Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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Succeed in the workplace

4 Preparation: before the interview

Described image
Figure 3 Preparation

If you have attended job interviews before, you will, doubtlessly, have developed your own ways of preparing. In the next activity, you will compare your preparation tactics with those of other people.

Activity 2 Preparing for interviews

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Watch the brief video of Open University students talking about how they tend to prepare for job interviews. Look out for points on why they prepare and how they went about it. Write these in the space provided below the video.

Download this video clip.Video player: preparing_for_interview_1.mp4
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Firstly I'd want to find something out about my employer and if I could spot some of the issues that they would regard as important to them.
Do a bit of research. Always find out the business that the employer is within.
I usually do a background on the company where I'm attending the interview to see how the company has evolved during the last few years and in what direction are they aiming and how I can be an asset to that organisation.
I'd want them to feel that I'd actually made the effort to find out something about them.
Try and put yourself in the position of the employer. What is the employer going to want to see and hear from you.
I'll see to it that whatever's mentioned in the job spec I'm fully aware of it, and what are the plus points from my side which I can put forth in the interview which will contribute or aid in getting the job.
They're going to want to hear and see that you're a confident person, that you're not overly confident and cocky. But they're going to want to see that you can get your point across. They're going to want to see that you know the industry, that you're going to want to be working in and that you have a technical competence that is at the level, or above, what they've stated in the job advert.
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Now compare the answers given in the video to your own preparation strategies, using the prompt questions provided. Add any other thoughts you have, as well and keep a record of it all in your notebook.

  • For past interviews, what things have you tended to do to prepare for them?
  • How long before the interview did you start your preparation?
  • What did you spend most or least time on?
  • Have you had any experiences which left you wishing you had prepared some aspect better than you did? If so, what?
  • Did the comments of the video interviewees suggest any new ideas you might use in future?


Your thoughts and experiences will be very personal to you but most people have been in interview situations that don’t quite go as well as they would have liked. Hopefully, you picked up a few new tips from the video to help you in the future.

Some people find the preparation for interviews difficult. Others find preparation easy but then struggle to use it in the interview. You will learn, in the next section, strategies for strengthening both aspects. The basics of preparing remain the same whatever the interview type but there are also some tips on specific types of interview which need to be considered.

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