Page

What To Expect 3
Before You Go 4
The Interview 5-6
How Did It Go? 7
Questions, Questions, Questions 8-10
The Telephone Interview 11
Other Issues 12
career change/late career start
disability/health/home circumstances
unemployment, past or present
Help From The Careers Service 13

Contents

Selectors


wouldn’t waste
time interviewing you if they didn’t believe that you might be
offering what they want. It’s your job to convince them.

This booklet aims to give you the knowledge, skills and
confidence to do just that.

What To Expect 3
One to one interviews are the most common format, though two to one is not
uncommon.
Most graduate interviews with larger organisations are carefully structured,
and conducted by well trained staff.
Typically 30-60 minutes. Atmosphere often quite informal, seated in
armchairs rather than across a table.
Interviewers are from various backgrounds. Some are H.R. managers but
staff from other functions are widely involved. Whatever their background,
formal training in interview techniques is widespread.
The “competence” or “criteria” based interview is common, i.e. they look for
evidence of your skills or competencies - organisation, leadership, communication,
teamworking etc., they may be highly structured with all candidates being asked
similar questions from a prepared list. It’s your job to give them the evidence.
Even if it’s written down on the application form, tell them what you’ve actually
done.
Apart from the ‘one to one’ you may face a panel or telephone interview.
Panel Interviews
Can involve as many as five interviewers.
Most commonly encountered with public sector employers, such as schools,
universities, Civil Service and local government. Also fairly common for
private sector scientific research.
Typically drawn from different functions, e.g. human resources, line
management, technical.
May be carefully structured, in which each interviewer asks questions about
defined areas, but not always.
Address each answer primarily to the questioner, remembering to draw in
other panellists by looking at them from time to time.
Telephone Interviews
Used in initial screening by a handful of major employers.
Go to page 11 for more on telephone interviews

a ‘viva’. It is not (usually) primarily a test of intellectual
ability, much of which will be spoken for by your academic record. Interviewers look at your personality
and broad range of skills. The cleverest people certainly don’t always get the job.
Neither is it an interrogation, an attempt to humiliate or trick you. Despite what you may have heard, few
interviewers deliberately play nasty, although they may try to stretch or challenge you.
This is not to say that you will never encounter incompetent or unpleasant interviewers, but they are the
exception.

