Type of interviews

There are several different types of interview:

  • Telephone 
  • Video 
  • Face-to-face
  • Group 
  • Panel 
  • Assessment centres 

Before the interview

Generally, you should do the following when preparing for interview:

  • Fully understand the role that you’re applying for by revisiting the job description, identifying what skills, interests and experiences the employer is looking for.
  • Anticipate potential questions and prepare answers accordingly.
  • Consider how you’ll explain problematic aspects of your CV, such as leaving an employer.
  • Contact your references, alerting them that you’ll be interviewing and that they may receive a call.
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer.
  • Be informed and read the organization’s website, social media profiles and key literature.
  • Research the news, trends, competitors, history and opportunities of the organization and its job sector.

Choose your outfit the night before, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. Plan your journey, aiming to arrive ten minutes early. Completing a ‘dry run’, if possible, also combats nerves. On the day, eat a good, healthy breakfast and avoid too much caffeine.


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  • Focus. On the day of an interview, allow plenty of time to get there without rushing or being stressed by delays. Take everything you might needsuch as notebooks, pens and a copy of your CV. Remember to look your interviewer directly in the eye, focussing on what they are saying.
  • A smile can be a powerful tool at a first meeting. Even if you feel nervy, make sure you smile because it will make you come across as friendly and relaxed.
  • Ask something.Never say you have nothing to ask at the interview. It makes you seem disinterested so always have a few questions to ask your interviewer planned in advance.
  • Make notes.Even if you are taking everything in, making a note creates the impression that you are paying full attention. This is one of the best interview techniques for people who want to come across as conscientious.
  • End positively.When the interview is approaching an end try to conclude on a positive note. This could be as simple as saying something like, “I look forward to hearing from you.”

Tips for controlling your nerves

Nerves can make you forget to do things as simple as listening. This can result in you being thought of as unfriendly or inattentive. Some ideas for combating nerves include:

  • being aware of the interview’s structure, and the fact that they often begin with easier questions such as ‘tell us about your time at university';
  • exercising before your interview, as this burns off negative energy and creates feelings of wellbeing;
  • pausing before answering a difficult question to give yourself thinking time, or asking for clarification if, at first, you’re unsure what the question means;
  • putting everything into perspective, reminding yourself that the worst thing that can happen is you not getting the job;
  • taking a toilet break before the interview;
  • taking deep breaths and not speaking too quickly;
  • taking notes with you, writing down cues to highlight examples that you want to draw upon;
  • thinking about positive and happy experiences before the interview starts, and visualising yourself in complete control during the interview.

Practice job interviews

Your university careers and employability service is likely to provide practice job interview sessions. Alternatively, you could:

  • ask for advice and feedback after unsuccessful interviews;
  • practice and monitor your skills by treating interview-like scenarios such as discussions with your tutor as genuine interviews;
  • record yourself in a mock interview, playing it back to check how you did;
  • review the different types of possible questions, writing down your responses, taking notes and creating flash cards;
  • script and practice answers to anticipated questions with someone that you trust.

Explore more about planning your answers to common interview questions

Prepare for The “What’s Your Weakness?” Question

 Most people overthink this question and give a canned answer like “I’m too much of a perfectionist!” Others give a genuine answer but still fall short of what this question is really asking. It’s not about admitting your weaknesses. It’s about showing how you overcome them. What systems have you put in place? What progress have you made? Include those thoughts to strengthen your answer.


  • Weak:“My weakness is that I struggle to run efficient meetings…”
  • Strong:“I sometimes struggle to run efficient meetings. But I’ve worked to improve by drafting an agenda before every meeting, sending it to all participants, and then following up with a recap and clear action items so everyone knows what to do moving forward.”

 Brainstorm 3 “PAR” Anecdotes

Your interview is as memorable as the stories you share. Many people have fascinating experiences but forget them when they’re on the spot.  To remedy this, have three anecdotes ready to plug into your interview. Your anecdotes should follow a simple format:

  1. Problem – what was the situation?
  2. Action – what did you do to solve it?
  3. Result – what changed afterwards?

With this format, you can adapt your PAR anecdotes to fit a variety of questions such as “tell me about a time you worked with a team” or “when have you struggled most?”

Video interviews are increasingly common, especially if you’re applying for overseas jobs. Remember to dress as you would for a face-to-face interview, and check your background before the interview begins. Finally, ensure that your body language is positive; look directly into the camera and make eye contact, as this’ll make you appear calm and confident.

Second interviews

A second interview means that you’ve made it through the initial screening and the interviewer is now looking for evidence of: your value to the organization; your fit in the role, existing team and organization; what separates you from other candidates; and what you can do for them. Generally, you should:

  • ask the company for any feedback beforehand, reviewing your performance from the first interview by noting and addressing any questions or situations that caused you difficulty;
  • find out as much as possible about the organization’s challenges, priorities, markets and competitors, researching the company in even more detail than for the first interview;
  • find out what the agenda will be and whom you’ll interview with;
  • find ways to demonstrate enthusiasm for the organization’s goals;
  • give answers that are consistent with what the recruiter has previously heard;
  • prepare examples of how your achievements can apply to the organization;
  • talk with industry insiders and ensure that you’re up to date with recent developments by reviewing trade publications.

At the end ask Questions That Kill Two Birds With One Stone

At the end of your interview, it’ll be your turn to ask a few questions. This is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – that is, asking a genuine question while conveying something new about you. Most people just do the first part and forgo a final chance to impress the interviewer.


  • Weak: Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets?
  • Strong:I’m passionate about languages and minored in Arabic in college. Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets in the Middle East?