You should never go into a job interview without being prepared. The right preparation is key to confronting and successfully overcoming the job interview process, in the UK or any country.
UK companies are increasingly more meticulous and methodical when it comes to interviewing their candidates. Today it’s not just about what you’ve studied or your previous work experience, but also what skills you have and what you are capable of doing with them.
You will have already written a good cover letter and CV to get to the interview stage of the UK job application process, but if you do not prepare fully for the UK job interview then you will not secure employment.
Advice to prepare a job interview in the UK
Research the company prior to the interview
You will already have researched what the company does and how it operates when you wrote the cover letter. But when it comes to preparing for the job interview, the background search into the company must be much more exhaustive.
Prepare the answers to the most common questions
There are questions that are repeated in almost all interviews, so you have no excuse if you don’t know how to respond to them or they catch you off guard. The most frequent job interview questions usually focus on your motivation for the job, your work experience, personal skills, and your knowledge of the company to which you’re applying. There are also certain types of questions. So even if an interviewer tries to catch you out by wording a question strangely, you will have a general idea of the answer.
Know the key elements of your CV and cover letter
It is important to have an in-depth knowledge of the key points on your CV and what you highlighted on your cover letter. The interviewer might pick out a particular bullet point or sentence from one of the documents. So be prepared!
Know what type of interview you are facing
The two most popular types of job interviews in the UK are the personal and the panel. A personal interview is a one-on-one question & answer session with an interviewer, whilst the panel interview is where there are several interviewers in front of you at one time. Make sure you are aware of which type of interview you are going in for, otherwise you could get a nasty surprise!
Unsure about how to dress for a UK job interview? The clothes that you wear to a job interview are a reflection of how seriously you are taking the job position and the company, as well as how you conduct yourself as a professional. Consult our advice about what to wear for a job interview and make sure that the interviewer’s attention is on what you are saying; not what you are wearing!
Have some questions prepared for the interviewer
In Britain, it is common that the interviewer will invite you to ask him or her some questions at the end of the job interview. Have some prepared previously, demonstrating your interest in the company and the job position itself.
You can ask about the responsibility you will have, the team you will be working with, the type of projects in which you will be involved, and much more. It is also good to bring up a question about something important that has happened recently. You really want to show your commercial awareness to the interviewer by tailoring a piece of news you have heard recently to the job position. You could ask, for example, about how a national economic change has affected the organisation or how a recent natural disaster has changed the way the company carries out its work. For some more ideas about questions, read our UK job interview questions page.
Working conditions and salary
During the recruitment process, which is comprised of several interviews, it is not very normal to discuss your salary or working conditions. Unless the interviewer explains them to you and discusses your salary, it is best not to mention it or ask anything about money during the entire process. You want to seem eager to work with the company no matter what they are paying you!
Back to the job interview in the UK