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Preparing for an interview

Employers want to know three things – that you can do the job, you want the job and if you'll fit into the team or department.

They will not ask you these questions outright, but shape the interview around finding out if you can meet all three criteria.

Employers want to ensure that they pick the best possible candidate for the job and will achieve this by assessing interviewees against a predetermined list of qualities and abilities.

Interviewers want to appoint candidates who are well rounded and who best demonstrate their suitability for the post. The best person for the job is not necessarily the one who gives the best presentation or the one who can be paid the lowest salary.

Research the company and the role

The most important thing you can do to prepare for an interview is investigate the organisation and the role.

Predict the questions

Interviews are solely structured around the job description and person specification, so it is beneficial to familiarise yourself with all the critical competencies (communication, problem solving, etc.) prior the interview and to identify ways in which you can demonstrate that you use them on a regular basis. Find some examples of interview questions you could be asked.

Emphasise the positive

Employers like a self-reflective worker, so the more examples you have provide where you demonstrate your self-awareness, the better. Be ready to emphasise positive outcomes and why you think you enjoyed something and why you achieved certain results.

However, at times, we all have less positive experiences, and it’s important to reflect on this and demonstrate your learning and what you would do differently.

When assessing yourself, consider:

And be sure to review your CV or application form. Think of how you can expand on any examples and skills and consider some alternatives. Which examples would be the best ones to highlight for the particular job?

Practise, practise, practise

Although there is nothing like the real thing, practising answers to potential interview questions will help you recall answers and examples in the interview itself.

Practising out loud, perhaps with a friend or recording yourself, will help you to hear if your answers sound right.

Book a workshop, mock interview or appointment

Consider booking a mock interview with your Careers Adviser to guarantee you will receive objective feedback and advice. We also offer interview workshops that allow you a chance to practise. These are run in every semester and both are bookable through your Careers Account.

In most cases, attending the interview workshop will prepare you adequately for attending interviews. However if you would like further help, you can book a 30-minute appointment with a careers adviser via your Careers Account. It would be helpful if you provided details of the job and your completed application form or CV and covering letter prior to your appointment.

Mock video interviews

If you would like to undertake a mock video interview, please register on LaunchPad Recruits using your cardiff.ac.uk email address. This is a generic mock interview which will prepare you ahead of video interviews for internships, placements and graduate schemes.

If you complete all questions, we will monitor your feedback and will try to generate practice interviews specifically for your chosen sector. If you have difficulty logging in or using the site, please email support@launchpadrecruits.com. If you have feedback on the interview questions or suggestions for further interviews, please contact us.

Find out more

For help with preparing for an interview, including booking a mock interview, please contact us:

Careers and Employability