Top Tips: Preparing for your interview

This page will provide you with information, advice and support with hints and tips on how to deliver a good interview.

An interview gives you the opportunity to make a good impression, promote your skills, knowledge and experience as well as why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

It is absolutely normal to feel nervous when you have been shortlisted for an interview, it’s because you want to do your best.

Your chances of doing well at the interview are highly likely if you prepare and practise. This section will give you information, advice and support on what you can do to improve your performance.

What to do?

  • Read your CV, application form and the job description to think about the questions you may be asked at your interview. The job description may also have a guideline about the interview you will be attending and whether you need to prepare anything in advance such a presentation.
  • Plan your journey; make sure you allow enough time to travel to the interview location. It is advisable you arrive 15 minutes early, so you can calm any last minute nerves you might have.
  • Dress smartly and according to the environment you will be in. You want to feel empowered and confident when attending your interview. Ensure your clothes are ironed; you are well groomed and do not use overpowering fragrances.
    If you do not own smart clothes and would like support, you can contact the following organisations:
    - Suited & Booted is a charity based in the City of London. Public agencies can refer vulnerable men and they help them get into employment by providing suitable interview clothing donated by companies and professionals. They also offer clients interview advice and mentoring.
    Tel: 07808 531 654
    Smart Works provides women with a dressing consultation with two trained volunteers, to find a high-quality interview outfit that will fill her with confidence. This is free of charge and the clothes are hers to keep. Clients also receive a one-to-one coaching session with an expert interview coach to help them prepare.
    Call: 020 7288 1770
  • Speak clearly and confidently at your interview, make sure you understand the question being asked. It is ok to pause and think about your answer before replying. It is ok to ask the interviewer to repeat or break down the question if you’re unclear or unsure of what they are asking.
  • Keep your answer focused to the question, highlighting what you will do for the employer, as opposed to what they can do for you.
  • Sell yourself! Be passionate and positive; give examples of your achievements and things that you have done that are relevant to the job when appropriate. Avoid being arrogant and confrontational.
  • Request feedback from your interview regardless of whether you have been successful or unsuccessful, this will help you to improve your interview skills in future and to understand their decision.

What not to do?

  • Avoid being late, plan your journey in advance and check alternative routes so that you are prepared for any diversions.
  • Do not use slang words, these can have negative connotations. Be as polite as possible.
  • Do not talk badly about ex colleagues or previous experiences, as the interviewer may look at this as gossiping and it could come across as a negative mindset.
  • Avoid lying, be honest in your CV, application and during your interview. Even if you are successful at your interview, your employer can still dismiss you if they find out you have lied.
  • Do not argue with your interviewer, keep the conversation positive.

Finally, to everyone who has an interview the SIAS team would like to wish you the best of luck!