A few weeks ago, I blogged about part time work and internship applications. It was at a time when I was applying for internships, and since then I have had quite a few interviews. I did a lot of research during my preparation, so wanted to share my findings and experiences with you all to hopefully help you out!
The preparation for an interview is so important in order to come across well and also feel confident. It is useful to thoroughly research the company and the role you are applying for as it’s likely you will get a question about why you want to work at that particular company. I found looking at the website and seeing the sort of language used to describe what the company does really helpful in preparing my answers to such questions.
I also found it helpful to make a list of all the things you would want to talk about in the interview; for example, your course, part-time work, society and sport involvement, volunteering etc. Once you have this list, you can then go through the job application and isolate the key skills they are looking for in a successful candidate. By looking at both lists and matching up the skill and your experience, you make sure you tick all their boxes and tell the interviewers all the brilliant things you have accomplished! Then, using the STAR method (Situation/Task, Action, Result), it may be useful to prepare some standard responses to competency questions. There are lots of examples online to have a think about, and I personally found the careers drop-in desk in the Oculus particularly helpful to practice my responses to such questions.
There may be strength questions in your interview too. Like with the competency questions, you could think about what strengths are needed for your job/internship and work out how to explain how you demonstrate them.
Along with strength and competency questions, you may also get asked some questions about specific knowledge. For example, have a think about any technical knowledge that may be needed, or perhaps relevant business skills. Having proof of extra reading or keeping up to date with the relevant field will show you are keen and prepared!
Before my interviews, I always checked what to expect and whether I needed to prepare anything in advance. On some occasions, you may have to prepare a short presentation or a response to a longer question. There may also be group exercise as well as an interview, so it may be worth emailing the recruiters so you know what to expect.
My final piece of preparation advice would be to work out exactly how you are going to get to the interview (including buses/train times and map directions). Also, get your clothes out and bag packed the night before so you just need to get up and go in the morning!
I get really anxious at the thought of being late. This normally means I get to places super early and have to take a little walk around before going in to avoid being too early! However, for interviews this can be a good thing. It gives you time to use the toilet, generally compose yourself and also gives you a bit of wriggle room if there are any unexpected delays in your journey.
Once you are there, be friendly and polite to everyone, from receptionists to other interviewees. This will give a good first impression. Don’t be afraid to go for a handshake when you are introduced to your interviewers; this is something I struggle with, but it does make me feel more confident and professional when I do it! Appearing confident, even if you don’t feel it, will also give a good first impression, but don’t be afraid of being nervous! It shows that you care about getting the role and the adrenaline will help you cope under pressure.
During the interview, smile and be positive, knowing that you have prepared well, are suited for the role and just show them how amazing you are! If you don’t get the role, it’s not the end of the world. Interviews are great learning experiences, and if you want, you could ask for some feedback to see how you could improve in the future.
Good luck if you have any interviews coming up!