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Winning interviews

Ten top tips from Lynne

Lynne's been providing advice for 25 years so we've persuaded her to prop up her iPad, do a quick recording of her top 10 tips and pop it on YouTube so you have the benefit of her experience.

For good advice about interview prep try the National Careers ServiceProspectsThe Open University and Guardian Jobs

Practise, practise, practise

If you Google 'interview questions' you'll find hundreds to practise with - the more you practise, the more you will come across as confident and knowledgeable.  If at all possible, get someone you trust to ask you questions or set up a mock interview at home on your PC. Use the STAR technique to practise answers to questions about the skills you have and you'll always be able to provide evidence of your skills:

  • Situation - think of a situation where you have had to use or demonstrate the skill you've identified
  • Task - what was the actual task you had to carry out using this skill?
  • Action - what did YOU actually do?
  • Result - what was the result or outcome of what you did?

Body language

Don't underestimate the impact of your body language. If you have 20 minutes to spare watch this TED lecture by Amy Cuddy - 'your body language shapes who you are' - who provides a fascinating insight into our non verbal communication. Decide whether you think that the way you stand or sit before as well as during a job interview could improve your performance!


If you're being interviewed via Skype, dress appropriately and make sure your surroundings are presentable. Do some practice to check your body language, the volume and the angle of your head. You can stick post-its on the screen as a reminder of key points to make. (See the advice above about setting up a mock interiew.) If possible, do your interview in an empty house to avoid interruptions or noise!  

Most common interview mistakes

- not bothering to find out anything about the organisation you want to work for, so you're stumped if you're asked questions about why are you interested in working with the company.

- being late (easy to do if you haven't checked where you're going, planned your journey and double-checked your interview time).

- not answering the question you've been asked (better to take a deep breath and think before you speak, and better to ask if you're not sure that you understand the question).

- being rude about your former employer is considered very bad form.


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