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Interview tips

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The interview

Preparation

If you have not had experience of an interview, you can book time with a careers adviser who can put you through your paces and help you get an idea of how the interview will proceed. Prior to the interview re-read any information you received. Refresh your memory as to what you put in your application form and what was said in the vacancy, job description etc. Also, it is a good idea to find out about the employer and any current issues affecting them – You can do this by checking their website. Most council websites addresses are made up of the area followed by. gov.uk e.g. www.Northumberland.gov.uk

Structure of an interview

Either a single person or panel will conduct interviews. You will be asked questions to assess whether you have the skills and experience to do the job and can meet all the requirements of the job description and person specification. The length of the interview will depend on the post you are applying for, but tend to vary between 30 minutes and 1 hour. At the end of the interview, you will be invited to ask questions yourself. It can be difficult to think of questions on the spot so it’s always a good idea to prepare a few beforehand relating the role you are applying for or their future plans.

Selection tools

Some employers might have other elements to the selection process such as typing, aptitude or general exercises to show how you would deal with certain tasks. They may also ask you to do psychometric tests or attend a group selection day to see how you work with other people. These types of activities tend to vary depending on the role, however you will always receive prior notice if tests or group activities are to form part of the interview.

What happens if you don’t get an interview

As response and competition for vacancies can be very high it is often difficult for employers to acknowledge your application. Many give a timescale on their application form stating if you have not heard anything within a certain time scale that your application has been unsuccessful.

If this is the case don’t be discouraged, competition for jobs can be tough. Take time out to look at your completed application form and see if there is anything you can do to improve it in the future.

Interviewed but didn’t get the job

Don’t give up! Getting through for interview is very positive – it means that your application worked. Try contacting the council and asking for feedback so you know where you did well and the things that you might need to improve upon. You can then put this in to practice at your next interview.

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