depth in order to sell yourself effectively during the interview. Talk to your friends and family about your experiences and their relevance to your interview. It’s easy to miss something.