Applicant Support

Interview Skills

A county for everyone. A job just for you.

Before the interview


  • Keep a copy of your application form
  • Research your journey and arrive in good time, confirming attendance
  • Try to do a practice run – if you were the interviewer, what would you want to know?
  • Prepare questions for your interviewers
  • Remember to show your best side to everyone you meet at the interview including people in reception or someone in the lift. They may be asked for their view.

Get yourself psychologically prepared

  • Refresh your mind about your strengths
  • Everyone is nervous. Nerves are useful (e.g. you think more quickly) when controlled
  • Picture yourself calmly answering the questions.
  • Believe you will succeed!
  • Personal qualities interviewers may look for are Enthusiasm, confidence, commitment, composure, social ease, common sense, intelligent thought and relevant experience

Factors that can hold candidates back

  • Lack of focus, drive and enthusiasm
  • Negative body language and untidiness
  • Inability to communicate / spark interest
  • Little knowledge of the organisation / department
  • Insufficient preparation
  • Inability to relate experience and knowledge to an application

and remember…

  • You are already a success: your application has gained you an interview.
  • …..and don’t forget to turn off your mobile!

During the interview

  • Here goes: knock and open the door firmly, enter confidently.
  • Offer a firm handshake to all interviewers – no wet fish or bone crushers!
  • Introduce yourself and greet the interviewers clearly. No over-familiarity.
  • Be directed to a seat, establish good eye contact and respond enthusiastically. Hold your head high, relax your shoulders, don’t fidget (e.g. with paper, hair, hands), speak clearly, do not interrupt, be interesting and interested, listen actively & carefully, enthuse & be yourself!

Express yourself!

  • Be yourself, be honest. Give full answers but to the point
  • Think before answering, then use clear, concise language and pauses.
  • There is nothing wrong with asking the panel to repeat the question, asking for clarification or asking to go over and revisit a previous point from earlier in the interview.
  • When speaking, vary your tone, volume and pace to aid expression; show energy.


  • Relevant to internal candidates: Don’t assume that the panel know you / your experience
  • Consider your answer: Don’t be vague, critical of former colleagues, or pour out your soul!
  • Avoid a monotone, mumbling, over-complicated phrases, jargon, limp statements, unfinished sentences, fillers, hesitant language and lack of energy

After the interview

Be positive! No interview experience is ever wasted. Review your application.

Be brave! Ask for feedback on your performance. What did you do well? What could you improve on? Learn from advice given and mistakes made