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Job interviews

When you go to a job interview, be yourself. Plan what you may be asked and what you will say. Only talk about disability if you want to.

Plan what you’re going to say

The company and role

Look at the company website and job description.

Make sure you can say:

  • 3 things you like about the company
  • why you want to work there
  • why you want the job

It may help to have notes with you at the interview.

Show your skills and experience

You will need to give examples that prove you have the relevant skills and experience. These include things you’ve learned outside of work.

Have an example for each required skill on the job description. You can use the STAR method which stands for:

  • situation
  • task
  • action
  • result

Situation

The time and place when you did something or faced a challenge. This can be from when you were working, volunteering or another relevant event. Be specific. This could be something like a group project.

Task

Say what you were responsible for in that situation. For example, perhaps you manage the group project yourself or worked with a colleague or team.

Action

Talk about what you did. What you were responsible for and how you dealt with the challenge. Focus on what you did, not what your team boss or colleague did.

Result

Talk about what you achieved and learned.

“Tell us about a time you had to complete a task under a tight deadline.”

 

Answer by analysing the situation, task, action and result.
SituationWhile I usually like to plan my work out in stages and complete it piece by piece, I can also achieve strong results under a tight deadline. Once, an employee left my old company days before a big project of his was due.
TaskI was asked to take it over, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project.
ActionI formed a task force and created a plan to delegate the work.
ResultWe all completed the assignment with a day to spare. I tend to thrive under tight deadlines.

 

“Tell me about yourself”

Follow the structure that you have in your CV. Begin with an overview of your highest qualification. Then run through the jobs or volunteering positions you’ve had so far. Give brief examples of the achievements and skills. Your interviewer will ask if they want to know more.

“What are your strengths?”

Pick 3 strengths that you think will get you the job. Give examples of how you have used them at work.

“What are your weaknesses?”

Working to improve your skills is a strength. Pick an area to highlight where you have done something to improve. You could talk about IT as a weakness, for example and what you did to improve your skills.

Never say “I do not have any weaknesses” or "I work too hard".

“Why should we hire you? What makes you stand out?”

Look at the job description again to find out what they’re looking for. Link this to your strengths and skills.

You could start by saying, “I have strong technical skills and I can build long-term customer relationships.” Then talk about something that you’ve done, and the benefit it brought to the business.

Finish your answer with something like, “Given the opportunity, I could bring this success to your company.”

“What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Show ambition and that you want to make the most of every job you have. Link these back to the job you’re interviewing for.

“Why do you want to work here?”

Show that you know something about the company, and link their values to your goals. Never say "I just need a job."

“What 3 good things would your last boss say about you?”

Say something to show that you're:

  • capable of doing the job well
  • committed to the work
  • a good person to have in a team

For example: "My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can always rely on me, and he likes my sense of humour."

“What salary are you asking for?”

Prepare by researching how much someone with your skills gets paid. Do not say a specific figure, you can negotiate later.

Search salaries by job title or company (Glassdoor)

“Any questions for us?”

Prepare at least 5 questions about the company and role. Asking about a recent change in the employer's industry is a good place to start. Here are some examples:

  • Why has the position become available?
  • What are the measures used to judge how successful I am in the role?
  • What challenges might I face in the role?
  • What is the desired time frame for reaching the objectives of the role?
  • What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?

In the interview

Plan how you’ll get to the interview and aim to arrive at least 20 minutes early.

Dressing smartly can help create a good impression and make you feel more confident.

Remember to turn your phone off before you go in.

If you’re interviewed by several people, pay attention to each of them.

Be confident about what you know, but show that you also want to learn more.

Try to stay calm and try not to fidget.

Listen to each question and take your time before answering. It’s OK to ask the interviewer to rephrase their question if you do not understand.

Be positive about your old job and the job you’re applying for. Tell the truth and focus on what you can do.

Be aware of your body language

How you behave in an interview can make you look confident. It's as important as what you say. If you cannot do something on this list, you could try to explain why in a confident and friendly way.

  • shake hands firmly
  • sit up straight
  • keep eye contact
  • smile
  • keep your hands still
  • focus

Do not:

  • chew gum
  • put your hands in your pockets

Talking about disability

You do not have to 'disclose' your condition or impairment in your job interview. You can always bring it up later, but talking about it could be the start of a conversation about getting the support you need.

Talking about disability as a job interviewee

After the interview

At the end of an interview, the interviewer will usually tell you when they will contact candidates with their decision. If they do not reply by this date, try contacting them.

Employment information supported by Virgin Media.

We're working with Virgin Media to support 1 million disabled people in getting into and staying in work by the end of 2020.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 03/12/2020

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