Interview Top Tips

Interview Top Tips

Do your homework! You will impress at any interview if you have knowledge of the company, as this shows you have done some research prior to the interview.


How can I do this?

  • Ask the company, if they do not have a job specification request some of their literature.
  • Use the internet, most companies large and small have a website, have a look to keep up to date with new developments, plans they may have.
  • Read the job advert/description before the interview alongside your application form; remember what you have told the employer about yourself and what is on your application form.
  • Try to anticipate questions; is the interviewer likely to ask about your IT skills, customer service skills etc? Think about possible answers.
  • Prepare questions. You may want to ask practical questions, such as who would be your supervisor, what training you would get etc.
  • Consider practicalities. Work out academic and other commitments and how you will manage your time.
  • Dress to impress! First impressions count, you will never get another chance to make a good first impression! Basically, make sure that you are dressed smartly and appropriately.


Before the Interview

  • Make sure you know what to expect – will the interview be formal/informal, how long will it last and what will you be expected to do etc.
  • Have clear instructions on how to find the business, leave yourself plenty of time for travelling.
  • If you are unable to attend an interview make sure you call to let the employer know.


Arriving at the interview

  • Presume that you are being assessed from the moment you arrive, be polite, relax, smile and listen to questions – it is very easy to misinterpret these when under stress. Ask for clarification if you are not sure what is being asked.
  • Interviews can take many different formats but for the majority of part-time positions will be on a one to one basis with the roles immediate supervisor.

At the Interview

  • Answer the question being asked, not the one you want to answer. Consider what the employer is trying to find out and present positive aspects of your experiences.
  • Answer fully but avoid waffle – keep to the point.
  • Be aware of body language – maintain eye contact and avoid distracting mannerisms.
  • Display enthusiasm. If you are not keen at this stage the employer will have concerns regarding your dedication to the job and company.


So you got an interview, what now? Potential Interview Questions

Why have you applied for this job and why should we employ you?

The interviewer wants to know that you are enthusiastic about the job and that you have a good idea about what the job entails. This is your opportunity to demonstrate (in brief) that you have the experience/aptitude to meet the job specification. Have a think about what they are looking for (job and person specification) and if you can refer to any previous work experience or volunteering experience.

What are your weaknesses?

Focus on one! And how you have been working to overcome it! The interviewer wants to know if you have self-awareness and honesty. They can also use the information to assess your training needs, something that you can refer back to later in the interview. Never try to make out that you have no weaknesses, everyone has some, and you need to show that you have recognised areas for improvement.

What are your strengths?

Think about what your new employer would find most interesting about you – and most important to the job you are applying for. There’s no absolute right answer. Basically, they just want to see if you know yourself and how well you express yourself.

How flexible can you be?

Do not make yourself too available, if you have any other commitments say so now, it will be more difficult to restrict your availability later. You will need to balance work with your studies.

Have you had to deal with a difficult situation?

Well of course you have, but what the interviewer wants to know is your ability to work under pressure, how you cope, do you think logically and act rationally. Delegation and negotiation skills come in here. They want to know if it is safe to leave you on your own without their business falling apart! If you are looking for a catering job can you cope with a visit from the health inspector? If you are applying for bar work, can you pull out all the stops for an unexpectedly large coach party?


What do you understand customer care to mean?

This is the bit where you can demonstrate your skills in dealing with customer complaints/returns/being polite to customers and dealing with difficult people.

What do you hope to gain from working here?

Try to think about career paths and achieving goals you may only want the job for the money but try to be enthusiastic about the plus points of the job/company.
Questions for you to ask
Who will my supervisor be/am I responsible to? What training will I get? What is the rate of pay? (Check rates compared to National Minimum Wage) Will I be working unsociable hours?


If you are asked for references and have not any previous work experience, ask whom they would accept a reference from.
This is not an exhaustive list of potential questions, and the answers are intended as a guide only, have a look at the useful websites on the page of the website to more info about interviews.



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