Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

    • Harrybrown100121
    • By Harrybrown100121 21st Sep 19, 7:03 PM
    • 10Posts
    • 7Thanks
    Preparing for an interview
    • #1
    • 21st Sep 19, 7:03 PM
    Preparing for an interview 21st Sep 19 at 7:03 PM
    I have got an interview soon and I am not having much luck with them. I find it difficult to prepare for them. Can I ask how you prepare/ how much time per day per week you allow. I find it difficult to come in for work and do preparation work.
Page 1
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 21st Sep 19, 8:37 PM
    • 40,098 Posts
    • 37,464 Thanks
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 19, 8:37 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Sep 19, 8:37 PM
    Well, I wouldn't be preparing for an interview while at work in my current job. I'd be doing it at home.

    Not that I've had to think about interviews for a while, but prep would consist of re-reading the application I'd submitted, maybe researching more about the company I had applied to, working out if there was anything else I wanted to know, and seeing if there was anything obvious they'd be asking me.

    If there are any questions I'd find difficult to answer - eg if I'd been out of work for a while, or had any extended recent periods of sick leave to explain - I'd practise saying my preferred answers out loud.

    And I'd do the same for the "why do you want this job" kind of question.
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
    • keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    • By keepcalmandstayoutofdebt 22nd Sep 19, 12:00 AM
    • 3,819 Posts
    • 2,000 Thanks
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 19, 12:00 AM
    • #3
    • 22nd Sep 19, 12:00 AM
    I always do my indepth research a day or hours before for 90% of interviews and it works well as it's then in the forefront of your mind.

    I had a telephone interview recently which has progressed to an interview offer / computer assessment when they just asked the most unusual questions, albeit a serious point was made that they don't want someone to use the vacancy as a stopgap so I have been thinking about what needs to be said.

    Ultimately, all you can do is go along and be yourself. No two interviews are ever the same.
    Not leaving my 'childhood' Home without a fight
    • eamon
    • By eamon 22nd Sep 19, 11:32 AM
    • 1,887 Posts
    • 1,335 Thanks
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 19, 11:32 AM
    • #4
    • 22nd Sep 19, 11:32 AM
    Have a really good read through the job advert & your application again. You have obviously scored high enough to get an interview so well done for that.
    Next assuming that you know the indentity of the potential employer (years ago via an agency I interviewed for a position and they point blank refused to tell me the employers name and the industry), then research them as much as you can.
    Youtube/google interview styles & typical questions, then practice by speaking your answers out loud.

    Plan your journey to the interview beforehand and do a dry run, if driving is there anywhere to park? If you don't drive can you get there by bus/train? Again do a dry run.

    Dress to impress.
    Arrive in good time (10 mins is good), don't be late. If you smoke, don't for at least 2 hours and not in your interview clothes.

    Decline any offers of refreshments, you will spill it so don't tempt fate.

    Lastly, best of luck.
    • Yugen Bonsai
    • By Yugen Bonsai 22nd Sep 19, 12:32 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    Yugen Bonsai
    • #5
    • 22nd Sep 19, 12:32 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Sep 19, 12:32 PM
    There are many ways that you can prepare for an interview, but it's impossible to prepare for every question. Recruiters often throw a couple of weird questions into the mix to get a really gauge for who you are. Remain calm and answer them like you would with any other question. Don't stress out as the interviewer knows it's a question you can't have prepared for.

    I'd highly recommend researching the company in detail beforehand. Scan through their website and make a note of who the key players are. For example, the CEO, any directors that might be related to the role you're interviewing for. Also look through their news section as they will be shouting about all of their new initiatives and if you go into the interview showcasing your knowledge of this, it's a big tick in the box. You can show that you want to work for the company rather than just getting a job for the money, just by showing you have knowledge of the company.

    Read through the job description and take note of the section where they explain what and who they are looking for. These are usually in a bullet point format. Make notes on examples where you show you match exactly what they're looking for. For example if they want knowledge of a certain computer system, make sure to drop that into your answers explaining how much work you've done with that system and how confident you are. Tick as many boxes as possible.

    Remember at the end of the day, the interviewer will be speaking with many candidates and only one can get the job. Don't take it to heart if you don't get the job as sometimes it's completely out of your hands. Keep your chin up and keep going. I'm sure you'll nail it though!

    All the best of luck!
    • assj
    • By assj 22nd Sep 19, 9:22 PM
    • 2,018 Posts
    • 826 Thanks
    • #6
    • 22nd Sep 19, 9:22 PM
    • #6
    • 22nd Sep 19, 9:22 PM
    Great idea to prepare whilst at work, it means you will be well rested during the week of the interview.

    I found that that checking I have all documents in order, nicely presented and printed early is a good way to keep calm.

    During a recent interview I attended the wrong location, I had allowed an extra hour luckily and managed to reach the interview location with 2 minutes to spare, I parked in a private parking space and had to run. Luckily no ticket, and I got the job. That was luck, so I recommend checking the parking/ access location and arriving very early, if you drive check you enter the postcode correctly.

    One of the steps I take is to look up the recruiter online, I use Linkedin and always check out what they have done and where they have been, I find this will help you understand what their focus is and what interests them, you will also know who they are if they come to greet you on the day.

    For my own success last minute/ day before/ day of has been the best, and I have succeeded. Providing you are suitably qualified and experienced I would not read too much into the questions, you can never be sure what will be asked, finding questions you don't know existed can add more stress.

