Mastering the interview: your path to success

07 December 2023

Undergraduate careers manager, Giorgia, shares our top guide to support your journey towards landing your dream job.

One of the most critical steps in this journey is mastering the art of interviews. Interviews are your chance to shine, demonstrate why you are the perfect fit for the job, and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.

Explore our top tips to help you prepare for interviews.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into interview preparation, it is essential to understand the basic elements of a successful interview:

Research: Understand the company, its culture, mission, and values. Familiarise yourself with the job role, industry trends, and competitors.

CV Review: Be ready to discuss your CV, experiences, and skills in depth. Know your story and be prepared to highlight your strengths.

Motivational Questions: Understand your reasons for applying to the role, what motivated you to apply, and what motivates you and excites you about the position/company you have applied to.

Competency Questions: Most interviews include questions that assess your behaviour and skills. Think about your experiences and prepare relevant anecdotes.

Technical/Industry-Specific Questions: Depending on your field, you might face technical or industry-specific questions. Brush up on your knowledge and skills.

Questions for the Interviewer: Be prepared to ASK questions. Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer, demonstrating your genuine interest in the company and role.

The Preparation Process

Self-Reflection: Start with a deep dive into self-reflection. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, and what sets you apart. This self-awareness is essential in answering questions confidently and honestly.

Mock Interviews: Practice, practice, practice! Conduct mock interviews with friends, mentors, or career advisors to help you refine your answers and gain confidence.

STAR Method: For competency questions (Situation, Task, Action, Result), use the STAR method. Structure your answers to provide a clear and concise response.

Dress the Part: Dress appropriately for the industry and company culture. When in doubt, it's better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

Prepare for Common Questions: Be ready for questions such as "Tell me about yourself", "Why do you want to work here?" and "What is your greatest weakness?". Take time to craft compelling answers.

The Day Before the Interview

Plan Your Route: If the interview is in person, plan your route and transportation. Be sure to factor in extra time for unexpected delays.

Visualise Success: Spend some time visualising yourself acing the interview. Visualising success can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety.

The Day of the Interview

Arrive Early: Arriving early demonstrates professionalism (around 10-15 minutes). It also gives you time to relax and collect your thoughts.

First Impressions Matter: Greet everyone you meet with a friendly, confident attitude. You never know who is part of the decision-making process.

Stay Calm: Nervousness is normal, but don't let it overpower you. Take deep breaths and remind yourself of your preparations.

After the Interview

Send a Thank-You Note: After the interview, send a personalised thank-you email to the interviewer, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity.

Reflect: Reflect on your interview performance. What went well, and what could be improved? Use this feedback for future interviews.

Follow-Up: If you haven't heard back within the given timeframe, you can follow up with a polite email expressing your continued interest.

Preparing for interviews is a journey, not a destination. It's a process that evolves with each interview you attend. Remember, every interview is a learning opportunity, and rejection doesn't define your worth. With consistent effort, self-awareness, and practice, you'll become a master of interviews, paving the way for a successful and fulfilling career.

Best of luck on your interview journey, and remember that your dream job is within reach. You've got this!