What to say in a job interview
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.
Make sure you can say:
- 3 things you like about the company
- why you want to work there
- why you want the job
Skills and experience
You will need to give examples that prove you have the relevant skills and experience. These includes things you’ve learned outside of work.
Have an example for each required skill on the job description. Include the:
- Situation – a 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 – what you were responsible for in that situation. Did you manage the group project or was it up to you to resolve that conflict with a colleague?
- Action – what you did. Talk about what you were responsible for and how you dealt with the challenge. Focus on you, not what your team boss, or colleague did.
- Result – the outcome. Talk about what you achieved and learned.
“Tell us about a time you had to complete a task under a tight deadline”
A step-by-step response to the above question by analysing the situation, task, action and result.
|Situation||While 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.|
|Task||I was asked to take it over, with only a few days to learn about and complete the project.|
|Action||I formed a task force and created a plan to delegate the work.|
|Result||We all completed the assignment with a day to spare. I think 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.
Round off 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 showing that you:
- could do the job well
- are committed to the work
- are 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.
“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
If you’re interviewed by more than one person, pay attention to each of them. Be confident about what you know, but try not to seem arrogant. Try to stay calm and try not to fidget – arriving at the interview at least 20 minutes early will help. Remember to turn your phone off.
Listen to each question 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 one you’re applying for. Tell the truth and focus on what you can do.
Talking about your condition or impairment
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 your need.
Talking about your impairment in an interview
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 one of the things below, you could try to explain why in a confident and friendly way.
- shake hands firmly
- sit up straight
- keep eye contact
- watch your hands
- chew gum
- put your hands in your pockets
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, you can ask. If you do not hear from them after this time, you can get in touch.
Last reviewed by Scope on: 18/04/2018