Before You Go 4
Be prepared

Read any literature about the employer. Not just the recruitment brochure. Check
their website. Check additional sources of news. Keep an eye on the national
press. In some fields (eg advertising) it’s particularly useful to check the trade
press.
Read up on the career in general. Make sure you know what the job really
involves.
Check the Contact Scheme on our website. A Bristol graduate currently
working with the organisation may be ready to help with some background
information.
Think about your skills. List examples of situations large and small where
you’ve used them.
Photocopy your application form. Useful to re-read it shortly beforehand.
Think about what you’re going to wear. Be smart but comfortable. If in doubt
err on the side of formality.
You might prepare a file containing details of the interview, material
produced by the organisation and a copy of your application.
Prepare some questions to ask at interview.
Consider your answers to basic questions. Remind yourself why you’re
really interested in working for the organisation.
Practise some of your answers - to a friend or into a recorder. How do they
sound? To the point? Too long?
Body language is incredibly important. Are you sitting (too) comfortably?
Practise your posture. Check with a friend or look into a mirror. Sad, but it
works!
Perhaps most important of all... prepare your attitude.
You’ll be apprehensive. You’ll worry about things that might go wrong. Fair
enough, but don’t let the negative thoughts take over.
Don’t dwell on the consequences of failure. Try to think of the interview as
an end in itself.
Remind yourself they’d only interview you if they’re seriously considering
you.
Feel positive about yourself. Think over all your good points.
If you believe in yourself, they will.
Getting there
Know your route, choice of transport. Check train times etc. Aim to arrive 15
minutes early. Any earlier and you’ll get even more nervous (and may get in the
way). Anything less and you could hit an unexpected delay.
If you’re delayed, even by a few minutes, give them a ring.
Aim to make an impression on everyone you meet. Be polite and friendly. Other staff
may have an informal input into the decision. Check your posture as you enter the
room. Feel confident. Stand upright. Smile. Be prepared for a handshake - firm not
flabby and preferably not sweaty!!
During the interview
Remember, it’s not an academic test. Most questions have no “right”
answer. How you say it is usually at least as important as what you say.
Give lots of examples of things you’ve done, Give them evidence that you
can do the job.
Don’t relax your posture too much even if the interviewer is very informal.
Interviewers will rarely be trying to catch you out, unless they think you’re
being dishonest or over-embellishing. They aren’t the enemy. It’s their job to
find out about you, your skills and experience. Most often they’ll want to help
you give them the information they need.
Perhaps take in a file of material relating to the interview. But don’t leave it
on your lap. Put it down beside you.
Interviewers won’t expect as full an answer as they would in writing. Don’t
worry if you don’t get all your points in.
Don’t offer negative messages, dwell on personal faults or doubts.
Interviewers will quickly accept your own judgment of yourself. Modesty is a
much more common interview failing than boastfulness. It’s easy to emerge
as “nice but not up to it”.
You shouldn’t be afraid to use your hand gestures. They add emphasis and
convey enthusiasm. Don’t worry if you stumble or hesitate a little. It’s part of
the rhythm of ordinary speech.
Don’t drop names or flatter. Interviewers are unlikely to be impressed that
you know the chief executive. And they know how good their organisation is.
Don’t think beyond the interview. Stop any “what if I fail?” thoughts.
Maintain good eye contact. Easy to forget, but vital! If you find this difficult,
look at a spot on their forehead. They won’t notice. It really works!
Avoid hypothetical answers. Make them as real as possible.
Interviewers want to be interested. They’re usually keen to learn something
new. Something unusual livens up the interview. It may be a vacation job
you’ve done, a country you’ve visited or a quirky project. Grab any chance to
exploit unusual material. Interviewers can be diverted!
Get into the habit of sounding enthusiastic. Sprinkle your answers with “I
really enjoyed....”, “I love doing....”, “The best thing about....”.
Avoid very short answers. After several in a row the interviewer’s attention
moves from listening to what you’re saying to worrying about their next
question! But conversely.....Beware of answers that are too long. Watch for
signs of restlessness or loss of concentration. If in doubt check -“would you
like me to say a little more?”
Recognise simple questions calling for a brief answer, designed to put you at
your ease - “What sort of journey did you have?”
Even if you’re doing a technical subject you’ll often find the technical content
is fairly low. Typically technical questions focus on vacation experience,
course projects and special options.

The Interview 5

The Interview 6
If you mess up a question or two. Most people will. Don’t let it throw you out of
your stride. Each question is a fresh start - don’t let a previous poor answer cast a
shadow.
If you don’t understand a question, ask for it to be rephrased. If it’s very abstract or
generalised ask “could you be more specific?” or “could you give me an example?”
If you need to ask for a moment to think. You will then both be more comfortable
with the silence.
If you really can’t manage a question. Simply say so, or ask them to come back to
it later. Often they’ll forget!
“What are your weaknesses”? is a common question. Don’t get too confessional.
Concentrate on something in which you can be trained (languages, computing) or
something which is not too “revealing” and on which you’re working - organising
your time, learning to prioritise, delegating responsibilities. Describe the steps
you’re taking to improve.
If you’ve messed something up (a poor exam result, for example) be positive about
it. It was a mistake. You were disappointed. You’ve learned from it.
If asked (you often will be) which other companies you’ve applied to, it’s not a trap.
Be honest. Employers are reassured if you’ve been consistent. They’re realists
and will expect good applicants to have applied to (and interest) their rivals.
It’s your turn
Towards the end you’ll usually be asked whether you have any questions.
Have a few written down, but ...
Don’t ask more than a couple of questions. Any more and the interviewer
may feel under interrogation.
Don’t ask questions just because you feel you should. Beware of asking for
information that is easily available on their website or demands too much
detail.
If you’ve no questions just say something like “thanks, I had some, but they
were all answered in the chat I had after your presentation at the
Hawthorns.”
Or . . . you could use this time to tell them about something to which you had
hoped to draw their attention. “No, I don’t have any questions, but I was
hoping to tell you about . . .”
Remember, only ask questions to which you really want to know the answers
and which have not been answered elsewhere. If you can’t think of a good
question, don’t ask a stupid one. Beware of undermining the good
impression that you’ve made.


leave a favourable impression. Look directly at the interviewers and
thank them (not too effusively). It’s usually OK to ask when you will hear from them but don’t sound too
desperate.
Be prepared to shake hands again. Maintain a confident posture and positive attitude until you’re away
from the building.
¸ . . · . . . . , . ¸ . . · . . . . , . ¸ . . · . . . . , . ¸ . . · . . . . , .

