Preparing for your interview
No matter how experienced and skilled you are, you will need to prepare and plan for the interview.
Use the job description, person specification and competency requirements to think about the role you have applied for – what particular and unique skills can you offer.
Here is some advice on how to prepare for your interview.
Read the advert, job description and person specification again.
We will test how closely you match the criteria in the person specification so it is useful to think about the questions we might ask you.
Try to find out more about the job
See if there are any current or topical issues affecting the area of work that you are being interviewed for.
Think about the questions you might be asked
Imagine what questions you would you ask if you were conducting the interview, think of how you would answer those questions. Questions must be relevant to the job role so there shouldn’t be surprises.
Use your application form
Use the examples from your application form where you gained the experience or used a skill that you could share at the interview and expand on it if necessary.
Know your positive points
What skills, knowledge, experience or expertise do you have that will help you carry out the duties of the job?
What can you tell us about yourself that might make us choose you?
Ask questions to the interview panel
Think about any questions you have for the panel about the role. Write them down and bring them to the interview.
Practice, practice, practice
A top tip is to practice questions and your responses. Record yourself and watch or listen back to it and learn how you can improve. Ask a friend or family member to give you feedback on your interview technique. If you are familiar with your response then you will be more confident, less stressed and be able to provide a fuller answer to the question.
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the interview.
Make sure you know exactly when and where the interview will take place, how to get there and how long it will take (a map will be provided via attachment on your interview invitation email). You should aim to arrive at least five minutes early to allow you to relax and compose yourself.
Interviews may take place on Microsoft Teams. Please make sure to be ready to join the interview with plenty of time and that you can access Teams. Also, check to see if your camera and microphone are working.
At the interview
If we are running a bit late, don't worry - there will be a reason and we will not rush your interview as a result.
The interview panel will be made up of at least two people, and here's what you can expect:
Friendly and fair interviewers
The panel will try to put you at ease but will have to ask some searching questions, try to relax.
The same questions will be put to each candidate
Further questions may be asked, based on your answers to get you to expand on the information you have given. In addition, you may be asked specific questions which relate to areas which are unique to you, such as previous work history, or the information you gave on your application form.
All the interviewers will be taking notes throughout the interview
Don't be put off by this, it's done so that we can be fair to you and the other candidates. The notes will enable the interviewers to recall which interviewee said what and determine the best candidate for the job.
Sometimes a test will be set as part of the interview process to find out about your skills, knowledge, and experience in a particular area which will be measured more efficiently by the test than by asking questions at the interview. You will usually be notified in advance if a test is to be included.
Whatever form a test takes it will always be job related and will be just one of the many factors taken into consideration when making the final decision
Where a qualification has been stated as an essential criterion, you will be required to bring copies of your qualification with you.
How to perform at your best
Relax and pay attention
Look at the interview panel; concentrate on what is being said and don't allow your mind to wander.
Listen carefully to the questions
If you're not sure what was asked or don't understand you can ask the interviewer to repeat the question - don't try and guess what was said.
Use your application form
Have a copy of your application form with you; you can sit and read it while you are waiting for your interview in case your mind has gone blank.
You may know the panel
You may know the panel, they may know you. Don’t let this distract you, you still need to respond to questions as though you have never met them before and they know nothing about you.
If you don't know the answer to a question, say so.
Think about what to say
Try and think about what you want to show the panel. Try and demonstrate how you would work well in the role. Explain the skills and experience you can bring to the role and any new ideas you may have to improve the service provided.
Speak clearly and answer concisely
Do not 'waffle', but don't give short answers that won't fully answer the question.
The panel can only score you based on what you say in the interview. Give a full response to the questions, use the examples that you have thought about before the interview and in your application form.
Gather all the information you need to know to decide whether you will accept the job if it is offered to you.
Be ready to ask your prepared questions if they haven't already been answered
If you have written them down, ask to refer to them. Make sure that you understand the job fully and ask about anything you're not sure of.
After the interview
- reflect on the questions and your responses - how could you have improved them?
- did you answer the questions too quickly without thinking your answers through?
- could you have shared more examples of your experience or skills in response to the questions?
- did you know enough about the service to respond to the questions?
- were you extremely nervous in the interview situation and forgot everything you had practiced?
- ask for feedback from the panel
When will I find out if I'm successful?
The panel will let you know how and when you will be notified of the outcome.