banner 6

Interview preparation – early years, professional and support

What do I need to do before an interview?

Give yourself plenty of time to:

  • Research the role and the school.
  • Ensure you ask for resources and/or data if necessary to support you in any assessment activities.
  • Think about how well your experience, interests and skills fit the job and the school.
  • Find out what the prospective employer is actually looking for.
  • Anticipate questions you might be asked, then prepare answers to these questions.
  • Have some examples in your mind of times when you have demonstrated key competencies in your previous role - if the school want to see evidence of creative thinking, can you give an example from your current role?

You should also:

  • Plan the day of the interview, especially your journey, with the aim to arrive ten minutes early
  • Take care in deciding what to wear. Suits and businesswear are the best option, but be sure that you will be comfortable in your interview

How do I make a good impression at a job interview?

Stand out for all the right reasons by ensuring you:

  • Arrive on time or slightly early.
  • Listen carefully to questions and answer them concisely.
  • Highlight your best attributes in the interview. Think beforehand about what you want the interviewer to know about you (in relation to the job) during the interviewing process.
  • Pay attention to how you communicate – remember that non-verbal communication can be just as important as what is said.
  • Practise anything you're concerned about. This could be saying your answers aloud, which builds confidence, or having a trial run of the journey to the interview.

What techniques can I use to control my nerves?

In interviews, nerves can make you forget to do simple things such as smiling and listening, which can result in being thought of as unfriendly or inattentive. You're less likely to be nervous if you're adequately prepared, so you should:

  • Give yourself time before the interview to think about the unique qualities you will bring to the post
  • Think of practical examples to demonstrate what you have achieved, drawing on all aspects of your working, educational and social life
  • Write notes and take these along to the interview
  • Use cues in your notes to highlight examples that you want to use
  • Pause before answering a difficult question, to give yourself time to think
  • Use positive language, as interviewers will be assessing your motivation and enthusiasm
  • Ask for clarification if you're unsure of what a question means

What should I take to a job interview?

  • Your invitation to interview should detail everything you need to bring. Often employers request examination certificates, which can take time to locate, so make sure you check what you need in plenty of time
  • It’s always worth having a pen and notebook with you. If you are giving a presentation, take a copy on a data stick (even if you have emailed it to the school beforehand), along with copies of the slides to use as handouts for the interview panel

If you take a mobile phone, make sure it is switched to silent or off before entering the organisation