Preparing for interviews

You need to do research to help you to effectively prepare for your interview.

Research the role and reflect on yourself

Prior to the interview look back over the job description, person specification and your application. The interviewer(s) will want you to demonstrate that you understand the job role and that you have the skills and competencies to carry out the duties successfully. Knowing what the company are looking for should lead to less surprise questions at interview.

Research the company

Interviewers will expect you to have some knowledge of the organisation and you should be prepared to deal with a related question, such as 'Why do you want to work for us?' or 'What do you know about our organisation?'. A good place to start is the company website, where you should look at the Mission Statement and Core Values. However, research should extend wider than this and other sources of information include:

  • Reliable news articles 
  • Other graduate employees - look at
  • Employer directories such as TARGETjobs and Prospects
  • Careers and Recruitment Fairs
  • SHU library resources
  • Company presentations
  • Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (check the company website to see what platforms they are on)

Commercial Awareness

Alongside knowledge of the organisation, you also need to develop understanding of the sector and the wider business world. This applies to both commercial business and public and charitable organisations. Prior to interview you might want to think about:

  • How the business operates and how this might compare to others in the sector
  • What factors influence the organisation - e.g. developments in the industry, impact of Government policy, new and emerging products and technology
  • Customers, competitors and key challenges related to the organisation

Logistics and practical preparation

Knowing what is going to happen on the day, and where, will help you arrive properly prepared and in the right place. The main things to consider are:

  • Location, location, location! Do you know exactly where you are going for your interview? Some companies will have multiple buildings and offices and the interview may not be in the obvious place.
  • Travel time. Plan your route and do a mock run if possible. Think about traffic and weather conditions and allow extra time where necessary.
  • Equipment. If you are doing a presentation as part of your interview make sure you have the correct and compatible equipment. Consider taking paper copies in case the technology fails.
  • Documentation. Read the interview letter carefully and make sure you take everything required. Some organisations will ask you to bring identification and proof of qualifications with you.
Last modified: 
Thursday, February 27, 2020 - 16:33