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Before the interview

Preparation is key to interview success. To give yourself the best possible chance, we’ve outlined some advice below. Don’t forget you can book a mock interview with a Careers Consultant to practice your technique (or you could book a slot to review some of your recorded answers with a Careers Consultant; please mention this when booking).

Know the role

  • Familiarise yourself with the job description and your application, and ensure that you understand the requirements of the role. Identify where your experience and/or skills match the employer's requirements particularly well.
  • Make sure that you have a number of examples you can match to each of the main competencies (skills) listed in the job description.
  • In order to demonstrate how your skills and experience fit with their requirements, you’ll need to understand what the employer is looking for so that you can structure your answers effectively.

Know your skills

  • Many employers use competency-based questions to identify whether you have the key competencies (skills) required for the role by giving an example of when you have successfully used that skill in the past.
  • Think about what you’ve been involved in over the past few years where you have used and developed your skills (your CV can be a useful starting point) to identify the most appropriate situation to use for your answer.
  • Part-time jobs, volunteering and involvement in clubs/societies can also be used as evidence of skills e.g. working in a team or taking the initiative. Examples from work, study and extra-curricular activities show you have a range of experience.
  • A common and helpful method answering competency questions is the STAR technique. Remember to answer the question being asked and not what you would like to be asked!
  • Familiarise yourself with common interview questions you could be asked: Understanding interview questions [PDF 311KB]

Know the company

  • Research the organisation and sector in detail, so you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. Visit the organisation’s website, Facebook or LinkedIn page and pay special attention to their core values, key principles or mission statement.
  • Research what’s happening in the sector by searching recent news stories online. Understanding more about the company, the role and the industry as a whole will help you to provide relevant answers in your interview.


  • Check the time, date and location of the interview, and the name(s) of the interviewer(s)
  • Have their phone number available in case you are delayed
  • Make sure you know how to get there and how long the journey will take (and plan an alternative route just in case!)

For further information, see the following:

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