Interview Advice

Generally, the main thing employers are looking to find out when interviewing you are whether you can do the job well, and whether you will fit into the culture of the company.

This is your chance to build empathy and rapport with the employer. You want them to see that not only can you do the job, but that you have a personality that will work well in their organisation.

Preparation

If you want to feel confident at an interview, preparation is key. Make sure you do your research. They key things you need to know are:

  • The details of the role. What skills they require, what the role entails. This is a good area to prepare questions on as well.
  • Company Facts. Their size, locations, clients, main business functions, where your department fits into it
  • Your skills. Remember what you want to draw attention to most in your qualifications and skills
  • LocationPlan out how you’re going to get there, and make sure you leave plenty of time! There’s nothing worse than a train delay stressing you out before your interview.
  • Dress smart. Even If the organisation isn’t formal, it’s good to show you have made an effort.

They will always ask you a few questions about yourself and why you think you would be good for the role / company. Try and think about the types of questions they could ask, and prepare answers in advance.

Some examples of the most common questions…

Q: Tell me a bit about yourself.

A:This is usually what they start off by asking, and its good for you as its one you can practice before the interview. When you’re preparing for an interview, write down some bullet points of what you want to make sure you include. Things like your achievements, your interests and why you are looking for an apprenticeship/job. Adding at the end what you like to do in your free time will show them a bit of your personality.

Q: What do you think your key skills are?

A: Again, make this relevant to the role. You will know the kind of skills they are looking for from the advertisement, so play to these and give examples of when you have used them.

Q: What are your weaknesses?

A: Think of examples that aren’t relevant to the job, or ones that can be seen as a positive e.g. being competitive. You can also talk about former weaknesses that you were able to overcome, for example presenting to large groups of people.

Q: Tell me about one of your achievements and what you learnt from it?

A: Try to choose one that is related to the role, or related to skills that are useful for the role. If you want to talk about a personal achievement make sure you draw upon the skills you learnt whilst doing it, for example team work skills when doing the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?/What are your goals?

A: This is their way of finding out how committed you are to staying with the company long term. Talk about how you see yourself in this industry long term, would like to progress to manager level in a few years time, and it would be ideal to be with the company long term.

Think about your answer before rushing to give it. There’s nothing wrong with showing you are thinking about what you want to say if the question requires it.

Your Questions…

  • Always have at least 2 or 3 questions in mind that you can ask that will show your interest in the role. They may be answered during the interview, but its good to ask a question or to as it shows enthusiasm.
  • Avoid asking questions just for the sake of it, or simple questions that can be answered by looking at the website.Questions that focus on the way the company works and how you would fit into it are best. For example:
    • What’s the office environment like?
    • How big is the team I would be working in?
    • How would you see me fitting in with your team?

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