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Impress at a job interview

Congratulations, you’ve got an interview! Now it’s time to get ready.

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but preparation is key to making a great first impression.

We’ve pulled together our expert advice to help you get organised, approach the day with confidence and follow up afterwards.

How a careers adviser can help you prepare

Nervous about an upcoming interview? Our careers adviser Kyle Hamilton explains how he, or one of his colleagues, can help you.

Before your interview

Research the company and the job

Spend time learning everything you can about the company. Read the news, find current and previous employees and read the company’s website. Be ready to talk about why you’d like to work there and what you can do for them.

Take note of key figures, details and questions

Don’t forget your evidence! Find some figures to show your success in previous roles. These could be profits, engagement numbers or testimonials from people you’ve helped. Showing some evidence when answering questions helps an employer see how great you are!

Know your skills, strengths and experience

Go through your application or CV and compare your skills, strengths and experience to the role description. Keep them fresh in your mind! It’s good to remind yourself how well you’ve done. Your accomplishments helped you land this interview, so discuss them with confidence.

Test any tech you need

Whether your interview is in person, on the phone or online, test every piece of equipment you need ahead of time. All devices and network connections should be working smoothly on the day. Don’t waste time at the start of an interview faffing.

Here's what employers say

It’s all about attitude. Employers are not expecting you to know everything at the outset. But if they see you as someone with a positive attitude, they will be more willing to give you a chance as you will be open to learning.Marie BrennanEngineering Development Advisor, BAE Systems Naval Ships
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Our top tips for the day of your interview

  1. Dress for the job. You need to feel comfortable and confident in an interview, and you only have one chance to make a first impression. Explore the company’s website and social media to find what employees currently wear. Dress a little smarter than this for your interview.
  2. Watch your timing. An easy way to create a great first impression is by arriving early. This shows the panel the type of person you are in a work context. Make sure you’re ready to go at least five minutes before your interview time. Don’t make your interviewer wait for you to get ready.
  3. Listen, ask and respond. Remember, you can take a moment to think of a response before you answer. The interviewer wants to hear about your role in any projects you discuss — not your team’s. Take a second to plan how you’ll frame your responses in this way. You’ll also get the opportunity to ask questions yourself.

After your interview 

Once your interview is over, it’s a good idea to reach out to the employer.

Wait a few days after your interview to let the dust to settle – they may be interviewing other candidates. Then, send that follow-up message.

In your message, be polite but direct: 

  • thank them for their time in the interview
  • remember to mention the job title and interview date
  • ask for a progress update – explain that any information they can give you would be appreciated