You are unlikely to avoid having an interview for most of the jobs you apply for! They are the most common form of assessing a candidate’s suitability for a role, but are also a great opportunity for candidates to ask questions about the role and organisation, as well as getting a feel for what it might be like to work there.
Even if you don't succeed at first, or you're not sure if the job is exactly right for you, interviews provide great experience and can help you feel more confident in future. Getting as much interview practice as possible throughout your career is a good start.
Interviews can take a range of formats and are often carried out by more than one interviewer. They are not always face-to-face but are sometimes over the telephone, especially if it is the first of a number of interviews in the selection process.
It is vital to think through what you may be asked at interview, and to prepare well for this. Follow our tips below to make sure you stand the best chance possible at interview:
- Preparation – Make sure you put aside enough time to prepare for the interview. This may include researching the company (interviewers often like to know you understand what their organisation is about, this can be easily achieved by looking at their website), reading through the job advert or description, thinking about the questions you may be asked. You should also re-read your CV and any application form so that you are familiar with what you have said about yourself.
- Give examples: you will probably be asked to give examples of when you have demonstrated certain skills, especially if they are required for the job or you’ve mentioned them in your CV. Check through the key skills and qualities for the job and make sure you have a good example for each of these.
- Practice: try and practice your interview technique. You can ask a friend to do a ‘mock ‘ interview with you, or if you know someone who has been an interviewer and will help you, even better! Make sure it’s someone who is prepared to give you some honest feedback about how you come across.
- Dress: it’s always best to dress smart for an interview, and is often expected. Even if the job is not one that requires you to dress smartly once you’ve got it, it’s best to try and create the right impression from the outset. Make sure you feel comfortable in your interview outfit; try it on the night before so it's all ready the next day.
- Questions: you should always ask your interviewers at least one question. This shows your interest and they will expect it. Questions are also important because an interview is an opportunity for you to find out if the job is right for you as well as vice versa.
- Additional Support: if you need additional support for an interview due to a disability, let the organisation know in advance. Most organisations would rather know how they can help you, and you’ll be giving yourself the best chance at performing well.
Also check out interview tips from top experts on HR, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD): http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-careers/explore-hr-careers/interview-tips.htm
We have some careers advice specifically aimed at people with disabilities too.