Interview tips

Before the interview

To help yourself prepare for an interview, try to follow the following tips:

  • read all the job details carefully and make notes on the skills and qualities the employer is looking for 
  • research the company you’re applying to
  • look at your CV and think about what the employer may ask you about it 
  • prepare examples that show you have the right skills, qualities and experience 
  • if asked to present a slide deck, practice speaking through your notes and figure out timings
  • write 2 or 3 questions you can ask at the end of the interview that show you are enthusiastic about the job 
  • wear something smart, but comfortable 
  • check the time you need to arrive and who will meet you 
  • if you have a disability and need adjustments to make the interview accessible, you can get advice from Scope on how to ask for them 

Online video interviews

If your interview is online, make sure you have all the links to log in – ask for them again if needs be. Choose somewhere that you know has a stable internet connection. Make sure the space you choose to do your interview is away from distraction and external noise. For more advice, visit the National Careers page – Video interviews: how to do well.

The STAR method

Use the STAR method to plan your answers to interview questions. It is a good way to structure your answers. Keep examples short and to the point. You can use examples from home, work or volunteering.  

S – situation: explain the situation you had to deal with 

T – task: describe the task you were given 

A – action: explain the action you took 

R – result: what happened as a result

During the interview

Make sure your phone is turned off and stay as calm as possible. The interviewer will understand that it is normal to be a bit nervous. Smile and greet the interviewer confidently. 

In the interview remember to: 

  • be polite 
  • listen carefully to questions and allow yourself time to think about the answers 
  • ask the interview if you don’t understand a question 
  • use the STAR method to answer questions 
  • be positive about your experiences 
  • be honest 
  • ask a couple of questions if you are invited to 
  • thank the interviewer for their time and say you are looking forward to hearing from them 

After the interview

Make a note of any questions you found it hard to answer. This can help you prepare for future interviews.  

If you are offered the job, let the company know in good time if you want to accept the job. You can also agree on a start date.  

If you decline the job, decline it politely as you may want to work with them in the future. 

If you do not get offered the job, stay positive. This is a chance to learn from the experience. You can ask for feedback on the interview and use this feedback to improve your next interview. 

Further support

A range of organisations can support with your job search, some examples are below:

Jobs at Reading Borough Council

Browse and apply to current vacancies on our dedicated careers website

Team Reading logo
Last updated on 19/06/2024