How Did It Go? 7
After the interview you might just want to forget but...
what went well? Think through ways you can improve - note them down, being as
specific as possible. They’ll help you with future interviews.
If you reckon there are areas for real improvement, or if you need reassurance,
make the most of the help offered by the Careers Service, listed on page 11.
If you’ve had a real disaster, tell yourself (a) real disasters are rare (they are) so it’s
unlikely to happen again; (b) it may be that the interviewer was poor.
What next?
When will you hear? Typically it’ll be a week or two but sometimes longer (anything
over 6 weeks is unusual). For some jobs, like teaching, or with smaller employers
you’ll often hear on the day.
If you’re rejected it’s usually acceptable to ask for feedback, although some won’t
give it, while others will be very bland. Sometimes, however, they can be really
helpful. The best approach is along the lines of “Obviously I’m disappointed, but
your comments will help me prepare for other interviews, so I’d really appreciate
anything you have to say”.
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Questions, Questions, Questions 8
There’s no way you can predict...
exactly which questions will come up, even when you’re facing a carefully structured interview . However, certain
topics come up regularly. Here’s a range of questions, including most of the common ones:
Education
How did you make your choice of university?
How would you improve your course?
Why did you choose to study psychology (or whatever)?
What can a classics (or whatever) graduate bring to us?
Can you say something about your project?
Your results in a couple of subjects look poor. Why is this?

Knowledge of the Job
How would you define marketing/management consultancy etc?
Why do you want to go into H.R. (or whatever)?
Why would you be a good accountant?
What do you think you would actually be doing in the first year?
How long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contribution
to the team?
What interests you about this job?

Knowledge of the employer
Why have you applied to us?
Who are our major competitors?
What makes us different from our competitors?
What do you think of our website?
What have you done to find out more about us?
Name some of our clients.
What do you think are the main challenges we’re facing?
Have you used our product/service? What do you think of it?

Skills/Competencies
What role do you normally play in a team?
Give an example of how you’ve dealt with awkward people.
When did you complete a task in spite of tight deadlines and difficult
circumstances?
When have you been involved in a team which didn’t work well. What did you learn
from it?

9
When have you had to adapt quickly to changed circumstances?
How have you led a group? What lessons did you learn?
What experience have you of planning and organising an event?
How have you demonstrated a business focus?
If offered this internship, what do you see yourself contributing to us?
What have you failed in? What did you take from that failure?
How would you convince me that you can use your initiative?
What has your membership of the international society committee involved?
What is your greatest strength?
What kind of decisions are most difficult for you?
Give an example of when you have had to achieve a task in spite of difficulties.
How do you organise your time and assess your priorities?

General
If your friends were here, what three words would they use to describe you?
What is your biggest weakness?
What did you learn from your placement/work experience?
How mobile are you? Whereabouts are you prepared to work?
What has been your most valuable holiday work? Why?

Motivation/Career Direction
What other career opportunities are you considering?
Who else are you applying to?
Where would you like to be in five years time?
Give an example of an achievement of which you’re particularly proud.
What has influenced your choice of career?
What do you hope to achieve by doing this internship?

Bigger Picture/Current Issues
It’s more difficult to give examples of these because they might date quickly.
However, you should always be able to demonstrate that you have a knowledge of
the broader context within which the job operates. This applies to lots of fields from
accountancy to education. Would-be investment bankers, for example, should
know how the markets have been doing, or of current takeover speculation.
Lawyers will be aware of moral and legal issues currently attracting national
attention. So keep your eye on the news. And not just for a couple of days before
the interview – it’s really easy to spot the last- minute swot!


And finally, the question you just can’t prepare for.
What is the most unusual thing you have done?
How would you like me to remember you?
If you were an animal, what sort would you be?
Name a literary character with whom you would identify
Which historical character would you most like to meet, and why?
How many maternity beds are there in the UK?
Which question were you most hoping I wouldn’t ask?
Give me five uses for that glass, other than for drinking water out of.

This sort of question doesn’t look for a “right” answer. Usually it’s a test of your
thought processes when faced with the unexpected. Stay cool. Take your time.
Don’t be flippant. Think your way through.

