preparing-for-interviews

October 26, 2018, by Carla Froggatt

Your Three-Step Guide to a Successful Interview  

By Jackie Thompson, Information and Communication Manager

Ask anyone about attending a job interview and most people will say they dread them. It’s the unknown – what will they ask me? 

Online you will find hundreds of potential questions that an employer might ask. Some will be generic and others will be role specific. It can be overwhelming. 

To make it easier, we’ve summarised the three key areas that employers assess during the interview process and some examples of the types of questions they may ask.  

From your point of view, you will need to: 

1. Show that you WANT the job

Employers will often open an interview with a question to explore your motivation for the job and having a great answer prepared can be a brilliant way to get off to a good start, leaving your interview nerves behind.  

Read through the job description and your application form to remind yourself why this job appeals to you.  There can be quite a gap between applying for a role and being invited for an interview, so a quick refresh is always advised. Are there two or three points that neatly outline why this is the job for you? 

Common questions include: 

  • Why have you applied for this role? 
  • Why do you think you’d be a good fit for this position? 

2. Show you can DO the job

Take time to consider your strengths and skills and how you can put them to good use in the role you’ve applied for.

Employers will often ask questions aiming to see how well you understand your strengths and how these fit with the organisational culture and the role. Check the job advert or person specification for the skills the employer is looking for. Have you got some examples of when you have demonstrated those skills? 

Typical questions might be: 

  • What are your three key strengths? 
  • Please give an example of when you were a member of a team assigned to a project or task.  What was your role?  What was the outcome? 
  • Give an example of a problem you have recently solved.  What methods and information did you use? 
  • What energises you more, starting or finishing a task? 

3. Show you will FIT in  

Employers are looking for applicants that are keen to work for their company, have similar values and will fit in well with colleagues in the team or department. 

Find out as much as you can about the company – facts and figures, their customers and competitors and their values. Has the company been in the news recently and why?   

Example questions might include: 

  • Why do you want to work for our organisation? 
  • What are the main challenges facing the company in the next two to three years? 

At the end of the interview, there’s usually a chance for you to ask questions. You may have gaps in your knowledge of the job or organisation, or you may be weighing up if this is the right fit for you. Some examples might be: 

  • Can you give me a fuller picture of the training I would receive?
  • What did the previous person in this role go on to do? 
  • What do you enjoy about working for the company? 

You can find out more about preparing for this part of the interview here.

Find out more about how to prepare for an interview online and try our simulated video interview resource, Sonru. If you’re no longer in Nottingham we can offer support remotely, email us at graduatecareers@nottingham.ac.uk

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceInterviews