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Organisational and Professional Development

Preparing for interview

Preparing for Interview

  • If you’re invited to interview, you’ll probably be asked to either book an interview time using an electronic system, or reply to an email offering dates and times. Respond promptly and politely!
  • Depending on the role, you may be asked to prepare something in advance: for example, a presentation or ‘micro-teach’ which you will deliver on the day. You will have a time limit, so rehearsing ahead of the day is a good idea!  Make sure any slides or written materials are clear, accurate, and easy to read.
  • If you need any reasonable adjustments due to disability (for example, more time to complete an assessment), you should mention them now if you haven’t yet been able to.
  • You may be asked to do some kind of psychometric questionnaire. This might be a test of your verbal and numerical reasoning, or an assessment of your behaviours and personal preferences at work. 
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete any assessment you have to do, and respond to questions as fully and honestly as you can.  You should be ‘debriefed’ and learn about your results on (or around) the day of the interview.
  • Read about the organisation (and the department/faculty/school, if you can get that information). What is their overall strategy?  What are their organisational values?  What are their recent achievements?  What are their priorities?
  • Look again at the Person Specification. Most interview questions will be ‘competency-based’, focused around these criteria.  Can you give examples from experience of the skills and abilities they ask for?
  • Take up any opportunity for informal discussions so you can find out more about the role. This will help you perform better in the interview, and will provide more information on whether the role is for you.
  • Internal applications: If you are an internal candidate, you can ask if you can speak to members of the team, or ask people you know about the work of the team.
  • Internal applications: Prepare for an internal interview as you would an external interview. Don’t assume you’re automatically more likely to succeed than an external candidate.

Before the day:

  • Decide what to wear.  This will depend will depend on the role and workplace, but clothes should be clean, neat and comfortable. There is a lot of advice online, for example these articles on Indeed or Reed.
  • If your interview will be remote (via Zoom or Teams), test your camera and microphone in advance. Make sure you’ll be somewhere quiet, with good lighting and no interruptions.  Check that the angle is good and that the camera isn’t too close to you: the panel should be able to see your head and shoulders.
  • If you need to travel, check traffic or public transport ahead of time and make adjustments as needed. Understand where you’re going – Google Street View can be useful for this!  Aim to arrive at the venue 5-10 minutes before the time of your interview. 
  • Make sure you know where to report to (a reception area, for example) when you arrive, and the name of the person who needs to know that you’re there.
  • Assume that anything that happens at the venue can (consciously or unconsciously) influence the panel’s decision.  Be polite to everyone, even if they’re not directly involved in your recruitment!
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