10

The Telephone Interview 11
Many employers are using telephone interviews as the first stage in the selection
process. The Association of Graduate Recruiters 2004 survey reported that 27% of
members conduct telephone interviews, while the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development recorded 26% usage.
WHY?
Employers like to use telephone interviews as they can be arranged more quickly and are a cost effective method
of screening large numbers of applicants. They are particularly useful when telephone manner and customer
contact are key parts of the job or when recruiting for international posts. Advantages to applicants are that the
outcome is generally known quickly and there is little disruption to an existing job if the interview has been
arranged at a convenient time.
TIPS:
After receiving your application the employer will usually arrange a time for the interview. Although telephone
interviews are normally shorter than face-to-face interviews, there are ways to increase your chances of success.

Smile - is normally communicated in your voice. It is more difficult to sound
boring and uninteresting if you are smiling.
Make sure you are somewhere quiet. Sit at a table in a position that feels
fairly formal. Have everything you need in front of you e.g. pen, paper, copy
of your CV, application form and a diary or calendar. Tell your flatmates well
beforehand so they don’t disturb you.
Whenever possible use a landline. If using a mobile ensure the battery is
fully charged, you are in an area with a good reception and have plenty of
credit.
Students report that telephone interviews can feel rather impersonal, with
interviewers going through a standard set of questions and showing little
reaction to your answers. Be prepared for this and try not to let their
apparent lack of engagement affect your responses. Remain enthusiastic
and focused.
Most questions will be similar to those in a face-to-face interview, e.g. why do
you want to work for us? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
As with a normal interview, have examples of where you demonstrated the
skills about which they might ask e.g. teamwork, communication, negotiation,
problem solving. Keep these in front of you in case you cannot remember
them. Prepare one or two questions you would like to ask them.
Remember that all the interviewer has to work with is the sound of your
voice. You need to check out they understand what you are saying as you
will have no visual clues to help you (e.g. interviewer smiling when
interested, breaks eye contact when bored).
Also think about the image the sound of your voice projects (monotone –
boring, more animated – lively). Try varying the speed of what you say,
allow pauses, vary the loudness of your voice. Use enthusiastic language –
‘enjoyed’, ‘really’ - but don’t overdo it.
Silence on the telephone can be particularly uncomfortable. Make sure that
if you need time to think you let the interviewer know, e.g. saying “Do you
mind if I think about this for a minute”.

Finally, telephone interviews are unlikely to be the final stage in selection, more to see whether to invite you for a
face-to-face interview or assessment centre. Following these tips should make them a little less stressful and
increase your chances of success.
Career change
Your work history and motives may be probed. Be positive about achievements
and skills. Don’t dismiss or belittle any experience. Emphasise the planning and
research you’ve put into current career thinking.
Disability/health/home circumstances
How much to tell the employer? When? Remember, it’s not always going to be a
problem to them, nor must it be their business to know. These issues demand an
individual answer, best discussed beforehand with a careers adviser or someone
else experienced in the field.
Unemployment, past or present
Emphasise how you used your time.




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www.bristol.ac.uk/careers/focuson

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Other Issues 12
Practice interview sessions
Regularly throughout the year. Three students plus a careers adviser who role-plays the interviewer. Learn from
watching other people being interviewed, as well as going through it yourself.

Careers Skills sessions
Mainly autumn and spring term. Twenty or so students. Trainers from industry, commerce and the public sector
contribute to our Careers Skills programme, running a variety of workshops on interviews, assessment centres
and presentation skills.

Individual interviews
With a careers adviser. One to one practice in one of these ¾ hour sessions. Ask at the reception desk.

Drop-in sessions
15 minutes with a careers adviser gives an immediate opportunity to discuss issues.
No booking, just call in and sign-up.
10-4pm most days, except Wednesday 1-4pm only (check web for vacation times). Last sign-up 3.45pm.

All these are available in our Information Centre.
DVDs/Videos:
Assessment Centre: Group exercises, presentation, interviews - going
through the selection process
Why Ask Me That? 20 minutes of practical tips on interview technique
Making An Impact: Four interviews with graduate recruiters and a
the graduate job interview telephone interview
Books:
First Interviews - Sorted Chris Phillips (a lively booklet on interviews)
The Ultimate Interview Book Lynn Williams
Excel at Interviews Patricia McBride
Going to Interviews AGCAS booklet
Files:
Second Interview feedback files - tales from Bristol students who’ve been through it.
When you call in …
information desk
occupational information
employer literature
huge amount of stuff always on display in our hallway. Please take it all away!
newspapers right next to our sofa – stay informed in comfort!
On our website…
thousands of links
advice on CVs, applications, interviews
Jobs by email – receive the latest vacancies directly into your inbox
at least 500 vacancies at any time
term-time and vacation work
Careers Network. 500 Bristol graduates ready to help you.

