Ok so just a little bit about me: I've finally had a successful interview after 7 unsuccessful ones and I wanted to share what I've learnt with those of you preparing for interviews or struggling with them like I was. This is particularly relevant to those trying to get a job post uni.
-Think hard about why you want to work for the organisation you have the interview with and get that stuck in your head! The role I suceeded at interview in I said 'I share your passion for...' when asked why I wanted to work for them. This is very important, as I discovered after one interview where my feedback was 'we thought you had some excellent experience but the person we went with had more passion for our sector'
-Research the organisation: look at what their mission is, what they do, what they are trying to achieve e.c.t
-Go through both the job description and person specification and make sure you have examples for how you meet each point. The more you have from outside university the better.
-Different places use different styles of question, these are the ones I've come across:
1) some places use a comptency based interview, where the interviewers say 'give me a time when you've demonstrated x skill or experience' - one such I got asked was 'tell me about a time when you've liased with stakeholders'
2) some places ask you straightforward questions about experience you have listed such as 'tell me about when you did this project'
3) at my most recent interview I was asked a couple of comptency based questions and also some questions with a bit more scope to interpret the answer.These were 'what is your greatest achievement' and 'give me a time when you took a risk.' Both times I gave answers which involved me demonstrating skills and experience relevant to the role.
Oh and if they ask you 'tell me about yourself' or 'talk me through your CV' make it relevant to the role, don't talk about everything you've done. There may well be more questions which don't fit into any of the 3 catagories so this is no means an exhaustive list.
For all examples I have given though the best way to present your experience is using the STAR format, I'll give a rough guide now but there are more comprenehsive ones online if you google:
If you were working as part of a group remember to focus on what you did as its your experience that counts.
And don't forget to smile and make eye contact!
If you get the role, congratulations. If not then ask for feedback. The initial rejection email might say something generic about 'the role going to someone with more experience' but 9 times out of 10 the organisation will offer you specific feedback if you aask. I had several very useful phone calls where it was pointed out exactly where I fell down and what I needed to do to succeed.
Hope this helps people, if you have any questions or think I've got something wrong or missed something crucial out please feel free to quote me.
Interview tips and advice