Here at the Career Development Service we’re all about preparation but prep can take many forms and it’s important to include include practice as part of this! Whilst you might feel like a bit of an idiot talking to yourself, taking the time to run through how you might verbalise your interview answers is almost as important as deciding what to say in the first place. An interview is a stressful situation and even after all the planning we know you’ll do, it’s easy to mix up your words or get confused when you’re under pressure and the dreaded ‘dry-mouth’ sets in. Unfortunately interviews are not conducted by telepathy so you need to be ready to speak clearly, confidently and eloquently rather than stumbling over your words.
Predict what you might be asked. See our website for top interview tips and book in for an application and selection coaching appointment via MyCareers. A member of staff from the Career Development Service can go through the interview preparation with you to discuss how best to prepare and what to expect. Questions might include key issues like what motivates you to work for that company and/or in that role; how your skills match those needed for the job; what your strengths and weaknesses are; examples of times you have demonstrated or developed keys capabilities and demonstrating commercial awareness of the company/sector.
Write down you answers. Once you’ve thought through the likely questions write down the answers you would give for each, don’t forget to use the STARS technique to structure your responses and ensure you are covering all the key points. Consider different ways questions could be phrased and when considering competency based questions have lots of additional examples at the ready so that if you are asked something you didn’t anticipate you are not searching around for another scenario. Remember, your best example of team work might also demonstrate flexibility, initiative and leadership. Being prepared means you can think on your feet!
Practice, Practice, Practice! (on your own). Answers don’t need to (and shouldn’t ) sound rehearsed, but knowing what you want to say and practising how you’ll say it will ensure you can articulate yourself effectively when the time comes. It’s not about following a script it’s about ensuring your answers are clear, concise and well-structured. You may want to start at by writing out full answers as part of step 2 and then condense these into prompts such as bullet points for when you rehearse your answers aloud.
Practice, Practice, Practice! (with others). At this point you may want to bother your housemate, or maybe your goldfish, because it can often feel very different when you run through interview answers in front of an audience. Alternatively, we would recommend you book in for a mock interview to practice the real thing gain and valuable feedback. You might also want to pop along to our Interview Skills Workshop to learn more about different question types and practice verbalising responses with others. Book in as far in advance as possible so you have plenty of time to prepare for the mock interview and digest the feedback ahead of the real thing.
Knock ‘em dead! You’ll be ready to wow them so best of luck and let us know how you got on!