Help From The Careers Service 13
Careers Service
11 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
Tel 0117 928 8221
www.bristol.ac.uk/careers

Interview Skills/Jan 2008

.

The Telephone Interview Other Issues career change/late career start disability/health/home circumstances unemployment. Questions.Contents Page What To Expect Before You Go The Interview How Did It Go? Questions. past or present Help From The Careers Service 3 4 5-6 7 Questions 8-10 11 12 13 .

wouldn’t waste time interviewing you if they didn’t believe that you might be offering what they want. This booklet aims to give you the knowledge. Selectors . skills and confidence to do just that. It’s your job to convince them.

communication. Despite what you may have heard. tell them what you’ve actually done. Some are H. formal training in interview techniques is widespread. It is not (usually) primarily a test of intellectual ability. they look for evidence of your skills or competencies . Whatever their background. human resources.organisation. but they are the exception. Interviewers look at your personality and broad range of skills. Civil Service and local government. though two to one is not uncommon. Most graduate interviews with larger organisations are carefully structured. Even if it’s written down on the application form. Telephone Interviews Used in initial screening by a handful of major employers. such as schools. remembering to draw in other panellists by looking at them from time to time. line management. May be carefully structured. Address each answer primarily to the questioner. few interviewers deliberately play nasty. i. Typically drawn from different functions.R. Typically 30-60 minutes. Neither is it an interrogation. universities. but not always. Panel Interviews Can involve as many as five interviewers.g. seated in armchairs rather than across a table.e.What To Expect 3 One to one interviews are the most common format. . in which each interviewer asks questions about defined areas. Most commonly encountered with public sector employers. they may be highly structured with all candidates being asked similar questions from a prepared list. e. Go to page 11 for more on telephone interviews a ‘viva’.. although they may try to stretch or challenge you. The “competence” or “criteria” based interview is common. Also fairly common for private sector scientific research. managers but staff from other functions are widely involved. The cleverest people certainly don’t always get the job. much of which will be spoken for by your academic record. This is not to say that you will never encounter incompetent or unpleasant interviewers. leadership. It’s your job to give them the evidence. teamworking etc. technical. Atmosphere often quite informal. Interviewers are from various backgrounds. and conducted by well trained staff. an attempt to humiliate or trick you. Apart from the ‘one to one’ you may face a panel or telephone interview.

A Bristol graduate currently working with the organisation may be ready to help with some background information. Check the Contact Scheme on our website. Not just the recruitment brochure. but it works! Perhaps most important of all. Photocopy your application form.. . choice of transport. If in doubt err on the side of formality. material produced by the organisation and a copy of your application. Try to think of the interview as an end in itself. Remind yourself they’d only interview you if they’re seriously considering you.to a friend or into a recorder. Consider your answers to basic questions. Read up on the career in general. Getting there Know your route. Fair Don’t dwell on the consequences of failure. If you believe in yourself. Aim to arrive 15 minutes early. You’ll worry about things that might go wrong. Are you sitting (too) comfortably? Practise your posture. Check train times etc. Practise some of your answers . Think over all your good points. give them a ring. Keep an eye on the national press. Feel positive about yourself. How do they sound? To the point? Too long? Body language is incredibly important. Make sure you know what the job really involves. Prepare some questions to ask at interview. Check their website. Anything less and you could hit an unexpected delay. Think about your skills. Any earlier and you’ll get even more nervous (and may get in the way). enough. You might prepare a file containing details of the interview. Useful to re-read it shortly beforehand. List examples of situations large and small where you’ve used them. even by a few minutes. In some fields (eg advertising) it’s particularly useful to check the trade press. Remind yourself why you’re really interested in working for the organisation. Think about what you’re going to wear. If you’re delayed. prepare your attitude. Sad. but don’t let the negative thoughts take over. Be smart but comfortable. Check with a friend or look into a mirror. they will.Before You Go 4 Be prepared Read any literature about the employer. Check additional sources of news.. You’ll be apprehensive.

