October 26, 2023, by Jackie Thompson
Interview questions are often predictable…honestly
By Anna Scrivener, Careers Adviser
How can we help you in an application and interview support appointment? You may be surprised.
When students book ‘Interview Preparation’ appointments with me they often think that I will have a greater insight into the questions that will come up than them. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, you are the best person to be able to make an educated guess at the questions…yes, really.
Why? Well because by the time you are offered an interview, you will have researched the company and read through the job details, probably multiple times. You did this to put together your successful application, and it’s got you through to this stage – well done! The company should also provide you with information on the format of the interview, for example, ‘a 45-minute competency-based interview’, some employers give more detail than others. Often in an appointment, I will start by asking, ‘What do you think they are looking for?’, in my experience, you will know.
Ultimately, if you know the company’s values and the key skills they are looking for, which they’ve told you in the job description, you can have a pretty good guess at the things that might be tested at the interview. Remember it’s not in their interest to trip you up, they’ve already invested time and money in the recruitment process. They should want to make you feel confident and assured so you can perform well, and therefore they can make the best decision about who to hire. Framing your interview in this way in your mind might help with those pesky nerves too.
What I can help you with is thinking about the different types of interview questions that might come up and how to approach them, for example, motivational, strengths-based or competency. When you’re thinking about what the recruiter is really looking for when they ask these kinds of questions, we have a fantastic online resource ECareersGrad that hosts an ‘Interview Success’ course that I highly recommend for this too.
I can also do a mock interview with you, if you provide me with the job information when you book the appointment, and I will provide you with feedback on how you answer, considering how well you are using strategies like the STAR technique to ensure your answers are both detailed and relevant. If you have a virtual interview, book an online appointment with us to give the same feel. Also, if you would like to practice a video interview (where you are not talking directly to anyone, but recording your answers) there is a facility to do that in GraduatesFirst.
In addition, I recommend checking out websites like Glassdoor and MockQuestions where previous applicants talk about their experiences of large companies recruitment processes. This can tell you something about what to expect, although don’t take it as gospel, as companies change their recruitment processes regularly.
If you really want to push yourself why not reach out on LinkedIn to employees or University of Nottingham alumni that work at the company you are applying to? See if they would be willing to have a virtual coffee to give you some pointers – what have you got to loose? Remember once upon a time they were in your shoes and those insider insights can’t be underestimated.
If you would like some additional support with interview preparation, visit the interview page on our website.
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