Some people absolutely love interviews, some people don’t. Whether you like them or not, chances are you will probably find yourself doing a few of them. So what is the key to a good interview?

This is the first blog entry of a series designed to help you with the interview process. This entry will deal with tips for what to do before during and after the interview. The second entry will deal with practical approaches to preparing for the interview. The third entry will give sample questions, including those awkward ones!!!

A hugely important thing about interviews is to treat them as a process that you can learn from.


Before your interview:

  1. Buy a little notebook:  Some people (not all!) find it useful to have a little notebook that you write in when you leave an interview.  Write points that you thought you really did well, and write down the questions that you hesitated on.  Remember the questions you did well on and answer the questions you hesitated on when you have time.  Before your next interview read over your notebook so you won’t be too surprised at the questions asked next time!!
  2. Check the appointment:  Check the exact location and time:  It may be useful to do a ‘dry run’ to see how long it will take, check time tables if necessary, have a back-up plan e.g. money to take a taxi.
  3. Dress appropriately:  Wear something that is neat, clean and conservative but reflects the job you are going for, (tracksuits rarely reflect the job you’re going for!)  e.g. suit for a bank.
  4. Bring necessary documents:  A copy of your C.V., driver’s licence if applicable, references and the letter calling you for the interview.
  5. Be punctual:  Try and be 10-15 minutes early.  This allows for any delay in traffic, finding the personnel department, and time to sit and gather your thoughts.  You don’t want to be rocking in with minutes to go!

During the interview:

You have done your preparation (read your notebook) but there are a few tips that you may need:

  • Sit with your legs together and your hands on your lap, you can move them animatedly if necessary.
  • Do not eat even if offered
  • Listen carefully to the questions
  • Tell the truth
  • Never complain (I hated my last job is NEVER a good interview answer).  Always be positive.
  • Try and expand your answers
  • Show that you are interested in the job
  • Remember the people interviewing you will have read a lot of other CV’s so it is up to you to get across at interview stage all that is on your CV.
  • Don’t answer a question that you don’t understand, it is okay to say you don’t understand a question.

Leaving the interview:

So your interview is done, until you exit the building and are…. ‘a bit down the road’ still act as if you are in the interview process!!

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  1. Smile at all the interviewers (yes there probably will be more than one!)
  2. Thank them for seeing you and shake hands if appropriate.
  3. Gather your bits and pieces tidily.

Remember it is a great achievement to have done an interview. Take time to congratulate yourself, treat yourself to a coffee or some music maybe.


Crosscare Youth Information Service