your skills and experience. but vital! If you find this difficult. Don’t worry if you don’t get all your points in.”.. They’re usually keen to learn something new. Don’t relax your posture too much even if the interviewer is very informal. Perhaps take in a file of material relating to the interview. It’s easy to emerge as “nice but not up to it”. Maintain good eye contact. Easy to forget.. Don’t worry if you stumble or hesitate a little. Don’t think beyond the interview. Interviewers will rarely be trying to catch you out.. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your hand gestures. “The best thing about. After several in a row the interviewer’s attention moves from listening to what you’re saying to worrying about their next question! But conversely.. Stop any “what if I fail?” thoughts. It’s their job to find out about you. course projects and special options.. Give lots of examples of things you’ve done. Don’t offer negative messages. They add emphasis and convey enthusiasm. They won’t notice. How you say it is usually at least as important as what you say. Put it down beside you. Feel confident..Beware of answers that are too long. Grab any chance to exploit unusual material. Stand upright. it’s not an academic test. Interviewers want to be interested. Make them as real as possible. Something unusual livens up the interview. Be prepared for a handshake . Most often they’ll want to help you give them the information they need. Check your posture as you enter the room. . Most questions have no “right” answer.“What sort of journey did you have?” Even if you’re doing a technical subject you’ll often find the technical content is fairly low. look at a spot on their forehead. Typically technical questions focus on vacation experience. It really works! Avoid hypothetical answers. Watch for signs of restlessness or loss of concentration. But don’t leave it on your lap. Sprinkle your answers with “I really enjoyed. Modesty is a much more common interview failing than boastfulness. Don’t drop names or flatter. And they know how good their organisation is....”. Interviewers won’t expect as full an answer as they would in writing.”. They aren’t the enemy.. Be polite and friendly.. dwell on personal faults or doubts.The Interview 5 Aim to make an impression on everyone you meet. Interviewers are unlikely to be impressed that you know the chief executive. If in doubt check -“would you like me to say a little more?” Recognise simple questions calling for a brief answer. Smile. Interviewers will quickly accept your own judgment of yourself. designed to put you at your ease . Avoid very short answers. It’s part of the rhythm of ordinary speech. a country you’ve visited or a quirky project. It may be a vacation job you’ve done. “I love doing. unless they think you’re being dishonest or over-embellishing. Give them evidence that you can do the job...firm not flabby and preferably not sweaty!! During the interview Remember. Other staff may have an informal input into the decision. Interviewers can be diverted! Get into the habit of sounding enthusiastic.

They’re realists and will expect good applicants to have applied to (and interest) their rivals. Look directly at the interviewers and thank them (not too effusively). Any more and the interviewer may feel under interrogation. Maintain a confident posture and positive attitude until you’re away from the building. . Don’t get too confessional. I had some. only ask questions to which you really want to know the answers and which have not been answered elsewhere.. Have a few written down. It was a mistake. Often they’ll forget! “What are your weaknesses”? is a common question. but . or ask them to come back to it later. don’t ask a stupid one. Be prepared to shake hands again. If you’ve messed something up (a poor exam result. Employers are reassured if you’ve been consistent. Beware of undermining the good impression that you’ve made.organising your time. It’s your turn Towards the end you’ll usually be asked whether you have any questions. I don’t have any questions. You will then both be more comfortable with the silence. learning to prioritise. Beware of asking for information that is easily available on their website or demands too much detail. Be honest. Each question is a fresh start . If you can’t think of a good question.The Interview 6 If you mess up a question or two. Simply say so.” Remember. . . for example) be positive about it. It’s usually OK to ask when you will hear from them but don’t sound too desperate. ask for it to be rephrased.don’t let a previous poor answer cast a shadow. You’ve learned from it. it’s not a trap. Don’t let it throw you out of your stride. If it’s very abstract or generalised ask “could you be more specific?” or “could you give me an example?” If you need to ask for a moment to think. Don’t ask questions just because you feel you should. you could use this time to tell them about something to which you had hoped to draw their attention. Don’t ask more than a couple of questions. Describe the steps you’re taking to improve. but they were all answered in the chat I had after your presentation at the Hawthorns. Most people will.. If you’ve no questions just say something like “thanks.” Or . . delegating responsibilities. “No. . If you don’t understand a question. but I was hoping to tell you about . You were disappointed. If asked (you often will be) which other companies you’ve applied to. Concentrate on something in which you can be trained (languages. leave a favourable impression. computing) or something which is not too “revealing” and on which you’re working . If you really can’t manage a question.

