5 Tips to Help You Get Interview Ready

Surely no one likes an interview, so on Day 2 of our Employability Week 2018 we thought we would compile a short list of what you should do during an interview, how to answer some of the hardest questions and things to remember.

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 1. Interview Basics

 We’re going to outline a few basics that you probably already know but they’re worth repeating.

  • It goes without saying that when you go to an interview, you should dress to impress. The truth is, it’s always better to go overdressed than underdressed, so put on your ironed white shirt, black trousers and feel your best.
  • Timing is everything, make sure that you are punctual and NEVER late and familiarise yourself with the location of the interview. If you’re never been there before or you’re not 100% sure how to get there, give yourself some extra time just to be safe. A good rule of thumb is to arrive about 10 minutes early, it gives you time to settle down, relax and look over your notes.
  • It would also help if you knew the names of the interviewers so that when you arrive at reception and the receptionist asks “who’s your interview with?” you don’t have to look back at them in horror.
  • Remember that it’s polite to shake hands when meeting someone new so be prepared to extend your arm when meeting your interviewer.
  • Never ever leave your mobile phone on…even on silent. There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as your phone going off in the middle of the interview.

 2. Water

Most interviews will have a jug of water and some glasses sitting on the table so when offered, it’s a good idea to take the glass of water. Not only does this mean that you can stay hydrated and alert but it also gives you a chance to quickly prepare the answer in your head before answering when taking a drink. This avoids the dreaded “uhm…” at the beginning of your answer.

3. Body Language

People focus so much on their answers at interviews that they forget that their body speaks too. Your body language is very important so remember to sit up straight, not leaning in your chair (leaning SLIGHTLY forward shows interest), keep good eye contact and that goes for everyone in the room. Normally there’s more than one person interviewing you and they take turns in asking the questions, when one person is asking, the other is writing down your answer. But make sure that you try to maintain eye contact with everyone, ignoring one person is not very polite.

Don’t cross your arms or legs, and if you’re like me and you don’t know what to do with your hands during the interview, it can be helpful to use them along with what you’re saying; they can emphasise the points you are trying to make and can make your answers seem more passionate.

4. Be Prepared

Prepare for the questions you’re likely to be asked, if you’re not sure what they might ask you, it can be helpful to speak to people like Skills Development Scotland, your Guidance Co-ordinator or someone who already works in a similar job what kinds of questions you might get asked. And then prepare some answers for them. You don’t want to be reading them off of your notes in the interview room but giving an eloquent, thought out answer goes a long way. Also it’s important to learn a little about the company before going for your interview. Look up their website, ask around because you might get asked what you know about the company in the interview.

5. How to answer the hard questions

Every question during an interview can feel like an exam but there are some questions that are more likely to leave us stumped than others.

“Tell us about your weaknesses” – This can be a hard question because you feel like they are setting you up to fail. But actually, what the interviewer wants to know by asking this question is: “tell us about a weakness (challenge) that you have overcome”. So it’s good to come prepared with an example for a question like this; for example, you could speak about how you used to find it difficult to speak over the phone and explain what you did to overcome this problem and how you find it now. There’s many examples we could use for this so if you want to know more, just get in touch.


Remember you can contact Klaudia on klaudia.grubska@uhi.ac.uk or pop up to C10 on Mondays and Fridays.