Careers Service

Performing well at interviews

Whatever type of job you are interviewing for, it’s important to perform as well as possible. This section gives you some tips to help and also suggests how you can learn from your interview experience.

Performance

It’s impossible to say how to respond to every question you’re going to come across at interview. It’s more important to think about preparing thoroughly so that you know your material and can answer confidently and openly, whatever question you’re asked. When thinking about answering questions, it’s worth bearing the following points in mind:

  • Be relevant – know what they’re likely to be interested in and focus on that
  • Be honest – you’ll be more convincing....
  • .....but consider how candid you need to be – don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
  • Minimise scene-setting – keep introductions to answers concise
  • Maximise your contribution - even in questions about team-work, it’s what YOU did that matters
  • Ask for clarification if needed
  • Listen, pause and think
  • Read the interviewers body language and don’t babble
  • Avoid being negative – it’s about what you’ve done, not about what you haven’t done

After the interview

Even if you are lucky enough to get the first job you apply for, this is unlikely to be the only interview you ever attend during your working life. It’s useful to learn from the experience so you can continually improve your performance. Things you may wish to note are:

  • Questions you were asked
  • What went well?
  • What could have been better?
  • Action you need to take to improve

You should ask your interviewer for feedback if you are unsuccessful as many employers are willing to give advice. This can give you ideas for what you need to improve to be successful at the next interview.

Help other students by filling in an interview or assessment centre feedback form available at the Careers Service. It is also available to download below. The information you provide will help future students prepare for similar interviews. Completing it will also be a very helpful reflection exercise for you.