Planning The Interview: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Getting invited to an interview means you’ve passed the first hurdle – your application must have made a good impression. Now you need to prepare yourself for the interview to make sure you don’t waste the opportunity.

Planning the interview

Find out about the employer and the job – you could ask the employer if they have an information pack or use the library to find business information in directories such as the ‘UK Kompass Register’.

Think about answering the sorts of questions that will come up at the interview:

1. why do you want to work here?

2. why did you leave your last job?

3. have you done this kind of work before?

4. what did you do in your last job?

5. what kind of equipment can you operate?

6. why have you had a) so many jobs? b) only one job?

7. why should I take you on?

8. how do you get on with people?

9. what makes a good team member?

10. how do you cope with pressure?

11. what are your strengths and weaknesses?

12. what would you like to be doing in five years time?

13. what wage do you expect to earn?

14. when would you be available to start?

15. do you have any questions?

It’s also important you plan your journey and think about the right clothes to wear to the interview.

The interview

First, accept that the symptoms of nerves – a fast heartbeat, clammy hands and butterflies in the stomach – are natural. These are your body’s way of meeting a challenge. Nervous tension may make your voice sound shaky. Practice deep slow breathing before you get to the interview. This will slow down your heart rate and help you avoid taking quick, shallow breaths.

You make an impression in the first few minutes, so it’s important to make first impressions work for you. Here are some tips:

  • enter the room confidently, shake hands firmly and introduce yourself
  • be polite and friendly
  • look interested – ask questions as well as answering
  • answer questions as fully as you can – avoid ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers
  • provide examples to prove your achievements
  • tell the truth
  • ask if you don’t understand a question
  • speak clearly
  • sell yourself – get your good points across/be positive


Preparation is a key part of any interview process and yet many fail to commit enough time. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good impression! Preparation will help you better manage any nerves once the interview is underway.


What format is the interview?

Don’t be afraid to ask:

• how long will the interview last;
• are there any group exercises;
• do I need to prepare anything;
• are there any other tests or selection methods being used?

Finding out as much as possible not only helps with your preparation but also puts your mind at ease.

Where is the interview?

Make sure you:

• know how to get to the venue and how long the journey takes;
• have maps, train times, etc, in advance;
• check for any planned disruptions to road or rail services;
• leave plenty of time so you are not rushing;

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