Interview skills tips and excercises for you to try

Good preparation is the key to being successful
“Fail to plan, plan to fail at your interview”.

The interview is like a performance, an unwritten play where you are the main character. How you act or hold yourself when asked questions in the interview are paramount to your success. You would not expect a professional musician to come on stage and not know what to do, or which song to play first. So neither should you!
Preparation is the key to a good successful interview.
In the next space, list the things you think you should know upfront before you sit down in the chair and begin your interview.

A                                                                                            I
B                                                                                            J
C                                                                                            K
D                                                                                            L
E                                                                                             M
F                                                                                             N
G                                                                                             O
H                                                                                             P

You should have things like the following in your list, if you haven’t add them now

 How to get to the interview – check bus or train times, parking and directions
 The date and time of the interview
 What form the interview will take and who will be doing the interview – contact the employer and ask them
 What questions they might ask you – and what replies you could give in response
 What questions you could ask them
 What to wear
 More about the employer
 More about the job and what it entails
 How your skills match the position.
Being prepared will allow you to relax and be yourself at the interview.

Fill in the gaps

C _ N _ I D _ N _ E                                              E O C F
C _ N _ _ O L                                                      R O T
C _ L _ N E S S                                                    A M

Being well prepared will give you confidence, control and keep you calm so that you make a good impression
As soon as you find out you have an interview you should try to learn as much as you can about the company or organization
Tick the boxes you know about

The internet, the Co.’s or Org’s web site, Google them
Newspapers – local or national
Magazines – trades mag’s may be of use
Employers publicity brochures
People you know who work there

Other things useful to know are;
 What they do or make
 Who their customers or clients are.
 What kind of organization they are – for example, commercial, public sector or voluntary

Stoney’s tip
Knowing these facts will allow you to develop some good questions of your own and also answer the questions they may ask of you, showing you have done your homework and are interested

You will already have some of the information about the job role from the advert or the application form. This should tell you what the job entails
Find out more by:
Looking at the web site
Phoning or e-mailing the organization to ask for some details or an information pack on what they actually do
Ask someone who already works there, ask your social networks

Stoney’s tips
Find out as much as you can about the job in advance. Contacting the employer to ask for additional information will show that you really want the job

It is useful to know in advance who is holding the interview and what their position in the company is, Google them. This might give you an insight into the type of questions they could possibly ask you. Knowing how long the interview will take will be a good clue as to the type of interview it will be, and how detailed the answers will need to be to the questions asked
The next pages are commonly asked questions; space has been left for you to make notes of your possible answers.

Can you give me an example of how you can work under pressure?


Can you tell me a little about yourself?

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

What would you say is your proudest achievement?

Why do you want to work for this company?


How do you get on with other people?

What makes a good team player?


Can you give me an example of how you have contributed to a team?


Can you give me an example of how you can meet dead lines


Which part of your studies did you enjoy most?

What have you learned from your work experience?

Can you tell me a little more about your hobbies and interests?

Which parts of the job will you find difficult and how will you deal with this?

Which parts of the job do you think you would be particularly good at?

Why do you think you are the right person for this job?

Is there anything you’d like to ask us?

You have two minutes to tell us why we should employ you?

Stoney’s tip
Practice your answers, discuss them with a colleague or someone you know playing the part of the interviewer. Make any changes as needed

You should now have a good idea of the possible questions you could be asked, but remember that there may be additional questions relating to the job or company you are being interviewed for. You have to be able to think on your feet, not all questions can be prepared for in advance.
Think of your two questions you are going to ask the employer during an interview. Write each question in a separate box







You could have chosen;

Will I have a chance to undertake any further training and development
How do you carry out staff appraisal
How soon will I hear about the result of this interview

You may have thought of different questions but make sure that they are relevant to the job, and avoid issues such as “How much holiday pay will I get” or “When will I receive my first pay rise”

Getting there on time
The worst thing of all you can do is be late for an interview. To avoid this you need to plan your journey in advance. Use the following check list to plan your journey

Where the interview is being held
The time of the interview
Decide on the best route
Find out the details of trains, buses, parking areas
Check how long the journey will take
Allow for possible delays

You should now have a good idea of what you need to plan your journey and get to the interview in good time. You can use the information that you have collected to help you when the time comes
Interviewers have certain expectations of the people that they interview. It is important that you meet these expectations if you are to be successful.
Punctuality is something that all employers expect as a given – after all they are paying for their time. If you cannot manage to get to the interview on time it will make a very negative impression of you as a person and you will not get the job!
If you are not ready and waiting when your name is called you will not get the job.
If you prepare correctly you won’t ever be late.

Dress sense
How you look is the most important thing forming the first impression you make on the people interviewing you.

