The Traditional Interview

This is a common way of interviewing for jobs. You meet with an interviewer or an interview panel. You will be asked a series of questions to identify if you are the best candidate for the job.

Before the interview

  • Don’t just turn up and hope for the best – prepare
  • Ring or e-mail to let confirm that you will be attending – ask what type of interview you are going for
  • Research the organisation – use the Internet and check their website
  • Make sure you know where you are going and how long it will take. Remember that at rush hour the journey will take longer. Consider doing a trial run.  If travelling by car, find out where the car park is. Make sure you get there on time – never arrive late. Get to the interview around 15 minutes before it is due to start.
  • Check you know the name of the person to ask for when you arrive
  • Plan what you will wear. Dress smartly – look like you have made an effort. Make sure you have clean hair, nails and shoes. Make sure your outfit is clean and that it fits you. Keep any jewellery, perfume/aftershave and make-up moderate.
  • Read over your application and job description
  • Think of what questions you might be asked and prepare some answers
  • Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview – make a list of around four questions
  • Try and have a ‘mock interview’ with someone before the interview – for example, with Connexions Sandwell
  • Take the documents you need with you – CV, certificates and Record of Achievement
  • Take a pen – you may need to fill in forms on the day of the interview
  • Switch off your mobile before you enter the building

When you arrive

  • Your interview begins as soon as you arrive. Be polite and friendly towards everyone you meet, starting with reception. Any staff you meet may be asked their impressions of you.
  • Make sure the reception staff know that you are there as soon as you arrive

How to behave during the interview

  • Use a clear and confident voice
  • Wait until you are asked to sit down
  • Body language. As you enter the room smile and make eye contact. When you sit down, sit up straight with your hands in your lap. Look attentive and enthusiastic – slouching conveys boredom. Avoid folding your arms – this makes you look defensive. Try and maintain eye contact appropriately.  Try to remain still – fidgeting is a distraction.
  • Listen to the interviewer. Let the interviewer know that you are listening attentively by nodding, using facial expressions and leaning slightly towards the interviewer.
  • Never interrupt the interviewer
  • Listen to the questions and don’t be afraid to give yourself a little thinking time
  • Be honest. If you don’t understand a question – ask for it to be explained. This is far better than giving a wrong answer or sitting in stunned silence.
  • Try not to give just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers but avoid the temptation to talk too much. Try not to fill any awkward silences with nervous chatter. Some interviewers use silence to see how you’ll react. Pass the lead back to them by pleasantly saying: ‘Does that answer your question?’
  • Stick to providing the answer requested – don’t give the interviewer lots of information they don’t need

The end of the interview

When the interview is over, collect your things together, leave with a smile and say ‘Goodbye and thank you for seeing me’

  • Shake hands firmly if offered
  • Try not to exit the room at 100 mph
  • As you leave check if they would like the door left open or closed

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