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Five tips for effective interview practice

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Published: 29 July 2021

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Are you someone who dreads interviews? It’s not an uncommon feeling. The night before can be restless as you run over the following day in your mind.  

But that anxiety is not something you have to go through. The key to beating the pre-interview nerves – preparation.  

Follow these five tips and get yourself ready to succeed.  

1) Research  

It’s something you’ll have heard a lot when it comes to job interviews, but it’s worth repeating.  

The more you know about the company you’re applying to, the better your chances of landing that dream job.  

That’s because recruiters don’t just want to know you have the skills to do the job, they’re looking for people that care about their company and can prove it.  

Look through their website and social media as a starting point. But make sure you take it further. Do they have a Wikipedia page? What about their reviews on sites like Glassdoor?   

2) Look for common interview questions  

The best way to prepare is to find out what kinds of things you might get asked when you sit down, either in person or through a video chat.  

A lot of people worry about the kinds of things they’ll get asked, but the truth is most recruiters ask similar things every time.  

Common ones include: ‘tell us about yourself’, ‘why do you want to work for us?’ and ‘what are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?’  

As a place to start, check out the Muse’s list of the 50 most common interview questions 

3) Practice  

Now you’re ready to start preparing your answers.   

Remember to be specific, positive, impactful and genuine. Try to avoid giving too many negative answers.   

For example, use the question ‘why do you want to leave your current job’ to talk about the things that attracted you to the one you’re applying to.   

But, if you are asked the question ‘what is your biggest weakness’ don’t be tempted to try and say something positive and pretend it’s a character flaw.  

For example, ‘I’m too dedicated to my work.’ It comes off sounding fake. It’s better to be honest about what you need to improve at and show that you’re already taking steps to get there.   

4) Think of your own questions  

At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be allowed to ask the interviewers something.   

This is a great opportunity to see if the place is a good fit for you, so think about what you want to ask carefully.  

It could be generic such as ‘what’s the best thing about working at the company.’   

But it could also be on a specific project or piece of news you’ve found during your research.  

It’s another opportunity to show you have thought about the business and are willing to invest your time.   

5) Work out the logistics  

Finally, one of the best ways of easing some of your nerves is to work out all the things you can in advance.  

That means preparing your clothes the night before and mapping the route or even going there ahead of time if the interview is in person.  

If it’s online, do you know where you want to do it? Will the WiFi be strong enough, is the room going to be quiet?   

For tips on preparing for an online chat, read our article Mistake to avoid in your virtual interview.   

With the right amount of preparation and some careful thought, you can make sure you’re showcasing the best you have to offer.   

Good luck!  

The University of Sunderland in London’s Careers and Employability office is here to help you get ready for life after graduation.  

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass 

Alternatively, email careers-london@sunderland.ac.ukFind out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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