Interviews are a fact of life these days. There’s no getting away from them, and you can be guaranteed that at some stage in the near future, you’ll be invited to attend an interview. But don’t panic, there are ways to prepare that will help you perform more effectively. It’s very simple really – there are only 3 things that a potential employer wants to know about you.

The Employer Wants to Know 3 Things:

  1. Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills, experience and personality for the job?)
  2. Will you do the job? (Do you have the motivation, the desire and the interest to do the job?)
  3. Will you fit in? (Will you fit in with their way of working? Do you prefer team-work or working alone?

The employer wants to know whether or not you match their requirements? You get the chance to assess their organisation and see if they are offering what you want?

First impressions last! Make sure that you smile, you are friendly, and have a firm handshake. The first approach to a conversation can be a handshake so make sure you get it right first time around. If the nature of your disability affects you physically (and if this affects your handshake) don’t worry! Make sure to smile, be friendly and maintain good eye contact at all times.

Before the Interview

If you have any concerns relating to your disability and the interivew i.e. access to the building (ramps/lifts etc), the location of the interview room , alternative media format (e.g. large print or braille), assistive technology etc. please ensure to inform the organisation of any assitance you may require PRIOR to the interview 

Preparation is vital for an interview and it will become apparent during the interview if you have done your research or not. Not only in terms of your knowledge of the job and the organisation but also in terms of your confidence and your ability to do a good interview and effectively deal with the questions being asked.

  • Research the organisation/employer before the interview (not the night before but well in advance)
  • Have they got a mission statement or a certain ethos or organisational culture?
  • Are they working on any new projects?
  • How many people do they employ?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do they have sister companies/branches nationally or internationally?
  • What are their main products?
  • Take a good look at the job description and make sure that you can make the best fit
  • Back everything up with examples from your education, employment history, achievements, interests etc.
  • If you have gaps in your CV make sure that you have planned well in advance how to tackle these questions (You can go through this in more detail when you meet with the careers support officer)
  • Attend as many interview workshops and CV clinics which run throughout the year with the Careers Service in UCC.  Please view the Careers Service notice-board for further information or click on the Careers Service Website
  • Dress neatly and in a way that conforms to the organisation
  • Make sure that you arrive on time (or a little bit early to make sure you are in the right place)
  • Let the receptionist know that you are there (don’t assume that he/she will know who you are!)
  • Have your application with you if you feel that you need to quickly look over anything

Most importantly – RELAX

The Interview

  • Listen to what is being asked and think before you answer
  • Your answers should be clear, relevant and to the point – don’t waffle
  • Back up your answers with examples where possible and link answers to the post you are being interviewed for
  • Identify your skills and abilities and play to your strengths when answering questions being asked
  • You should not be discriminated against in an interview. For further information on your rights please click here
  • Keep your answers to two minutes and don’t ramble on – if you do go over two minutes with your time, remember to keep your answers relevant
  • You are likely to be asked questions on the following:
  • Educational Record (achievements)
  • Your interest in the job and knowledge of the role
  • Knowledge of the organisation
  • Motivations/Strengths/Weaknesses
  • Interpersonal Skills/Communication Skills
  • Employment History
  • Be positive at all times. If something has gone wrong in the past or there are gaps in your CV or something didn’t work out … remain positive and highlight what you have learned from your experience and how you coped
  • Be enthusiastic and confident
  • Do not talk negatively about yourself or your experiences
  • Speak clearly and not too fast
  • If you don’t understand a question, say so. Don’t pretend to know or try to answer. You may not know the answer and this is ok. Sometimes questions may be designed to see how you react under pressure
  • Be honest at all times
  • Maintain good eye contact and try not to fidget

Useful Links

UCC Careers Service - Interviews and Assessment

Disability Support Service

Seirbhís Tacaíochta do Dhaoine faoi Mhíchumas

South Lodge, UCC, College Road, Cork