Chewed pencil

Top Tips for Interview Preparation

If you have secured an interview, then congratulations! This is an excellent achievement in today’s competitive marketplace. Be reassured that the recruiters believe that you can do the job, but the interview is your opportunity to persuade them that you will be a great fit for the department. So how can you prepare? 

Advance Preparation: 

  • Find out as much as you can about the format of the day. For example, who will be on the interview panel? Will you have to give a presentation and how long are you allocated? Will there be an informal tour or lunch? The more information that you have upfront the better you can prepare and put yourself at ease. 
  • Review the institution / departmental website so that you know what the institutions strategic priorities are and who your potential collaborators could be. This will also allow you to think about your fit within the department and how you can contribute straight away. 
  • Review your application and the job description to remind yourself what they want in a candidate and what you told them. Your CV and accompanying documents may well form the basis of certain interview questions. 
  • Predict questions that will be asked of you and plan your answers. It is useful to have thought about the types of questions that could be asked and how you might answer them so that you can provide the best evidence and examples as to how you meet the criteria for the role. Reassure the recruiter(s) of your suitability to do the job and do it well. 
  • Undertake a mock interview with our Research Staff Careers Consultant. Practice your answers with family and friends or record yourself answering questions. 

On the day: 

  • Dress smartly (even if it is an online interview) as interviews are a formal occasion so be sure to project a positive image to your future employers. 
  • Be aware of your body language throughout the process. Smile as it will help you to appear relaxed and engaged with the process. Be aware of your breathing as this can betray any nerves that you may feel. 
  • Make eye contact with everyone on the panel, not just the individual who asked the question. 
  • Don’t forget to ask questions at the end of the process (if given the opportunity). If you don’t have any questions this can call into question your motivation for the role. Avoid asking questions around salary as this is better discussed at the offer stage. 
  • At the very end of the interview smile and thank them for their time! 

For further information on preparing for interviews see the ‘Guide for interviews & CV’ section on the IAD website. Remember that you can book a Mock Interview or have a more general discussion on interview preparation. See the ‘Career Development Consultation’ pages on the website to book through People & Money. 


This blog was written by Eleanor Hennige.  Eleanor is the IAD’s Research Staff Careers Consultant, supporting fixed-term research staff at the University with their career planning and options.  In addition to running our 1:1 appointments, she also delivers our suite of career workshops, career discussion groups and works with Schools/Research Staff Societies on career specific events and workshops.  Eleanor works on a part-time basis (5 mornings a week) and can be contacted at 


(Image by congerdesign from Pixabay )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.