How to succeed in your interview

Practical help to prepare for your inteview

Your teacher training application has been successful, and you have been invited to attend an interview. However, as the excitement subsides, thoughts soon turn to the practicalities of attending an interview and how to prepare for it.

For many of us, interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if it's been a while since our last one. They can come in a variety of formats, either face-to-face or virtually. If you are attending a virtual interview, our earlier article 5 top tips on acing a remote job interview for teaching provides useful guidance.

We spoke to Bernadette Hynes from the Portsmouth City Council's careers and progression team to learn about practical techniques to succeed in your first interview.

Thanks for taking time out to speak with us. Can you tell us a little about what the purpose of an interview is? 

There are two purposes for an interview. The first is for you to show the employer what you are capable of and how you can contribute to their organisation. The second is for you to find out more about the employer and the role that you have applied for.

In your opinion, how important is interview preparation? 

It's really important. Interview preparation can help you control your nerves and enable you to present yourself in a better way. Simple things like planning your journey can help prevent the huge stress of being late.

Do you have any top tips on techniques you can do to help prepare for an interview?

The first technique I would share is prepare your interview questions. You can do this by researching the organisation to better understand what they do. Other recommendations include searching for frequently asked interview questions online as well as the responses you would need to give. Afterwards, think about what you are going to wear? How you are going to get to the interview? These considerations will help you

Do you have any on the day advice for attending an interview? 

Always leave yourself lots of time to arrive - it's better to be very early than 1 minute late. Remember first impressions count. Think about body language, eye contact, and remember to smile. Remember to be appropriately dressed for the interview regardless of what the job is for. It is better to be too smartly dressed rather than not smart enough.

Do you have any other interview top tips? 

It is perfectly normal to be nervous. By doing your preparation and research you can have confidence knowing you've done everything you can. Don't be scared to take a moment or two to think before you give an answer to a question or ask for a question to be repeated.

When answering a question, think about real life examples you can give. For example, if you are asked about working in a team, think of a time when you worked effectively in a group rather than just saying you can. 

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