Lots of opportunities require an interview first – whether it’s a graduate job, further study or a work placement. And they can be nerve-wracking!
We’ve got loads of advice to help you be more prepared for interview.
Worried about video interviews?
Employers are increasingly using video interviews during both student and graduate recruitment. TargetJobs have created a guide to video interviews.
As a University of Leeds students you also have access to our Practice Interviewer where you can prepare, practise and improve your interview skills online! There are a range of practice interviews for you to try and you'll get coaching and feedback on how you did. You can access Practice Interviewer from the Resources tab in MyCareer.
How will I be interviewed?
One-to-one – an interview with just one person. If you find out their name, do some research into their role and their background. Make sure you prepare questions for the end!
Panel – just like the above, but with a panel of three or four interviewers. Again, research who they are, and make sure you give good eye contact with the person who asked the question.
Group – you and several candidates will be asked questions in turn, possibly with some group discussion. Prepare a personal intro, and try to build good rapport with the group throughout (even though they’re your competition!)
Sequential – you may be interviewed more than once, by different people, in the same day, often by progressively more senior staff. Be prepared for questions to become more in-depth and challenging through the day.
Video/Skype/Telephone - phone interviews often take place in the early stage of the selection process, but video interviews are more common throughout recruitment during current times.
What are they looking for?
Competency-based: you will be asked to give evidence of the skills and competencies that are key to the job - these can usually be found in the person specification. Expect questions to be worded along the lines of 'Can you tell me about a time you worked effectively in a team?' Be prepared to support your answer using evidence from your experience. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique as detailed on our applications page! For more information read this article on competency-based questions.
Technical: if you are applying for jobs requiring specific technical knowledge it is likely you will be asked about it, or even have a separate technical interview. Employers will be interested in your thought processes and logic as well as your specific skills and knowledge. For more information read this article on technical questions.
Strengths-based: this differs from competency-based as instead of focusing on what you can do, it looks at what you enjoy doing, seeking out your natural strengths and ensuring you will be able to utilise them within the role. For more information read this article on strength-based questions.
How to prepare for an interview
Arrive in good time
Try and arrive ten minutes early. This will allow you chance to relax and gather your thoughts before the interview. Remember that your interview begins the moment you walk through the door so anyone you encounter could influence the decision about your employment.
Look the part
It is important to dress suitably but comfortably - if in doubt, go smartly dressed. Be aware of your body language and sit upright, be positive and enthusiastic and maintain good eye contact.
Think before you answer questions
Take your time, you’re allowed a moment to think before you answer. This actually looks good – it shows the employer you’re considerate about your response. Things you should consider:
The reason for the question, why have they asked this and what are they looking for? Listen to the question carefully and ensure the answer you give best evidences the attribute they are testing.
Don't be afraid to ask an interviewer to repeat a question, or for more clarification if the question is not clear. This will enable you to give the most relevant answer.
Prepare your own questions – for them!
Interviewers usually finish by asking if you have any questions for them so prepare some of these beforehand. Be positive; show knowledge of the company/opportunity and end in an upbeat fashion.
Help preparing for interviews
We offer lots of support to help you prepare for your interview including:
Giving general interview advice through our bookable appointments.
Offering mock interviews to give you chance to practise and get valuable feedback from our expert staff.
A range of workshops on interview technique from both graduate recruiters and Careers Centre staff.