Skills Academy 2015:
Interview Techniques Workshop
Career Development Centre
1. To outline principles and tips for successful
2. To explore employers’ expectations
3. To share previous interview experiences and
4. To assess your own levels of confidence
5. To practice creating and delivering answers to
common interview questions
1. What you need to do before an interview
2. What is a job interview?
3. What are employers looking for?
4. Interview behaviour
5. Interview questions
6. Interview tips
Three things you need to do before
1. RESEARCH yourself
2. RESEARCH the job
3. RESEARCH the organisation
4. RESEARCH the sector
Knowledge about yourself
– Re-read your application
– Strengths and weaknesses
– Why you want the job?
Knowledge about the job itself
– What skills do you need?
– How can you demonstrate these skills with examples from
University, work, outside interests?
Knowledge about the organisation & sector
– Why do you want to work for that organisation?
– What’s happening in the sector right now?
– What will the interview format be?
– How will you get there?
– Rehearse your answers
(We can help you with this!)
– Questions for the interviewer – shows interest
and enthusiasm for the role + tells you more
about the job – take a notepad with you – jot
down questions as they occur to you
Employers: Three Questions
– Can you do the job?
Do you have the knowledge and skills?
– Do you want to do the job?
Do you have the motivation?
– Will you fit in?
Do you have relevant values and personal
The Interview- First Impressions
– Appropriate business dress clean shoes!
What to take
– Certificates if needed, copies of CV/application
Arrive on time
– Plan the route
– Leave extra journey time for problems
Meeting the interviewers
– Relax, but remember you are being observed
– Handshake, eye contact
– Remain calm
– Remember your body language
– Tone of voice
– Be yourself
– First impressions count
– Communication styles
Designed to test your motivation for the job
and the organisation
– Why do you want to work here?
– How much do you know about our organisation?
– Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?
– These relate to your ability to use the technology you
have learnt from your course/work experience
– “What systems and software are you competent in?”
– “What do you know about working in a photographic
– “What experience do you have of using the following… ?”
– Questions based on the general
competencies all employers expect from
graduates (team skills, communication,
problem solving etc..)
– eg “Can you tell us about a time when
you...worked in a team/dealt with a difficult
customer/met a deadline?”
– Remember that the key is providing evidence
based responses based on the STAR formula
(Situation, Task, Action, Result)
Skills Based Examples
Try using the STAR model:
– S – situation
briefly outline where you were, what was your job?
- T – task
explain the task you encountered, what had to be done?
– A – action
what specific actions did you take to overcome the
– R – results
what were the results and what did you learn?
Example of a STAR response
Describe a time when you have used an innovative approach
to solving a problem:
When I was assistant manager of an IT training workshop at a
college in Brighton, we had a student who couldn’t raise her
hand to ask questions due to arthritis in her shoulders. She
would get very frustrated when she had a problem and even
more frustrated when she couldn’t get the attention of one of my
staff to get the problem fixed. I went out and bought a set of
decorative lights that attach to the sides of computer monitors
which could be switched on and off by a button next to the
keyboard. I informed her and my staff that if she had a problem,
she should switch the light on and then my staff would be able to
see that she had a problem and could deal with it accordingly.
She was very satisfied with the solution and found the learning
experience much easier and more rewarding.
Questions to ask your interviewer(s)
– Demonstrates an interest in the job and the
employer. No questions = no interest.
– Prepare at least six questions to ask at the end
– If all of your questions have been asked, say “I did
have several questions but you have actually
answered them all for me already” – show them
the questions too!
Questions to ask your interviewer(s)
– Why has the position become available?
– What are the main objectives and responsibilities of the position?
– How does the company expect these objectives to be met?
– What are the measures used to judge how successful I am in the role?
– What obstacles are commonly encountered in reaching these objectives?
– What is the desired time frame for reaching the objectives?
– What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
– What aspirations do you have for me at the company?
– Where will the job fit into the team structure?
– What is the main thing the organisation expects from its employees?
– How do you build good relationships within teams?
– What is the turnover of staff like throughout the company?
– Are there any plans for expansion?
– How would you describe the company culture and management style?
– Switch mobile off
– Look prepared
– Be prepared
– Eye contact
– Answer questions using STAR model
– Be prepared to ask questions yourself
– Take a copy of your application (CV or
10 Tips for a good interview
1. Assume the interview starts the moment you
enter the building
2. Listen to the question and answer it, ask for
clarification if unsure what they are asking
3. Engage all interviewers in eye contact
4. Always back up everything you are saying with
examples from your experience
5. Avoid taking notes in with you and certainly
never read from them if you do
10 Tips for a good interview
6. Always have questions ready for the end
7. Know what you’ve said in your application and
be prepared to discuss the details
8. If they don’t tell you, ask when you will hear
about the outcome of the interview
9. Thank the interviewer(s) by name
– Describe a time when you worked as part of an
effective team, what did you do and what was the
– Describe a time when you solved a difficult
problem. What did you do and what was the
– What is your biggest weakness?
– What factors have influenced your career choice?
– Lack of knowledge of company
– Lack of knowledge of field/industry
– Lack of enthusiasm
– Late to interview
– Over-confident / casual
– Discussing salary expectations / administrative questions
– Talking too much / not listening
– Lack of confidence
– Sweaty palms syndrome
– Being negative about anything
Preparation is the key to
– Find out the selection criteria
– Know what you are offering
– Identify likely question areas
– Research some (original) things about the
– Rehearse responses to potential questions
– Practice and get feedback
Interview - but no job offer?
– Did I prepare thoroughly?
– Did I get feedback on my performance?
– Am I right for the job/organisation?
– Do I need advice?
– Brand new careers and events portal.
– Search for jobs, book yourself in for appointments and events, search
through the growing bank of careers resources.
Monster – Careers advice
– Features lots of advice, instructional videos and an interactive mock
– The official UK graduate careers website, lots of information and advice –
ideal for researching salary expectations and job descriptions
Target Jobs – for sector-specific advice
Further information and guidance
Career Development Centre services:
– 20-minute quick queries:
CV, covering letter, application form checks
– 45-minute individual guidance interviews:
detailed career guidance, mock interviews
– Book your appointments using the Engage system
– CV Guide – available to download as a resource on Engage
– Free sector-specific and general careers publications
Contact Career Development Centre
T: 020 7911 5184
First floor, 101 New Cavendish Street
(next to Cav St campus)
Also at Harrow – Maria Hewlett building