Get interview and assessment guidance

Interviews give employers a chance to find out more about you and decide if you’re the right person for the job. They also give you the chance to find out more about the role you’re applying for and to see if the job is the right one for you.

Your CV has got you this far, and now it’s time to prepare for an interview.

Preparation before the interview
At least a week before

Give yourself enough time for the job interview preparation. The better prepared you are, the more confident your performance will be at the interview.

If you’re making a move from within Royal Mail it might be worth contacting the manager you will potentially be working with in the new role to try and better understand what they are looking for in a candidate, and to ask any questions you may have after you have read through the job advert and job description.

Previous interviews may have given you feedback on areas for development - if you haven't acted on this yet, see what you can do to work on these areas before the interview. You will be asked questions based on the competencies and technical skills needed for the role; these requirements will be outlined in the job advert or job description. It is a good idea to read through these and think about questions that you may get asked at the interview and how you would answer them. Write some examples down on paper and say them out loud so that you become comfortable when verbally giving the answer. The more you practice, the more professional answers you deliver. See the SOARR (Situation, Objective, Action, Result, Reflection) model example in the "At the Interview" section as a guide on how you should answer competency type questions.

You could take something into your interview to act as a prompt for the examples you have. Writing a few key words on a card can help.

Identify your unique selling points – as a start, think about why they have invited you to the interview. At the end of the interview you will have an opportunity to ask the interviewers any questions. Prepare some questions in advance with the aim of finding out if the role is right for you.

If you do not fully meet all of the requirements stated in the advert think about how you will bridge any knowledge/skill gaps that you may have.

I’ve found that Royal Mail have been more than willing to take a risk and promote me into roles I may not technically be qualified for yet. ”

Dave Cunnington International Operations Director

The day before

Ensure that you read through your CV as you may be asked questions on the content at your interview.

You should wear something smart and professional. Plan your route to the interview in advance and if you are travelling by car, find out where you can park.

Aim to arrive at the interview at least 15 minutes before it is due to start. This gives you plenty of time to get into the building and find the room.

What you should take with you to the interview:

  • a copy of the advert and job description
  • your CV
  • the email inviting you to the interview
  • questions you want to ask the interviewers
  • anything you have been asked to bring with you to the interview
  • something to act as a prompt for the examples you have (optional).

Do not cram the night before the interview - just refresh yourself with the key points. Try to get a good night’s sleep and keep your normal routine.

At the interview

Be confident throughout the interview. Try to appear confident even if you do not feel it. Nerves are normal but don’t let them get the better of you.

Maintain eye contact with the interviewers throughout and don’t forget to smile at the right opportunities.

Body language is important and you need to be aware of it. Sit up (don’t slouch).

Speak clearly – try to give your answers in an energetic and enthusiastic voice.

Being enthusiastic and positive throughout the interview will let the interviewers know that you want the job. Avoid being negative as this can sometimes create a bad impression.

Take your time to listen to the questions. You want your answers to be precise and professional, so respond only after you fully understand the question. Ask the interviewer to clarify any questions you are unsure of or that you do not understand. If you forget the question during your answer, it is OK to ask the interviewer to repeat it.

Drink water if your mouth is dry; this will also give you some thinking time.

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