City : Interview Practice : Top tips for successful interviews
When you get invited to interview
Make sure you send a reply saying that you accept the interview invitation. In your reply confirm the date, time and location of the interview to make sure there are no mistakes.
Clarify exactly when and where the interview will take place. If you can find out who will be interviewing you, this can help you massively when you prepare.
When you are preparing for interview
Research everything you can - about the job, the company and the kind of person that they hire.
While doing this, the best way to prepare is to think about the kind of questions that you might get asked and how you would answer them.
If you know someone who has done that job before or who has applied for that job then ask them all about it as they may have some great suggestions. On that note, don't forget to use online forums to see if anyone has some useful advice.
Find someone to practice with. The more you practice, the better will be at interviews, so ask friends or family to give you a mock interview. Try and get them to be as mean as possible so you will be prepared for anything!
The Night Before
Plan what you are going to wear; make sure that your outfit is smart and appropriate for the job that you are going for. A suit is usually the best option. You should also make sure that the suit is clean and ironed, and that it fits you well. Here are some places where you can get a suit in Wokingham:
- Marks and Spencer: 28-30 Peach Street, Wokingham, RG40 1XG
- House of Fraser: The Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2AG
- John Lewis: The Oracle Shopping Centre, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2AG
- Matalan: Rose Kiln Lane, Reading, West Berkshire, RG2 0SN
- Tesco Extra Superstore: 78 Finchampstead Road, Wokingham, RG40 2NS
- Asda Lower Earley Supercentre: Chalfont Way, Lower Earley, Reading, RG6 5TT
Make sure you have packed up everything that you need, your preparation notes and a copy of your CV and application (also bring spares for your interviewer in case they ask for it).
They sometimes ask you to bring your certificates along with you, so don't forget those as they may want to take photocopies.
You should also bring your passport in case they want a photocopy of that as well.
Plan your route to the interview and make sure that you have the money that you might need to get there, such as parking change or a bus fare.
Set an alarm to make sure that you wake up in time.
Make sure you have the contact details of someone at the business you are going to so you can call them if you are running late.
Outside the Interview Room
If you have planned well you should arrive at least 15 minutes early. You can use this time to re-read your applications and notes.
Remember to be polite to everyone you meet, not just your interviewer.
Don't try to prepare anything new at this stage, just think through what you've already prepared and take deep breaths.
Before you go in, remember to switch off your mobile phone.
During the Interview
Smile and shake the hand of your interviewer(s).
Stay calm throughout and have confidence in yourself.
Answer questions honestly (if you try and lie you will get caught out).
Stay positive when you answer questions; try not to say anything negative.
Don't criticise your previous employer or co-workers.
Remember to have some questions ready to ask them.
As you leave thank the interviewer(s) for taking the time to interview you.
After the Interview
As soon as possible after you leave the interview write down how you felt the interview went, what questions you were asked and what your answers were. This will be incredibly helpful in your future interviews.
If the response is a 'yes' then congratulations, well done and good luck for your future.
If the response is a 'no' then don't get too disheartened, this happens to everyone! You should definitely ask for feedback, it can be really helpful! Listen carefully to everything that they say about your performance and try to work on their suggestions and comments.
Useful Links and Websites
Interview advice from the National Careers Service.
Top 10 Interview questions from a National Careers Service
There is some excellent advice on interviews on the Adviza website.
Monster have some great advice on how to prepare in the days leading up to your interview.
Reed also has advice on topics from preparing for an interview to common questions.