How to prepare for an interview

Congratulations, you’ve been invited to an interview. Whatever happens next, you should see this as a big achievement.

You can be confident that you have the skills and knowledge the employer is looking for, so here’s your chance to demonstrate why you’re a strong candidate.

If you’re preparing for a performance-based audition, we’ve got more information on conservatoire auditions.

How to prep for an interview

Preparation is key to a successful interview. Here are our top tips:

  • Use the STAR method: Check over the vacancy and note down the skills listed as important, problem-solving for example. Prepare two or three examples for each of these skills, using your experience to showcase how you have demonstrated them. Try using the STAR method (situation, task, action, result).
  • Do your research: Learn about the company you’re applying to so you can demonstrate why you want to work for them. A common interview question is “Tell us what you know about us”. Key things to think about are the values and goals of the company, any key projects they’ve worked on, and what you like about them. Even if you don’t get asked, talking about why you like the company shows you are genuinely interested.
  • Prepare your questions: After an interview, it’s always a good idea to ask a couple of follow-up questions. It shows you’re interested in the role and helps you engage with the interviewers. Avoid questions about salary or benefits and show a genuine interest in the company and interviewers.
  • Have back-ups: Have a copy of your application and CV to hand. If you need to have sent anything beforehand, like a presentation or previous work, make sure you have done this in advance. Take a backup with you on a USB stick or printouts if it’s a face-to-face interview just in case.

Krishnaan, Apprentice at Channel 4

It’s not about giving employers the answers you think they want to hear because they’ve heard those a thousand times. It’s thinking outside the box and answering in a different way that they’ll remember.

How to act and present yourself

  • Treat everyone with respect: When you arrive for your interview, you’ll meet a range of different people. It goes without saying, but treat everyone you meet with respect and make conversation. All impressions you make on the day count, and you never know who the interviewer will speak to about you.
  • Be authentic: Interviewers want to meet the ‘real you’, so don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Be confident, honest, and positive. By being authentic, you’ll build a good relationship with your interviewers.
  • Pay attention to body language: Smile, be confident, and offer a firm handshake. Make eye contact when you’re speaking to people. This will help you seem confident, even if you don’t feel it. Try not to slouch or fidget too much.
  • Follow interview etiquette: Turn off your phone and leave it in your bag. You don’t want to be distracted during the interview and it can look unprofessional if your phone starts ringing.
  • Look the part: Make sure you look smart and presentable, so you make a good first impression. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed if you’re not sure what to wear.
  • Arrive early: Being late can show the interviewer that you don’t care about the role.
    • If it’s a face-to-face meeting, arrive at least 15 minutes before your interview to give yourself some time to relax. 
    • If it’s a virtual interview, make sure you have got all the technology working and arrive at the ‘virtual’ waiting room at least five minutes’ before.

After the interview

Usually, the interviewers will give you an idea of when they’re likely to let candidates know if they’ve been successful, and you can ask this question if they don’t tell you.

If you haven’t been successful, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s always worth contacting the interviewer for feedback, particularly about what you did well and if they have any tips for improvement. You should see it as a positive opportunity to improve.