University of Edinburgh Job Interview
Tips and advice on how to prepare for an interview, making a good impression during the interview and reflecting on your experience after the interview.
Before the interview – preparation
- Read your application – remind yourself what you wrote as this may form the basis of your interview and you might be asked to provide more detail or additional examples.
- Research the job – review the job description and person specification so you know what skills, qualities and experience are relevant for the job.
- Research the organisation – find out as much as you can about the organisation, the sector, past successes and future developments.
- Prepare questions to ask – make sure you make a final positive impression by asking insightful questions which show your interest. Avoid questions on salary, holidays and things you can find easily on the website.
- Think about the practicalities – plan your journey in advance and allow plenty of time to make sure you arrive on time. Choose a comfortable outfit that complies with the company dress code.
- Follow instructions any you’re given beforehand – such as bringing a portfolio or examples of your work, qualifications and certificates.
- Practise – you may be able to book a practice interview with a Careers Consultant before your real interview. You can also practise answering common interview questions with friends and family and by using Interview Simulator.
- Use our resources – make sure you use all of the useful resources that the Careers Service has to help you prepare for your interview:
During the interview – making an impression
- Be friendly to everyone you meet and smile – give a firm handshake.
- Maintain eye contact with the person who is asking you questions but if you are having a panel interview glance at the other interviewers as well.
- Speak clearly and slowly.
- Be aware of your posture and don’t fidget.
- Take time before you speak to consider how you are going to answer each question and ask for clarification if necessary.
- Thank the interviewers for their time so that you make a good final impression.
After the interview – reflect
No matter how well you prepare, there are always things you can learn from an interview. You can use your experience to make sure you are even better prepared next time.
Think about what went well and where you could improve. Maybe you need to prepare more examples to demonstrate your suitability or think of more memorable questions to ask the employer.
Ask the interviewer for feedback if you are unsuccessful, as some employers are willing to give advice which could help you make a better impression at your next interview.
You could also help other students by filling in an interview or assessment centre feedback form available at the Careers Service. It is also available to complete on MyCareerHub.
The information you provide will be made available to next year’s candidates to help them prepare for similar interviews. Completing it will also be a very helpful reflection exercise for you.