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what to take to an interview


Yummy Mummy! xx
I have got a copy of my CV and the few certificates I have got. Should I take these with me? Should I take a notepad to write notes or will that look ridiculous?? Ive got some information regarding the company and what they do, can I take that to refer to if they ask questions regarding what I know etc or is that cheating??

Any help would be great! I feel sick already with nerves and it isnt until tommorrow!!!! I have never been to an official interview so I have know idea what to expect, whether they will ask me quastion after question or if it will be them talking more regarding the position. All I know is that its 3 people on the panel. I dont even know how long an interview lasts!

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Silver Member
I'm not really an expert on interviews, having only had to have one (been in my job for 5 years). I don't think any of the thigs mentioned would seem ridiculous in an interview, although I'm not sure how much of a chance for note-taking you'll have - I guess it depends on the job!

The questions asked at interviews are usually pretty much common sense, and as long as you know the sort of things that would be expected of you in that job role, you'll be fine!

I wouldn't take information on the company personally, they would probably like you to have knowledge of it without having to refer to a print out etc, but do whatever you think best and feel comfortable with. Proof of qualifications/certificates are definitely a good idea from what I've heard from friends, just incase they like to see proof. Best of luck my dear! xxx


Silver Member
I've never taken certificates, CV etc to an interview myself, although I have seen other candidates with portfolios and all sorts, so can't see that it would hurt if it would make you feel more comfortable.

I do, however, take a copy of my CV and of my application for the job in my handbag to sit and read through before the interview - my name is at the end of the alphabet, so I usually have to hang around waiting for ages, so that gives me something to do. It also refreshes my memory of what I've done, why I'm suited to the job etc, because it's so easy for your mind to go blank when you have three faces staring at you!

This could be controversial advice, but I've also been told (by someone who interviews for jobs, course interviews etc) that you should keep talking until you literally run out of things to say - don't worry too much about waffling. The interviewer will have a list of criteria that you need to meet to get the job, and they will be listening out for key words that put a tick in the box. The more you talk, the more chance there is that you'll get those ticks. Just make sure it's relevant - so, for example, don't feel like there's no point mentioning a job you did five years ago, as it might hit some of the criteria that they need.

At the end of the interview, they should ask you if you have any questions, and you should always have at least one prepared. I find this tricky, because you don't want to sound like you haven't researched the job! I don't know how relevant this is for the job you're going for, but maybe a question about uniform, typical working hours, that sort of thing? I usually get around it by saying 'I did, but I think they've all been answered, thankyou'.

As I said, I'm no expert - I've only had a couple of 'proper' job interviews, but had excellent feedback from both. Just try and relax and be yourself - the first question especially will probably be a straightforward one, maybe 'what experience do you have which makes you suited for this job', so you have chance to talk your nerves out a bit. And, if there's someone on the panel that's smiley and nodding along, just look at them every time your nerves hit for a quick confidence boost!

Good luck!
I always make notes during an interview. I also write a list of questions I have & ask them as I go along then at the end of the interview when they ask if you have any questions you can go through you list or simply say I asked them as I went along.

I've never taken my certificates with me, but I do take a of my CV & the job app.

Don't just give them information from your application form & CV, they are interested in you & want to find out more so think about other jobs you've done, paid & unpaid.

Otherwise relax, THEY want to see you.

Good luck:D
Hey there, i used to recruit in my previous role and can give you a few pointers here :)

With the certificates - are they relevant to the job role? If not, take them but keep them in your bag, from a recruitment perspective an interviewer has no requirement to see a GCSE certificate (for example) unless the essential criteria for the role states you need a qualification in xxx

For an interview, its not really appropriate to have loads of things with you as at the end of the day its you as a person they are employing, not a portfolio of paper. Dont take anything other than a handbag - dont take in reams of paperwork, a bag, a note book etc - you will struggle to present yourself and shake hands at the start of the interview - just take what you need in your bag and only take anything out when you need it - you can look 'fiddly' and agitated otherwise.

The interview is likely to be a competancy based interview if its a panel - they have a panel when a fair and consistent measure is required. For competancy based interviews they will ask questions like:
  • tell me about a time when you resolved a query for an upset customer
They will follow it up with
  • What did you do
  • How did you do it
  • Why did you take that approach
  • What was the outcome
  • Would you have done anything differently
These are all very standard competancy based questions and if i can give you 1 tip, please remeber STAR
S - Situation
T - Task
A - Action
R - Results
This will form the basis of your responses to the questions, have a look online at some competancy based questions - you will find loads on recruitment based websites or similar.

Finally, make sure you have prepped your info and knowledge about the company, key info to be aware of is the size of the company & rough staff numbers, how long they have been in business, nature of the business, market leaders or main competitors, annual turnover and any awards like the Times Top 100 companies etc. Chances are they will want to see how interested you are in the company itself so refering back to your notes may look inappropriate, must make sure you memorise the key points and talk through them.

When it comes to your questions at the end, whatever you do, dont ask 'selfish questions' such as salary, days holiday, benefits available etc. You can ask these once the position is offered. Good questions to ask are:
- Do you have an induction and Training programme?
- Do you offer on the job training and further career development within the business?
- Would i receive an annual appraisal and monthly 121's with my manager?

All of these questions give the impression that you are keen on your personal development and wont sound too 'selfish'

Good luck, be bold, be bright and maintain eye contact and im sure you will be fine :cool:
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big bear

A bear on a mission!
Are the above is fab advice. I agree with the ending they'll ask if u've any questions never ask about pay, hols etc

Smile be confident, always look them straight in the face etc

If they ask u something u don't understand just ask if they could explain what they mean. If they ask u have u done something & u haven't be honest say I've not done that but I'm a quick learner so ur sure u'll be able to learn /pick it up.

I've been 2 a few council/nhs interviews & they r competency based like the girls have said.

I'm sure u'll do great, good luck & let us know how things go x
Good luck with your interview and basically be yourself.

I went for an interview today and they didnt ask to see my CV. I was asked lots of questions about how I have or how I would deal with certain situations. I asked about training available and if there would be promotion prospects in the future. When I got home an hour later they rang and said would I come back tomorrow for a second interview and a look round and meet the staff so fingers crossed I may get the job :mad:
Bit late but I would NOT take your usual handbag with a load of crap in it, take a smart bag with a pkt tissues, Breath mints/spray, purse change for parking, an umbrella, a comb, a bottle of water (as you will dry up with nerves), a small mirror to check for lipstick teeth etc.
That and what's recommended above.

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