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Alumni help - Attending interviews

Job interviews give employers the opportunity to find out more about you and whether your skills, experiences and qualifications meet the requirements of the job you have applied for. They also enable you to find out more about the company and the job, and to decide whether they are right for you.

Interviews can follow different formats - you may have an interview over the telephone or in person; you may be interviewed by just one person, or by a panel; you may have to carry out an in-tray exercise, complete a psychometric test or give a presentation.

Some employers may also invite you to attend an assessment centre. These can involve up to three days of practical tasks and activities designed to assess your skills and competencies. During your assessment, they will also be observing how well you work with other people and how you cope under pressure. If you feel you are at a disadvantage - for example, you have dyslexia or English is not your first language - tell your interviewer first.

The questions you are asked and the tasks you may need to complete all help the company decide if you are the right person for the job. Preparation is key to ensuring your interview is successful. Make sure you do your homework on the company, present yourself well and speak clearly.

Finally, try to relax - take a few deep breaths before you enter the interview room. Go into your interview with confidence and sell yourself.

For further tips and advice on handling interviews, read or download our handout on interviews.

Possible Interview Activities


Giving an oral presentation which you may have time to prepare or could be a surprise task of the day.

Do: Speak clearly and present a professional image. Maintain eye contact. Stick to a simple structure
Don't: Mumble and drift from the subject

Report writing or case studies

You could be given a set of papers relating to a situation and asked to make recommendations in a brief report.

Do: Read through your papers carefully
Don't: Make recommendations until all of the papers have been read through

Further Resources

Prospects - In-tray exercise

Prospects - Interview presentations

Prospects - Typical interview questions

Prospects - Different types of interviews

Questions to ask at the end of the interview (Guardian article)

If you don't get the job? (Guardian article)