    Good luck.
    • Thomas The Tank Top
    • By Thomas The Tank Top 23rd Sep 19, 4:54 AM
    • 225 Posts
    • 536 Thanks
    Thomas The Tank Top
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 19, 4:54 AM
    • #7
    • 23rd Sep 19, 4:54 AM
    Don't forget to polish your shoes.

    Have a story to tell how you saved the day, or managed to handle a difficult customer.
    • SadieO
    • By SadieO 23rd Sep 19, 12:17 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    • #8
    • 23rd Sep 19, 12:17 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Sep 19, 12:17 PM
    Think of a good answer to the question "why did you apply for this job"/"why do you want to work as a X" [especially if it is different to your previous jobs]/"why do you want to leave your current job" etc, as it is likely you will be asked something along these lines, however they word it they basically want to know why you applied. I once gave a job to someone who had absolutely no direct experience, but had obviously prepared very well and gave an excellent answer explaining why he wanted to change industries and the ways in which he could identify how his previous skills were transferable to the new job. Your answer should directly relate to the job and not any personal circumstances - if your real reason for applying is that it's more money/better hours/nearer your home etc don't say so! You can say something about wanting a new challenge but make sure it's clear why you want this job in particular, rather than any other job.

    And good luck!

    Prepare some examples you could use if you get situational questions (eg "tell me about a time you had to think on your feet", "tell me about a time you had to work as part of a team" etc). Go through the job spec and think about examples that can show how you meet their criteria. Think of a few examples that you could use for a variety of questions. As Thomas the Tank Top says, think of a situation where something went wrong and you dealt with it. You could use that as an example of how you stay calm under pressure, how you deal with difficult situations, how you prioritise, how flexible you are (eg if you had to drop other things to deal with the problem, how did you decide - in my area people are quite fond of the Urgent-Important Matrix, look it up), what you did afterwards to stop it going wrong in the future etc.

    Do you have anyone you could do a practice interview with? As eamon says, it's good to say your answers out loud.

    And good luck!
    • Atypi Gal
    • By Atypi Gal 24th Sep 19, 2:24 PM
    • 29 Posts
    • 42 Thanks
    Atypi Gal
    • #9
    • 24th Sep 19, 2:24 PM
    • #9
    • 24th Sep 19, 2:24 PM
    Congrats on interviewing You passed the hardest cull and you're almost there.

    Definitely prepare. There are certain questions that have now crept into "Interview Technique". Personally I think they're idiotic and only tell an employer who can prepare for interviews and BS well. But they still seem to think they should ask these things, so the charming and confident person gets the job rather than the one with the perfect CV. The good news is that if you prepare your ten or so "likely questions" you will feel confident in the interview.

    One of them almost certainly will be to describe your biggest weakness or an area where you need to upskill. These are impossible to answer "correctly" so do not panic. Identify something completely unrelated to work but really minor that was IN THE PAST, and babble on about something you've done in order to correct that already. Bonus points if you can show evidence you no longer need to worry about this.

    SadieO is bang on about the teamwork question, it will come up even if worded differently ("talk to me about how you delegate" is one they might throw in, answer this with your "teamwork" prepared answer, using "we" repeatedly instead of "I").

    My personal bugbear is the one that asks how you change workplace practice when a manager is against your idea for improvement. This tests your ability to influence people and present a successful argument. Make up a story in advance about how the manager didn't like your idea, so you went away and did research in your own time, showed her in far more detail how you were prepared to do things, and she agreed to give you a chance. Obviously it succeeded etc and it helped the two of you to trust one another and work more efficiently together...

    Start with an internet search looking for "common interview questions". Then stalk your interviewer on social media to see what they look like, whether they have a dog, interest in fashion, gym addiction, whatever, and include something "randomly chatty" and not interview-related in your first few sentences to break the ice - of course it will be something you very quietly know they'll smile about! Making that "chatty" connection will pay dividends and help them see you as a memorable person, not a CV. I personally don't look my age so I like to throw in "my children have grown up and left home" into an interview, which firstly lets on that I'm not a 30-something at all and secondly will often get a grey-haired interviewer on side. But it can be anything conversational, like what a lovely view from the office here, isn't it nice to be able to walk to work, or just chatting about the weather.

    PS. Contact previous interviewers and ask for feedback to help you improve. They might give you some insight into which questions you can work on for next time.
    Last edited by Atypi Gal; 24-09-2019 at 2:28 PM.
    • Harrybrown100121
    • By Harrybrown100121 1st Oct 19, 8:54 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Sorry for the late reply. Many thanks for all the suggestions
    • Exodi
    • By Exodi 2nd Oct 19, 11:27 AM
    • 861 Posts
    • 1,083 Thanks
    Depending on how versed you are on 'generic' questions, I'd say a few hours. For example, I'd prepare some responses in your mind to;

    "tell us a bit about yourself"
    "what do you know about us"
    "why do you want to work for us"
    "why should we hire you"
    "where do you see yourself in 5 years"
    "tell us a positive and a negative about yourself"
    "tell us about a time where you went above and beyond"
    "do you have any questions for us"
    Know what you don't
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 2nd Oct 19, 11:30 AM
    • 3,796 Posts
    • 7,261 Thanks
    As above - prepare for all the standard questions. Nothing worse than being asked 'Why do you want to work here?', thinking 'I knew they'd ask this' - but not having a thought in your head.

    Also, think back to previous interviews, to other 'non-standard', or industry-specific questions you've been asked, and think about how you wished you'd answered them the last time.

    No time spent on prep is wasted.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

1,275Posts Today

7,680Users online

Martin's Twitter