How to Prepare for Job Interviews

     
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This video covers how you can prepare for external and internal interviews, how to research the organisation and what practical things you can check before the day.

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About this video

If you’re a jobseeker, you’ve probably spent a lot of time actually applying for jobs and finding jobs that you want to apply for, and maybe you get the really good news that you’ve got an interview, how can you do your best at interview? How can you start preparing for that interview?  Sean Russell who is an ex-Director of the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham Careers Services shares some key tips.

Transcript

Alison: Hello I’m Alison Osborne from jobs.ac.uk and welcome to our video series on ‘How to Succeed at Job Interviews’.

I am here with Sean Russell who is an ex-Director of the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham Careers Services. Sean has over 10 years’ experience interviewing people and is now a career coach, trainer and consultant.

Alison: Sean, thank you so much for joining me.

Sean: Pleasure.

Alison: So if you’re a jobseeker, you’ve probably spent a lot of time actually applying for jobs and finding jobs that you want to apply for, and maybe you get the really good news that you’ve got an interview, how can you do your best at interview? How can you start preparing for that interview?

Sean: Well I think a couple of things to think about to start off with is to assume that you are going to do well, and think about what you are going to do well rather than think about whether you’re going to be nervous or not. If you prepare you’re going to be confident, and that’s absolutely key, and then - perhaps something which we will pick up later - is thinking about the research you need to do, and that’s researching the organisation which you’ve probably done already when you ve written your application, and also being clear about what you have written, what you’ve sent into the panel so far, because that is what they’re going to base a lot of their interview upon.

Alison: So what about if I’m an internal candidate?

Sean: The important thing to do as an internal candidate is prepare exactly as though you were an external candidate, particularly when you’re going into an interview panel, where you may well be interviewed by people who you think know your work, they could be your line managers, the temptation sometimes is to assume knowledge, and what you have to do is to prove yourself as much as if you were an external candidate, that’s really important.

Alison: How would I go about researching an employer then?

Sean: Well hopefully as an applicant you will have done that before even filling in your application form and writing a personal statement, but further research is always useful, and one thing that I think is very important - and a lot of people don’t do - is once you’ve been notified you’re going to have an interview, contact them, quite often at the application stage applicants are invited to contact the organisation to have an informal discussion, and if you haven’t done that this is a good time to do it, you’ve got nothing to lose, and you may well find out a little bit more about the post than has been in the application, the details, and also particularly to check the details and the practicalities of what is going to happen during that interview, whether there’s an assessment centre, or whether there’s presentations, now all of these should be made fairly public, but it’s really important to check these out in detail.

Alison: Are there any practicalities that you should check out before the day of the interview?

Sean: I’m at risk of possibly being a bit patronising here but I’m going to say it anyway, do check the route to where you’re going to have the interview and it’s also important to check that out in terms of your commute, your travelling, I’ve certainly come across people who have accepted jobs and then actually decided they don’t want to job because the commute is too long, it doesn’t fit in with their domestic arrangements, and you would have thought this was really obvious and people would check this out beforehand but sometimes they don’t. making sure that you get there in time, things like parking, don’t leave anything to chance, really, really basic stuff that is important, and I think the other thing that’s worth mentioning at this stage, there might even be slight reservations about the post in your head, and my advice is at this stage put them all to one side, and go absolutely for the job, so you’re 100% clear and confident that A. that you want it and B. that you’re going to get it, because later on you can start deciding whether you want the job once they offer it to you.

Alison: Well thank you very much for your time Sean.

Sean: Not at all - absolute pleasure, thanks very much indeed.

Alison: You can see more videos, careers advice, blogs, case studies and much more on our website www.jobs.ac.uk

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