Interview tips

As the phrase goes, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. The below resources will make sure you aren’t kicking yourself at the end of the interview due to lack of preparation.

Preparing for interview questions

It is important that you plan how you structure your answers. The employment team have sat on countless interview panels and seen lots of candidates who have not structured their answers and this always leads to a poor interview. The STAR interview method in the link below is tried and tested and shown to work.

STAR Interview response technique.

Planning for the tell me about yourself question

Use the simple formula: present, past future.

  • Present – Talk about what you are currently doing, the scope of your role and some recent accomplishments
  • Past – Say how you have got where you are and make reference to any previous roles which may be relevant to the role and company you are interviewing for
  • Future – Say where you want to go and why you want this particular role and of course… why you’re the perfect fit for it!

 

  • Be passionate – Let the interviewer know why this role is one for you. If it’s for a charity – what is it about their mission that makes you want to work for them? if it’s a company what is it about their values that ring true with you?
  • Be succinct – The interviewer doesn’t want to hear your full life history, stick to the information which is relevant to the role. Also bear in mind, answering an open ended question like this will give the interviewer insight to how you will perform in meetings. You don’t want to come across as a person who will ramble.
  • Practice but don’t script – You can practice answering this question out loud, record your answer and play it back to yourself. After an hour or so, see how it sounds when you play it back. If you can, practice saying it to somebody else. The TPT employment team are available to help with interview prep and you can practice your responses with one of our team.
  • Be positive – This is your first impression so it’s important to make sure you don’t come across as negative. If you had issues in your previous role and lost your job, this isn’t the time to discuss it. Avoid talking negatively about your current/previous employer.

Overcoming interview nerves

Nerves are normal but can get the better of you.  Below are some useful tips for overcoming those interview nerves:

  • Go for a walk – Clearing your head before an interview is important and fresh air can help to do this. If you have a telephone interview go for a walk around your local area beforehand. If it’s in person take five minutes outside the building before you go in, maybe walk around the block if you are confident enough to do so.
  • Eat a good meal – Make sure you have a good breakfast or lunch before your interview. The last thing you need is your stomach rumbling as you try to answer questions in front of people you are meeting for the first time. It can be something healthy or indulgent – just make sure you get that fuel  to power through your interview.
  • Listen to music – Turn on your favourite tunes on your headphones before the interview. This can get you energised and any negative thoughts will quickly disappear.
  • Call an “uplifting” friend. At TPT we like to call these people “lighters” the person you can call and tell you how great you are and how lucky a company will be to have you. Somebody who can “light you up” and give you the pep talk you might struggle to give yourself.
  • Interviewers get nervous too. This is always something to remind yourself as you walk into your interview. If you are nervous about making a good impression and answering the questions  – so are the interview panel. You will have questions of your own which you want answering and they’re going to want to make a good impression on you too.

 

Preparation tasks

Below are two tasks key to nail your interview prep.

  • Prepare your examples: using the star method go through the person specification and think of examples to demonstrate each competency that they are looking for. Write down your answers and get confident with them.
  • Interview yourself: write some practice interview questions and record yourself answering them. Play them back and think about what was good about them and what you could improve.

Consider the following

  • Tone of voice – Do you sound positive, engaged, enthusiastic about what you are talking about?
    Structure – Do you have a good structure? Are you answering the question? Are you going off on a tangent? Is your example relevant?
  • Confidence – Do you sound confident talking about your previous work, does it reflect your skills and experience.
  • Using “I” – Are you talking in the first person? Do you say what you did on a project? A recruiter isn’t interested in what your team did so make sure you concentrate on the “I” not the “we”.

 

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Contact us

Please get in touch if you would like to arrange a remote or in-person mock interview.
Contact the Employment Team at: employment@pockilngton-trust.org.uk

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