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Interview Tips

Your covering letter and CV were a success and you’ve been selected for an interview! Our supported employment team have helped lots of people overcome complex barriers that they have faced when getting back into work. These can include long-term unemployment, childcare responsibilities, lack of confidence, learning and mental health barriers and other complex obstacles.

Our team have prepared some top interview tips to help you land that job and sail through your interview with flying colours.

Interview Tips

    • If you’ve been out of work for a while, explain to employers why, this may be due to sickness, redundancy or a lack of job searching skills, discussing this shows professionalism and your ability to learn from mistakes and/or resilience and strength, prospective employers will be impressed at your determination and honesty.
    • Explain what you were doing whilst you were unemployed or not working and not seeking work, a few examples may include, volunteering, training, job seeking (full time), networking, family care, change in industry or career path and illness.
    • Talk to the interviewer about industry news and updates, this shows that you have a genuine interest and that you’ve stayed up to date if you’ve been unemployed for a while.
    • Volunteer work and work experience placements are an ideal way to prove to the interviewers that you are committed to keeping and gaining skills. If you’ve attended Taking Charge of Your Life or World of Work or any other course you feel is relevant, mention this too as again it demonstrates your willingness to get back into work and/or enthusiasm for the role and company.
    • If you struggle with confidence, whether it be due to long-term unemployment or otherwise, build it up by attending our Taking Charge of Your Life or World of Work courses which are the perfect preparation for interviews. Another option is to make an appointment with one of our employment specialists, they can prepare you by holding mock interviews so you can go into the interview with confidence.
    • Greet your interviewer with a smile, make eye contact and give a firm handshake! Make small talk as they take you from reception to the interviewing room, you’ll find that building a rapport before the interview will put you and them at ease, making that actual interview a lot less scary.
    • Be prepared, have a copy of your CV and the advertised job description to hand. Research the company, make sure you know their main products/services, when they were established and what their typical customer is.
    • Dress appropriately, make sure you look presentable.
    • Arrive 10 minutes before, if you’re not familiar with the location, practice the journey the day before to see how long it’ll take you to get there in traffic through your chosen method of transport.
    • Don’t use slang or swear, interviewers will find this unprofessional.
    • Be honest about your skills and experience, and don’t speak negatively about your previous employers.

Types of Interviews

Group Interviews

A group task will be given and you’ll be observed on your skills.

Telephone Interviews

This helps companies find out more about you that might not be included on your CV and application form, typically to decide if they want to call you to a face to face interview.

Panel Interviews

Involves three or more people where they take it in turns to ask questions

Common Interview Questions

Need some ideas on how to answer common interview questions? 

“Tell me about yourself?”
Don’t repeat what is already on your CV, try and talk for approximately 2 minutes and tell them who you are, what you want to achieve in your career, mention highlights of relevant job experience, close with a few hobbies.

“What would your old colleagues say about you?”
Tell the truth but leave out any negatives, examples can include a great team player, conscientious and dedicated.

“Have you ever had a situation at work you found difficult and how did you deal with it?”
Talk about any situations you found stressful, for example, if a customer lost their temper, how did you deal with it? For example, you could answer by saying “I took a step back, apologised that they felt this way and calmly offered the customer the next best solution with a 10% discount.”

“What are your weaknesses?”
Don’t say you are a perfectionist, give an example of a weakness and how you’ve overcome it, for example, if you had a lack of confidence which made you shy and withdrawn from customers, say you attended a course that changed your perspective and now you find interacting with customers a delight.

“What are your strengths?”
This is your time to shine, tell them what makes you an ideal candidate for the role by stating your key skills, this may be that you’re great at managing your own performance by setting objectives and to-do lists, you’ve volunteered and led a team to success.

“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”

Discuss your objectives for your career, keep it specific to the organisation you’re applying to work for, recruitment is costly and they want to ensure they are hiring the right person, not someone who might leave in six months’ time if it’s a permanent role.

Talk about your enthusiasm for the industry and how you want to see yourself succeed for the greater good of the company.

Second Interviews

If you pass the first stage of interviews, you may be asked to attend a second interview, this is to find out more about you, expand upon your answers given in the first interview and will focus on your suitability to the role and company.

Follow Up From Interviews

Reinforce the fact you’re interested in the role and thank the interviewer for their time, either by email, letter or phone call, employers will appreciate this effort.

If You’re Unsuccessful

Ask for feedback, this allows you to learn from the experience, don’t be disheartened, there is lots of competition out there. Your Landau job coach or employment specialist will be able to help you digest this feedback and prepare a plan to help you move forward.

Need to talk to a person?

Our team of employment specialists can hold mock interviews to prepare you for the real thing and support you if you’ve attended an interview and not got the job, take the first step and get in touch with the team.

Think we can help someone you know?

If you’re an organisation, parent, guardian, carer or know someone you think we can help, refer them to Landau here.

Need some more advice?