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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Job interview tips: What you're really doing in an interview

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

What you're really doing in an interview is living up to your promise: When it comes to interview advice, "just be yourself" is a popular cliché that sometimes makes students roll their eyes. For once, though, the cliché is true. It's natural to be nervous about interviews and waste energy worrying about what you don't know. However, the fact of being invited to an interview is definitive proof that the employer already believes you can do the job. If they thought you weren't good enough, they simply wouldn't waste their energy (or time and money) and on getting to know you.


What an interviewer aims to do is find out whether what's written in your CV or application is genuine and how well you'll fit in. Are you as charming, intelligent and helpful in person as you seem on paper? Of course, they'll also be testing your understanding, motivation and ability, most often by asking you to talk them through examples of your experiences that showcase the attributes the job requires. You'll probably need to expand on what you've written and it's a good idea to have some new examples ready, too. But as long as you've been truthful, what you're really doing in an interview is living up to your promise.

Alexandra Hemingway is a careers adviser at the University of Surrey

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