Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I is for... Interviews

an interview is not an exam

Graduates can very easily fall into the trap of treating an interview (and preparation for said interview) a bit like an exam.

  • By cramming
  • By leaving preparation to the last minute (night before or the train journey) and
  • By "winging it" 
It is important to appreciate that an interview for a job requires preparation. It is not a simple matter of reaching into the dark recesses of your brain for a nugget of information that was mentioned at a workshop six months ago. There will be new things to learn about in advance - things you might not necessarily know. This is usually (and at minimum) the background about the company you are interviewing with.

An Interview is a conversation

  • Don't get stressed when you don't know an answer - you will get prompts.
  • Don't always expect a right (and a wrong) answer 
An interview is about engaging and having a conversation. If you don't know the exact answer to a more technical question (as opposed to a personal question) intellegent conversation and a good, engaging personality may save you.

Listen to what the interviewer is saying to you, and respond to it. Don’t let the stuff that you’ve read up on or the stress/nerves crowd out the listening part of your brain so that you continue to ramble and recite prepared answers or research. Not listening is harder to recover from.

Relax and let the conversation flow.

This is an extract from Putting Pen to Paper's upcoming Career Development Workbook.


  1. This is so true, especially your points about how you should have a conversation. The interviewer isn't only looking for right answers--he or she is getting a feel for your personality as well.