For most people interviews are nerve-wracking. Yet interviewers are actually quite nice people. Knowing you are well-prepared can help to lessen nerves.
To interview effectively you need to know what you have to offer. You also need to know what the employer is like and what the job will actually involve. You'll need to be able to tell them about the job, giving relevant details and examples.
We have lots of support with interviews on our Careers Toolkit. There is a short course that explains what to expect from different types of interviews. We also give advice on how to create presentations for interviews.
There is also our interview simulator. This lets you practice for your interview with timed questions. You can also watch your interview back. There is also the chance to browse interview questions, with advice on how to answer them:
- Students Interview Short Course (DS login)
- Graduates Interview Short Course
- Students Interview Simulator (DS login)
- Graduates Interview Simulator
Types of interviews
It's quite common for a candidate to be asked to deliver a presentation as part of the interview. The topic may be specific to the role, or may be about the industry, or about yourself. Here are some resources to help prepare:
- Interview tests and exercises - advice from Prospects
- An introduction to science communication (youtube)
- How to deliver a presentation that's worthy of a graduate job - comprehensive article from TargetJobs
- 10 top tips for interview presentations - Jobs.ac.uk
- 8 tips on how to make your interview presentation shine - Guardian article
How to prepare
To help prepare for interviews:
- attend seminars and workshops led by employers to develop your job search skills
- use Prospects and TargetJobs for information on different types of interviews. For example, telephone, competency-based, and technical. There are also examples of typical interview questions, and tips on how to prepare for these
- make sure you know how to deal with telephone interviews. Some employers use these as the first step
- learn about improving your commercial awareness by reading advice from TargetJobs
- get individual advice and feedback from a practice interview or a practice telephone interview with a Careers Consultant
- think about what you will wear. Debut has worked with a variety of charities to produce this guide on how to Dress to impress for £10 and tips on what to wear at an interview
- make sure you have read the latest business news for the industry
- understand what an organisation is doing to drive positive change: Windō is a free resource for students and graduates to quickly access, and easily digest, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans and progress of the UK’s largest organisations and graduate employers. Use it to research what potential employers are doing to protect the planet, look after their employees and to become more diverse, equal and inclusive
Practice your interview technique
Try the interview simulation tool.
This tool allows you to select a bank of questions and then answer them under time pressure. You can even use your webcam to record your responses and then play them back. The tool also includes advice from employers about how to answer interview questions.
After practising with the tool, you may be able to arrange a practice interview with a Careers Consultant. Here you can get personalised feedback on your performance.
- List of employability skills including common interview questions related to those skills from Manchester University Careers Service
- For case study interviews, PrepLounge is a free resource where you can solve a case on your own or join with others to solve it as a team. Sign-up required.
- How use the STAR technique in an interview- article from the Guardian
- Some good advice on answering "Tell me about yourself" - Edinburgh University blog post
- Our advice on using the The STAR approach (pdf)
- Interviews e-learn from PwC
- Interview Skills - hints and tips Youtube video produced by Network Rail
- Interview tips Prospects
Virtual interview advice
- This advice for disabled students on virtual interviews in a time of Covid-19 has useful tips from preparation to during the interview
- "What did you do during lockdown" advice from TARGETjobs about how to answer this COVID related question
Sector and industry guides
See also Assessment Centres for presentation skills
The Careers Service runs a range of seminars to help you with the application process. These include skills sessions delivered by employers as well as short briefing sessions on a regular basis. View our current programme and book online at MyCareer.
Advice on the use of Generative AI (including ChatGPT)
We asked ChatGPT for advice on using it for job applications. Below are the key points, which we agree are helpful:
- Although ChatGPT can be a helpful tool for drafting content it is essential that you personalise what you write in order to showcase your skills, experience and personal attributes. Always tailor what you write to the organisation and role
- ChatGPT doesn’t always generate accurate information. Always check facts, edit for accuracy and relevance and ensure the language and tone is appropriate for a job application
- Be honest: if using ChatGPT might raise issues or concerns with an employer explain why you used it and how it helped you
This advice applies to all submissions you make as part of the application process including CVs, cover letters, application forms, essays, reports, psychometric assessments, and technical challenges. Submitting work written by someone else, including AI, is viewed as plagiarism by employers and as such would result in the rejection of your application.
The Careers Service has many tools to support you in writing unique content for your applications and in preparing for every stage of the application process. Please use them and seek advice if you are unsure so you are not caught out.