Interviewers’ expectations about dress are as follows:

You must be smart – that means clean, neat and ironed clothes
You should wear a shirt, not a t-shirt, and this should be tucked in your trousers
Hair must be clean, brushed and tidy
If you have a suit you should wear it as long as it looks smart – no hoodies, jeans or hats
Clothes should not be revealing
Men’s shoes should be polished – you should not wear trainers
Women’s shoes should not be open toed or too high
You should not wear too much jewelry or make up
This may not be how you would choose to dress normally in your leisure time but if you really want the job you must meet these expectations

Stoney’s tips
Decide what to wear and get your clothes ready the day before. Aim to be neat and tidy – if you look good, you will feel good and this alone will give you confidence

Your nonverbal behavior says a lot about your attitude and the way you project yourself to others. Interviewers will expect certain standards of behavior if you are going to be a success. Try the following activity

Case study:
Jo was a few minutes late for the interview so he opened the door and went straight into the interview room and sat down. He tipped back the chair with the two front legs off the ground and glanced out of the window as the interviewer asked him questions. His T shirt was a bit uncomfortable so he pulled it out. Quite soon he was uncomfortable again and his feet made a drumming sound on the ground as he jiggled them on the office floor. At the end of the interview they asked him if he had any questions, but he was so desperate to get out he just said “No” got up and left.
Do you think he got the job? Explain why in the next space below


Top tips for non-verbal behavior at interview
Shake hands firmly with your interviewers
Sit down only when invited to do so
Smile, in moderation, during the interview
Make eye contact with the people who are talking to you rather than looking away or down
Try not to fidget
Try to look confident and enthusiastic

Remember you are being assessed from the moment you walk through the door!!

Interviewers’ expectations about your language use are
No swearing no matter how mild!
Do not use slang – the interviewers will not understand what you mean
Speak clearly in everyday English
Keep your language simple
Use language that is not offensive and that can be easily understood

Gathering useful information
You are now in a position to make a pack or folder of useful information that will be useful to use to prepare for an interview

Ensure you have the following
A copy of your CV, application form or covering letter so you know what you have said
Notes about the questions you might be asked
Anything the employer has asked you to bring to the interview such as certificates, references, achievements or driving license
Travel information to ensure you get there in good time

Making that first impression
Why does having the appropriate dress sense and being punctual make a good first impression?

If you dress in appropriate, clean, smart clothes it tells the employer that you care about your appearance – and therefore will care about the job. Being punctual tells the employer that you can meet deadlines, which is an important ability for any job.
How will you make the right impression? Describe what you will wear and how you will demonstrate punctuality in the space below
Top tip,
Always try to arrive a little earlier to allow you time to calm down a bit. If you are unavoidably delayed, contact the employer as soon as you can, apologize, explain and arrange another appointment if necessary.

Successful interviews require you to use your speaking and listening skills, and to be polite and respectful.

Your interviewer needs to be able to understand what you are saying and you need to listen carefully to what is being asked, so that you can give an appropriate answer.
The following is an exercise put the following in the correct spaces

 Mumble
 Talk to the ground
 Talk at normal speed
 Talk quickly to get the interview over with
 Concentrate on what the person is asking you
 Speak clearly
 Shout or use an aggressive tone of voice
 Direct your response t the person asking the question
 Keep your answer relevant to the job or question asked

You should/You should not

If you do not understand the question you should?

A Just say anything

B Ask to hear the question again

Most of the questions you will be asked will have a “yes or No “answer?

A True

B False

If you are asked “tell me a little about yourself” you should?

A Prepare an answer beforehand that shows your positive achievement’s and lasts about 2 mins
B Take 15mins to tell them everything that you have done in your life

When you think you have answered the question you should?

A stop talking

B just keep talking until you are told to stop

If you are asked something that shows you in a bad light you should ?

A Make up a lie – they’ll never find out

B tell the truth, having prepared your response beforehand

Top tips for being Polite and respectful
Shake hands when introduced
Make eye contact with the people who are speaking to you
Use an appropriate tone of voice when speaking – not to quiet or aggressive
Address other politely as Mr/Mrs/Miss and their surname – not “mate”, ‘pal’ ‘love’
Use polite language – don’t swear or be abusive to others
Look interested and listen carefully to what others say
Sit down when you are invited to do so and not before
Wait until others stop speaking before you answer – don’t interrupt

In the space below make notes on how you will demonstrate speaking and listening skills and be polite and respectful in your interview



How to keep improving by reviewing your performance at interview
It is important to reflect on your performance after an interview if you are unsuccessful – nevertheless, your application and covering letter must have been good to get you an interview in the first place

It is useful to think about what you did well so that you can repeat these points if you apply for a different job
The best source of feedback is the employer or the person who interviewed you
Telephone or write to the employer and ask them for feedback about what you did well and what you can do to improve your performance.
Other than the employer you are the best source of information about your own performance
Use the following questions to help you to review your performance
Did you prepare yourself enough
Did you find out enough about the organization and the job before the interview
Did you practice your answers before the interview
Which parts of the interview did you find difficult
Which parts did you find easy
Use the following list to identify your strengths s and weaknesses

My strengths are I need to improve I can do this by



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