Preparing for your Interview


  • Confirm promptly that you can attend.
  • Let us know if you need any reasonable adjustments e.g a wheelchair user may need an accessible room; someone with dyslexia may request additional time for a practical task; someone with RSI may want to use an ergonomic computer mouse. Please do not hesitate to ask for any reasonable adjustments.
  • Find out who you will be meeting; the person to ask for on arrival, the number of people on your interview panel.
  • If you would only be able to do the role on a part-time basis, we recommend you phone the department to ask if there are any reasons why the role could not be done part-time. This may be possible but it is best to clarify early to manage expectations.


  • Strengthen your application by finding out about the department and University, e.g. by looking at the website.
  • You may want to find out more about the role, it is sometimes possible to speak to someone informally to find out more.
  • We will usually ask a series of questions linked directly to the selection criteria listed in the job description. To prepare for this, look again at the job description, your application, your CV and supporting statement and think about the key points you want to make. It is fine to take notes to the interview with you.
  • For each criteria, think, of one or two specific examples you can use to demonstrate the required skills e.g. working in a team, dealing with a difficult situation, attention to detail.
  • You may like to practice answering possible questions.
  • Come prepared with questions you may like to ask us. This is not compulsory all though it is a good opportunity to show your interest in the role, the team and the University e.g.
    • What are the future plans for the team/department?
    • Why is the role available?
    • How have the careers of previous postholders been developed?
    • What are the training opportunities?

Check Practical Arrangements

  • Check the date, time and exact address.
  • Check how long the interview process is likely to be.
  • Check your travel arrangements, including directions. You are unlikely to be able to park easily in central Oxford or Headington, so you may need to use public transport. Traffic congestion is common at all times of the day, so allow additional time.
  • Check what you will be asked to do, test, presentation and whether you need to prepare anything in advance.

The Evening Before

  • Find any documentation you have been asked to bring with you, for example showing your right to work in the UK.
  • Ensure you have printed a copy of your application, and a copy of the job description so you can refer to this during the interview.
  • Check for any last minute travel issues, road closures, events.
  • Decide what to wear, we would normally expect you to look reasonably smart.
  • Although the material on our Careers Service website is primarily intended for our students, you may find some helpful advice on preparing for your interview, click here to view.

At the Interview

  • You are likely to be interviewed by a panel of around three people. For academic roles this may be significantly more if the recruitment is run by an electoral board. The invitation will normally tell you the arrangements in advance but if you are unclear please ask.
  • Typically at the interview you can expect to be asked questions to show how your knowledge, skills, potential, interests and aspirations match the criteria of the role e.g.
    • Tell me about a time when you...'
  • Take your time to answer carefully, we know you may be nervous. If your mind goes blank, ask the interviewer to repeat the question. Do not be afraid to ask for further explanation.
  • Answer your questions as clearly as you can, stick to the question and avoid wandering off the point.
  • Answer questions in relation to what you did personally, not what your organisation did.
  • We may ask all applicants questions about their ability to meet particular selection criteria, such as flexibility to work irregular hours. You need to tell us that you can meet the requirement but you do not need to give details of your personal circumstances.
  • Ask your prepared questions to the interview panel.
  • Clarify the next steps of the process at the end of the interview e.g. Is there a second interview? When will you hear the outcome?


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Contact us

Please refer to the contact details in the job description.