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Returning to STEM
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4 Interview confidence and preparation

Fear of interviews can act as a barrier to employment, so it’s a good idea to work on your confidence in this area, and the easiest way to improve your confidence is to practise and prepare. There is a limit to how much this course can help you prepare for a specific interview, but we can offer you some hints and tips.


Preparation is the key to a successful interview. In particular you should:

  • check in advance what the format of the interview will be; for example, how many people will be on the panel; will you need to do a presentation?
  • familiarise yourself with what the job entails
  • decide how your skills and experience suit the role by checking the selection criteria or the job description
  • try to predict what you may be asked and draft suitable answers to generic questions – think about examples from your study, work or personal life to demonstrate key skills. Typical interview questions include:
    • a.Why do you think you are suitable for this role?
    • b.Why do you want to work for this company?
    • c.How would you deal with the following situation(s) (specific to your sector)?
    • d.Examples of working in a team, dealing with conflict, and so on.
  • read through your CV or application form and covering letter thoroughly
  • prepare some questions to ask the interviewers at the end.

Once you have thought about questions you might be asked, practise saying your responses out loud and confidently – you could do this by yourself or with someone you trust. Think about your body language and, if you wish, try out some of the expansive poses recommended by Amy Cuddy [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] on body language and confidence. If you are someone who gets so nervous that you don’t think you can manage an interview situation, it might be worth trying some relaxation techniques or, alternatively, consult your GP for advice on coping with stress. It’s quite common to feel like this, especially after a long time outside work.