Normally, you will be interviewed by two or three people. One of these will be a representative from the HR Department. The Manager or Supervisor of the relevant department will also be a member of the panel. The letter inviting you to come along for interview will give you the names and job titles of those on the interview panel. Some interviews will include a work-based test or sometimes a short presentation. Again, such details will be outlined in your letter of invitation.
The questions you will asked will be linked to the person specification, so read it again before you attend the interview. Think about the type of questions you will be asked and possible answers you could give that would support your application.
Remember, interviewers will understand if you are nervous as most people being interviewed usually are. They will take this into account and will want the interview to go well. Try to relax - everyone makes mistakes.
Listen carefully to the questions being asked, if you do not understand then do not be afraid to ask them to repeat the question. Few people get through an interview without some mistakes so don't get worried or lose heart.
If you have a disability and need any special arrangements, let us know in plenty of time to help us organise this.
Try and feel confident about the situation. If you have been offered an interview, it means that you have already been successful at one stage of applying for the job - your application form has impressed the shortlisting officer enough for them to want to spend time talking to you. You've probably been shortlisted from dozens of applicants, so you've every reason to be confident.
Before the interview
You will normally have at least 5 working days notice before an interview. Use the time to prepare yourself and this will help prevent you feeling nervous.
Make certain you know:
- Where your interview will be held
- How you will get to the interview and how long the journey will take
- Make contingency plans (for looking after children, and so on)
- Take the letter inviting you to interview and any other documents requested in your letter of invitation
- Set off in plenty of time so that you arrive 10 minutes early.
- Think of any questions you may want to ask at the interview and, if necessary, write these down
- When you arrive, give your name to the receptionist.
At the interview
- Good manners and social confidence are important
- Shake hands with the interviewers
- Make yourself comfortable
- Speak up and look at the person who asked the questions whilst you are answering it
- Make sure you know roughly when you'll be informed of the result of the interview
- If you are unsure about any aspect of the job, take the opportunity given to you at the end of the interview to ask the panel questions, e.g. questions about training or career development opportunities, who you will be working with, etc.
Coping with questions
- Try and avoid 'yes' and 'no' answers
- Be honest
- If you are not asked about something that seems relevant and important to you, make sure you find an opportunity to say what you want to.
Examples of interview questions
The panel will use probing questions to help you provide evidence that you have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to do the job. This will normally involve firstly asking a broad question about the subject area and then asking questions that require more specific information. The panel may also ask you "what would you do if" questions. Here are some example questions:
- This job will involve typing reports and letters. What have you done in the past that will help you do this?
- What is your experience of dealing with people over the telephone (broad). How did you deal with any difficult people (specific)?
- Can you tell me when you have had to answer queries from the public (broad). What sorts of information did you provide (specific)?
- What factors would you take into account when providing a service for the elderly?
After the Interview
At the conclusion of you interview you will be told roughly when to expect to be told the outcome.
If you are the successful candidate you will be contacted, usually by telephone, and offered the position. The offer of employment will be subject to suitable references, a medical assessment and sometimes, the satisfactory outcome to a Disclosure Application made to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
If you are not successful, we will write and let you know this. You will be offered the opportunity to claim for any reasonable expenses incurred when attending the interview (subject to your being able to produce suitable receipts or tickets to substantiate your claim).
If you would like feedback on your interview performance, you may request this by contacting the relevant Supervisor/Manager who formed part of the interview panel by phone or e-mail.