Careers advice

Preparing for interviews

Whichever way you choose to apply for a job, you will probably have to go for an interview. The interview gives you the chance to find out more about the job and gives the interviewer the chance to find out more about you.

You are more likely to be successful at an interview if you prepare and practice.

Before the interview

Before attending an interview, make sure you:

  • find out where the interview is being held, who will be interviewing you, at what time, and plan how you will get there
  • decide what you will wear and get the outfit ready the night before - look smart and professional, as first impressions matter
  • re-read the job advert and job description
  • find out about the job or course, company or college, so you can ask the right questions
  • prepare answers to questions you think you may be asked
  • ask someone to give you a practice interview

At the interview

When attending the interview, make sure you:

  • have everything you need for the interview - for example, directions and a copy of your CV
  • arrive 10 minutes before the interview - punctuality creates a good impression
  • smile, shake hands firmly and be polite
  • sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and don't slouch or chew gum
  • try to answer questions as fully as you can, not just with a 'yes' or 'no'
  • ask the questions you have prepared, if they haven't already been discussed in the interview
  • don't lie - employers check facts and may sack you if they take you on and later find out you lied
  • shake hands and thank the interviewer for seeing you, at the end

After the interview

The interviewer might call to inform you of the outcome or provide provide feedback. If they do, listen carefully and remember to remain polite.

Whatever the outcome, you can get something positive from every interview:

  • think about the questions you were asked and whether you could have provided better answers
  • think about how you can improve your interview technique
  • learn from the experience and use it to help prepare for your next interview
  • you never know, there may be more opportunities with that company or college in the future

More help and advice

If you are aged 16 to 19 years-old, or up to 25 years-old with special educational needs, go to pages on career support for young people.

If you are 20 years-old or older, contact the National Careers Service.