(b) it may be that the interviewer was poor. or if you need reassurance. being as specific as possible. What next? When will you hear? Typically it’ll be a week or two but sometimes longer (anything over 6 weeks is unusual).. however. so I’d really appreciate anything you have to say”. or with smaller employers you’ll often hear on the day. tell yourself (a) real disasters are rare (they are) so it’s unlikely to happen again. make the most of the help offered by the Careers Service.note them down. They’ll help you with future interviews. Sometimes. listed on page 11.. what went well? Think through ways you can improve . while others will be very bland. like teaching. although some won’t give it. If you’re rejected it’s usually acceptable to ask for feedback.How Did It Go? 7 After the interview you might just want to forget but. If you reckon there are areas for real improvement. The best approach is along the lines of “Obviously I’m disappointed. they can be really helpful. but your comments will help me prepare for other interviews. If you’ve had a real disaster. For some jobs. !"# $ .

Questions. Here’s a range of questions... When did you complete a task in spite of tight deadlines and difficult circumstances? When have you been involved in a team which didn’t work well. Why is this? Knowledge of the Job How would you define marketing/management consultancy etc? Why do you want to go into H. What do you think are the main challenges we’re facing? Have you used our product/service? What do you think of it? Skills/Competencies What role do you normally play in a team? Give an example of how you’ve dealt with awkward people. including most of the common ones: Education How did you make your choice of university? How would you improve your course? Why did you choose to study psychology (or whatever)? What can a classics (or whatever) graduate bring to us? Can you say something about your project? Your results in a couple of subjects look poor. What did you learn from it? . certain topics come up regularly. even when you’re facing a carefully structured interview .R. exactly which questions will come up. (or whatever)? Why would you be a good accountant? What do you think you would actually be doing in the first year? How long do you think it would be before you were making a significant contribution to the team? What interests you about this job? Knowledge of the employer Why have you applied to us? Who are our major competitors? What makes us different from our competitors? What do you think of our website? What have you done to find out more about us? Name some of our clients. Questions 8 There’s no way you can predict. However. Questions.

what three words would they use to describe you? What is your biggest weakness? What did you learn from your placement/work experience? How mobile are you? Whereabouts are you prepared to work? What has been your most valuable holiday work? Why? Motivation/Career Direction What other career opportunities are you considering? Who else are you applying to? Where would you like to be in five years time? Give an example of an achievement of which you’re particularly proud.minute swot! .9 When have you had to adapt quickly to changed circumstances? How have you led a group? What lessons did you learn? What experience have you of planning and organising an event? How have you demonstrated a business focus? If offered this internship. What has influenced your choice of career? What do you hope to achieve by doing this internship? Bigger Picture/Current Issues It’s more difficult to give examples of these because they might date quickly. So keep your eye on the news. How do you organise your time and assess your priorities? General If your friends were here. However. And not just for a couple of days before the interview – it’s really easy to spot the last. This applies to lots of fields from accountancy to education. Lawyers will be aware of moral and legal issues currently attracting national attention. for example. what do you see yourself contributing to us? What have you failed in? What did you take from that failure? How would you convince me that you can use your initiative? What has your membership of the international society committee involved? What is your greatest strength? What kind of decisions are most difficult for you? Give an example of when you have had to achieve a task in spite of difficulties. or of current takeover speculation. you should always be able to demonstrate that you have a knowledge of the broader context within which the job operates. Would-be investment bankers. should know how the markets have been doing.

Think your way through. Usually it’s a test of your thought processes when faced with the unexpected. what sort would you be? Name a literary character with whom you would identify Which historical character would you most like to meet. the question you just can’t prepare for. This sort of question doesn’t look for a “right” answer. Don’t be flippant. Take your time. Stay cool. other than for drinking water out of. What is the most unusual thing you have done? How would you like me to remember you? If you were an animal. and why? How many maternity beds are there in the UK? Which question were you most hoping I wouldn’t ask? Give me five uses for that glass.10 And finally. .

