Preparing for an interview

This guide also contains information about our values based interview process, which will give you the tools to fully prepare for your interview.

However much preparation you do beforehand, going into an interview is usually slightly nerve-wracking. Do not make the mistake of thinking that, after entering the room, the situation is out of your hands.

There are still a number of techniques you can use to make sure the panel sees you in the best possible light.

It might appear obvious but it is important that you prepare for the day.

  • Make sure you are familiar with the job description and person specification.
  • Remind yourself of what you wrote in your application on how you met those requirements.
  • Learn about the organisation itself – what makes it different from others and whether those differences will have an impact on your work.
  • Think about what type of questions will be asked about yourself and write down some thoughts on how you might answer them.
  • Prepare some questions to ask the panel. Be careful not to ask for information that has already been provided or discussed during the interview.
  • Study our Trust Values as you may have a ‘Values-based’ Interview (more information in the next section).

The Trust now recruits all members of staff via a Values, behaviours and attitudes interview (also referred to as Values-based interview or VBI). The purpose of a Values, behaviours and attitudes interview is to measure whether your attitudes and behaviours align to the Trust’s. We only want great people.

The interview will be split between a skills-based interview and a Values-based interview – this could either be a combined panel, or a separate Values-based and main panel.

All questions within the values-based interview have been developed around our four Values (for more information about our values please see the “Our Values” Guide). The questions will ask for real life experiences, so we advise that you have a think about how you have demonstrated our Values in the past. For example, where you’re been proud of the care or work you’ve delivered or maybe where you haven’t been as proud and the circumstances which surrounded your experience.

There are a couple of simple steps to take to create a good first impression:

  • Arrive in plenty of time and allow for contingencies. Remember some organisations can be quite difficult to navigate round. Have a 'Plan B' for how you will get to the interview. If you do get delayed, make sure you notify the appropriate person within the organisation as soon as possible.
  • Dress appropriately making sure that you send out the right signals about your confidence, self discipline and judgement. It might be useful to check the dress code of the organisation by looking at pictures of staff on the organisation's website or asking around.
  • Make eye contact with all members of the interview panel. Do not just focus on the person who has asked the question you are answering. It is important to engage with all.
  • Smile! It suggests confidence.
  • Be clear and concise in your responses.
  • Structure your answers with 3 or 4 main points of examples from your own experience.
  • Do not assume that the panel know the detail of what is in your application form or CV.
  • Sell yourself - give real examples of 'how' you have achieved a positive outcome, specify what these were and the benefits. Be clear about what your personal contribution was.
  • Remember to use 'I' rather than 'we'.
  • Make sure you understand the organisation's mission and can talk about why it is important to you.
  • Be aware of your body language. You want to convey that you're enthusiastic, positive and energetic.
  • Remember to ask questions as it helps demonstrate that you are keen and want the job.
  • Be positive at all times.

If you would like to practise and perfect your interview technique, there are a set of videos from leading industry professionals. IT will provide you with valuable and practical advice to prepare you for the toughest questions and interview scenarios you may face.

Go to Be My Interviewer.