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UCL Careers


Find Your Future


Approaching interviews in a professional way

By UCL Careers, on 10 February 2016

You’ve had your CV checked, your application is in, and an employer has just told you that you are through to the next round of the application process! What do you do next?!

Here are our Top 5 Tips for approaching interviews in a professional way:

  1. Do your research! Read the company’s website, annual reports, look at LinkedIn, news articles; speak to current employees. UCL Careers fairs are all in the first semester, but stay tuned next term for more employer events and themed weeks such as Health and Life Sciences and Charities and NGOs for more opportunities to network with potential employers.
  2. Use this information to enhance your interview answers. Questions like “Why do you want to work for us?” are very common in interviews, and generic answers like “Because you are a global company” give the employer little information about how much you know about them. Enhancing this with the research you have done gives a much stronger, informed answer.
  3. Be accurate, avoid lying. Exaggerating the truth on an application means you may get caught out further down the line. Remember that your integrity is very important to a future employer, so tell the truth. An anecdote from an employer was shared at a recent UCL Careers event, where an applicant had said they spoke fluent French. The interviewer started the interview in French accordingly: it very soon transpired that the applicant did not speak French, and the application did not go any further. So remember, be truthful!
  4. Telephone and video interviews should be prepared for and treated as seriously as a face to face interview. Ensure you are in a quiet place with no interruptions, and in the case of video interviews, make sure you have a nice background behind you like a blank wall- an unmade bed doesn’t send the best impression! If it is a video interview, dress up smart, like you would in a face to face interview. Practice beforehand: book a Practice Interview through UCL Careers, and use our interview simulator to see how you come across on screen.
  5. If you agree to have a telephone interview at a certain time, be ready for the call! We hear feedback from employers of people stopping interview calls to speak to friends, being out on the street where you cannot be heard, and so on. This may be the first time you speak to an employer- think about how you are coming across to them.

– Hannah Posner, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers

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