teamwork. Most questions will be similar to those in a face-to-face interview.The Telephone Interview 11 Many employers are using telephone interviews as the first stage in the selection process. Use enthusiastic language – ‘enjoyed’.g. copy of your CV. Try varying the speed of what you say. saying “Do you mind if I think about this for a minute”. telephone interviews are unlikely to be the final stage in selection. Finally. interviewer smiling when interested. .g. Make sure that if you need time to think you let the interviewer know. Whenever possible use a landline. breaks eye contact when bored). more to see whether to invite you for a face-to-face interview or assessment centre. you are in an area with a good reception and have plenty of credit. there are ways to increase your chances of success. Tell your flatmates well beforehand so they don’t disturb you. The Association of Graduate Recruiters 2004 survey reported that 27% of members conduct telephone interviews. e.is normally communicated in your voice. It is more difficult to sound boring and uninteresting if you are smiling. Following these tips should make them a little less stressful and increase your chances of success. e. negotiation. They are particularly useful when telephone manner and customer contact are key parts of the job or when recruiting for international posts. Remain enthusiastic and focused. Make sure you are somewhere quiet. vary the loudness of your voice. Keep these in front of you in case you cannot remember them. more animated – lively). ‘really’ . while the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recorded 26% usage.but don’t overdo it.g. If using a mobile ensure the battery is fully charged. Smile . paper. communication. Prepare one or two questions you would like to ask them. Have everything you need in front of you e. Students report that telephone interviews can feel rather impersonal. You need to check out they understand what you are saying as you will have no visual clues to help you (e. Also think about the image the sound of your voice projects (monotone – boring. Although telephone interviews are normally shorter than face-to-face interviews.g.g. Silence on the telephone can be particularly uncomfortable. problem solving. pen. TIPS: After receiving your application the employer will usually arrange a time for the interview. have examples of where you demonstrated the skills about which they might ask e. with interviewers going through a standard set of questions and showing little reaction to your answers. Advantages to applicants are that the outcome is generally known quickly and there is little disruption to an existing job if the interview has been arranged at a convenient time. Remember that all the interviewer has to work with is the sound of your voice. why do you want to work for us? What are your strengths and weaknesses? As with a normal interview. Sit at a table in a position that feels fairly formal. application form and a diary or calendar. WHY? Employers like to use telephone interviews as they can be arranged more quickly and are a cost effective method of screening large numbers of applicants. Be prepared for this and try not to let their apparent lack of engagement affect your responses. allow pauses.

Be positive about achievements and skills. Emphasise the planning and research you’ve put into current career thinking. past or present Emphasise how you used your time. nor must it be their business to know. Don’t dismiss or belittle any experience.ac.bristol. % & ' ( www.Other Issues 12 Career change Your work history and motives may be probed.uk/careers/focuson $) . Unemployment. it’s not always going to be a problem to them. These issues demand an individual answer. best discussed beforehand with a careers adviser or someone else experienced in the field. Disability/health/home circumstances How much to tell the employer? When? Remember.

. interviews Jobs by email – receive the latest vacancies directly into your inbox at least 500 vacancies at any time term-time and vacation work Careers Network.Sorted The Ultimate Interview Book Excel at Interviews Going to Interviews Files: Second Interview feedback files . 500 Bristol graduates ready to help you. Chris Phillips (a lively booklet on interviews) Lynn Williams Patricia McBride AGCAS booklet Group exercises. No booking. Trainers from industry. Please take it all away! newspapers right next to our sofa – stay informed in comfort! On our website… thousands of links advice on CVs. just call in and sign-up.going through the selection process 20 minutes of practical tips on interview technique Four interviews with graduate recruiters and a telephone interview When you call in … information desk occupational information employer literature huge amount of stuff always on display in our hallway. Individual interviews Drop-in sessions With a careers adviser. Three students plus a careers adviser who role-plays the interviewer. commerce and the public sector contribute to our Careers Skills programme. Practice interview sessions Careers Skills sessions Mainly autumn and spring term. Ask at the reception desk. assessment centres and presentation skills. DVDs/Videos: Assessment Centre: Why Ask Me That? Making An Impact: the graduate job interview Books: First Interviews . interviews . 10-4pm most days. applications. 15 minutes with a careers adviser gives an immediate opportunity to discuss issues.tales from Bristol students who’ve been through it.Help From The Careers Service 13 Regularly throughout the year. running a variety of workshops on interviews.45pm. One to one practice in one of these ¾ hour sessions. Last sign-up 3. Learn from watching other people being interviewed. All these are available in our Information Centre. as well as going through it yourself. presentation. Twenty or so students. except Wednesday 1-4pm only (check web for vacation times).

Interview Skills/Jan 2008 .

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