Congratulations! You've been selected for interview

This means you meet the basic requirements for the role and the employer is eager to meet you to see if you are the right person for the job.

The interviewer will be looking to assess your understanding and motivation for the job, suitability for the role and fit for the organisation. There are many different types of interview, and you may be required to undertake one or more of these when applying for a role. This guide provides detailed information on the different types of interview, what to expect and how to prepare.

For more detailed information on Assessment Centres, please see our Assessment Centre guide: mmu.ac.uk/careers/guides.


Types of interview

 

Telephone

Large recruiters may use telephone interviews as a part of the earlier stage of the recruitment process. They are just as formal and important as face-to-face interviews and are a crucial deciding factor to see if you will be progressing onto the next stage of the recruitment process.

The questions asked in a telephone interview will be very similar to those asked in a regular interview. You should structure your answers the same (see below information.) It may also be useful to keep a copy of your preparation notes and your application close by to use as prompts if you are stuck on a question.

One-to-One

These type of interviews mainly consist of yourself and the hiring manager (usually the successful candidate’s line manager or a member of the HR team.)  One-to-One interviews can take different formats, either a formal process where the interviewer will take note of your answers and assess these against the key shortlisting criteria, or a more casual  process where you will be invited to an informal chat.

Panel

Panel interviews consist of two or more panel members, who are involved in the selection process, asking you a number of questions. Often there will be a panel chair, who will explain the format of the interview, and then each panel member will ask you questions in turn, although one person may be there just to take notes. Ensure that you maintain eye contact with the person who speaks to you and asks you the questions, but remember to make eye contact and engage with the other panel members as well.

Video interviews

Video interviews are becoming increasingly popular with graduate recruiters, as one of the first stages of the recruitment process. The candidate is likely to be invited to log onto a system where they will be asked to answer a series of pre-recorded questions.  The employer is testing how well you understand the role you have applied for and what you know about the business/sector.

You can practise for upcoming video, and face-to-face, interviews using Manchester Met’s video interview software. This is free to use and provides a great opportunity for you to experience a video interview and assess yourself. To access this service email videointerviews@mmu.ac.uk with your name; student ID; preferred email address and any information about the role/company you are looking to apply for and we will be in touch.

Skype

Skype interviews are relatively easy to set up, allowing the employer to see the candidate (and vice versa) and are sometimes used by an employer interviewing across international boundaries. Again, the questions will be similar to those in a face-to-face interview. For students not familiar with using Skype it can feel a little strange at first. Therefore, practice holding Skype conversations in advance with friends and family. 

Preparing for interviews

 

Thorough preparation is key. The employer will have decided on the selection criteria for the job, and will then ask each candidate questions to determine whether they have the skills to do the job effectively. You need to research the employer, the industry sector and the job role and clearly relate your own skills and experiences to what they are looking for.

Read as much as you can about the company or organisation to find out:

Be sure that you have a clear understanding of what the job involves. Look at the job description and person specification, see which skills or qualities are required. 

Think of situations where you demonstrated these skills, choosing examples from all areas of your life including academic work, outside interests, placements/work experience.

For example:

Skill Area Example of Evidence:
Analytical Skills Course dissertation or project
Communication Delivering a presentation or working in a call centre

Planning/Organisation

Organising an event
Team Work Working in a shop or bar

 

Strength Based Questions

Strength based questions are focused primarily around what you enjoy doing and what your interests are. If you are struggling to think what your strengths are, think about what you enjoyed most out of your various experiences in university, societies, part-time work, travel, hobbies and volunteering. Strength questions are particularly helpful if you have limited work experience as you can show your passion and enthusiasm for a role.

Some examples of strength based questions are:

It is hard to predict what strength questions you may be asked. Research the strengths or values the company is looking for; check their website, job description and person specification as initial preparation.

If employers are focusing on your strengths, they may ask about your weaknesses too. Think of some weaknesses you do have, but balance these out with strategies that you are using to overcome them.

Competency Based Questions

Competency-based questions appear regularly in almost all interview scenarios. Employers identify the skills and abilities (competences) that are vital for working in their organisation and they use these as selection criteria when recruiting. Job descriptions and person specifications often list the key skills required for a role and many graduate employers highlight the core competences they look for on their recruitment websites, so this will be a good starting point when preparing for potential questions.

Some examples of competency based questions are:

More example interview questions can be viewed by visiting MMyou: Answering interview questions  

Answering Interview Questions

Using the STAR format is the most effective way of getting your answer across in an interview. It is the clearest way to help the employer understand in what context you have the desired skills and attributes they are seeking.

Situation—You should give context to the example you are about to state. This should be a short description, such as: ‘Whilst working on a group project’ or ‘During my internship last summer’.

Task—Briefly explain what it was that you had to do, and what the success criteria was. If you were working as a group explain what the overall task of the group was, but be clear about your own role. 

Action—This should be the lengthiest and most detailed part of your example. You should include: What you did; Why you did it; How you did it; What skills you used.

Result—What happened because of your actions. Was the outcome positive and if so how?

Example Answer  "Describe a situation when you delivered excellent customer service following a complaint":

Depending on the role you are applying for, you may also get asked a mix of technical and case study questions that are related to your particular vocation or industry.

Questions to ask at an interview

 

Interviews are an opportunity to find out more about the company.  At the end of the interview you are likely to be asked if you have any questions for the company - say yes!  This shows you are enthusiastic about the role and prepared.  Ask 2-3 questions. Questions you could ask include :

After the interview

 

If you don’t get the job, it could be that your interview wasn’t strong enough and needs improvement. On the other hand, you could have been fantastic and someone else just had the edge (more experience, more qualifications). You may want to request feedback from the employer. Employers don’t have to provide such information (but many will) and it can be difficult to hear the reasons for the rejection but this can provide valuable insight into why you didn’t get the job and help you to reflect and perform better next time.

Careers and Employability Support

 

The Careers & Employability Service offers a range of interview support to Manchester Met students and graduates:

Careers and Employability Support

We offer range of support services to Manchester Met students and graduates:


For more information visit mmu.ac.uk/careers