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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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1 Your experience of interviews

It is useful to start this week by considering your own experience of interviews.

Activity 1 Reviewing past interviews

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

This activity is about what you already know and how confident you are about interviews.

Choose a specific past experience of an interview you have attended. If you have no job interview experience to draw on, think more widely. Have you ever been interviewed for a course you wanted to attend or by a health professional as part of a hospital appointment, or by a local journalist about a charity event or family celebration, for instance?

Use the following prompt questions to spark your thinking, but write down whatever you remember about it. Record your thoughts in your notebook.

The ‘facts’ of the interview …

What was the interview for?

Who led the interview?

How many people were involved?

How long was it?

What kind of place was it held in?

The ‘feel’ of the interview …

Was the interview a good experience for you or not? If so, why?

What, if anything, did you find difficult about it?

What do you remember most about it?

The interview in a nutshell …

If you were describing the interview to other people, what three words would you choose to sum it up?

Now take a couple of minutes to assess your current level of confidence in relation to job interviews. You can complete Table 1 in your Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Put ‘today’ against the description which is closest to where you think you are currently, and ‘future’ by where you would like to be by the end of this week.

Table 1 Your level of confidence
Scale NumberDescriptor
1I am supremely confident – this is something I am really good at. I do not worry about it all.
2I think I am pretty good at interviews once I get in the room, but I am usually a bit nervous before them.
3It depends a bit on the interviewers. I am usually nervous when we start, but if they settle me in, I can give a good account of myself.
4It’s a bit hit and miss. I have had some interviews where I think I have presented myself pretty well and others where I have barely strung a sensible sentence together.
5Not great. I get very nervous before it and then when I get in the room, sometimes I let that get the better of me for the first half of the interview.
6Pretty dire usually. I am fine at writing the application but I do not seem to be able to present my best self in the interview room and the more I think about it before, the more nervous I get.
7This is the thing I fear most and I am really bad at it. It is a big source of frustration because I know it stops me from getting the jobs I want.
0I do not know – I have not had enough job interviews to be sure.


This brief exercise puts a ‘peg in the ground’ and at the end of the week you will have the opportunity to reassess and to decide what action, if any, to take.

Now you’ve had a chance to consider your past experiences, let’s consider why interviews are used in recruitment and what an interviewer wants to achieve.