Ace Your Interview: 5 Top Tips!



First of all, if you’ve been shortlisted for interviews, Congratulations! Making it to the interview stage means you’ve already made a good impression on your potential future employer(s).


1. Positive Attitude

‘Be positive, patient and persistent.’

We are far too often our own harshest critics and this is not the mindset to enter your interview with. If you’ve got the interview, you’ve already impressed! You’ll be just as intelligent and capable as everyone else on the interview list, all you’ve got to do is prove it. Employers are looking for candidates who not only fit the competencies required but also a personality that fits the company culture. Greet your interviewers with a smile, be friendly and relax in the knowledge that good interviewers only want to bring out the best in you.


2. Self Awareness

Tell me about yourself…

What motivates/inspires you?

What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

You are the topic of this interview. You must be prepared to talk about yourself. You are absolutely guaranteed to be asked a question or two about yourself, so no excuses not to prepare. Don’t undersell yourself or your achievements. Practise with friends or make an appointment with us in the UCD Career Development Centre to perfect your answers. Also, be sure to know your own CV/application inside out, you could get asked about anything that’s in there.


3. STAR Technique

The STAR technique is a widely used approach to answering competency based questions in a clear and effective manner. The ‘STAR’ approach to structuring your answers: Situation (set the scene), Task (what you set out to achieve), Action (what YOU did to achieve it), Result (the outcome). When discussing work experience, focus on your own contribution and what you’ve achieved rather than just listing the tasks required.


4. Know the Organisation & Job Description

Do your research. What will be expected of you in this role? Do you know anyone already working in the organisation that you could reach out to? Has the organisation been in the news recently or had any interesting developments? Additionally, if you know who will sit on the panel, do your research on their roles and backgrounds also.


5. Take Notes

Every interview is a learning experience. As soon as possible after the interview, it’s a good idea to take note of the questions you were asked and your thoughts on the experience. These could come in really handy if you get called back for a second interview or for other interviews in the future!


‘Fail to prepare, Prepare to fail’. You’ve already gotten the opportunity to interview, so you don’t want to let yourself down by failing to prepare.

Take some confidence from the fact that you’ve been asked to interview. The interviewer already believes that you can do the job. You’ve just got to believe in yourself and most importantly, BE YOURSELF.






Find out about different types of interviews and how to prepare successfully for them…

Tips from UCD Career Development Centre


  • Keep an eye on for relevant Careers workshops and seminars and employer presentations.

The Questions you need to ask at interview by Engage Education

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When you attend a teaching interview remember it is a chance for you to find out whether the school and role are a good fit for you and not just the interviewer’s chance to ask you questions and find out whether you are a good match for them.

We assist new graduates and experienced teachers prepare and interview with English schools everyday. Interviews can happen face to face at our exclusive free IDAY event, over the phone or via skype but they are always an opportunity for both parties to question the other before making or accepting an offer of employment.

We have some suggestions especially for new teachers about what to ask at interview, to determine whether the position you are interviewing for is going to be the right job. This applies for jobs in your home country or any of the 1300+ schools we work with in England.

The Principal’s or Head teacher’s have asked you the questions, now…

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  • What support do you offer new starters at your school? What you want to know if whether there is a mentor program, assisting to transition into the school and their way of working and ongoing help when needed. A school that can let you know exactly how it supports new staff and can give examples of how it will assist you is a promising start!
  • How would you describe the ethos of the school? This is where you can get a feel for the leadership style at the school and what the important goals for the students and staff. If this answer aligns to your beliefs and approach you may have a good match. You may be able to start this question with a comment about what you have gathered from their website, so you can also show you have done some research.
  • What behaviour management approach is used at the school? You may also want to ask what is expected of the students in terms of their behaviour. The school may have little behavioural issues, or a very structured approach like the use of Positive Behaviour for Learning or a Strike policy. The answers will give you an idea of what to expect and the approach of management in support and managing behavioural issues.
  • What will be expected of me other than my classroom teaching role? How will I be assessed? This shows that you are looking at your role in the wider school community and also you will find out what ways your performance will be assessed during your contract.
  • What are you most proud of about your school? It is nice to hear a passionate leader talking about the school’s achievements and where they have excelled. The answers will give insight into many things- what is important to management and the things the students and staff have achieved.

So there are 5 questions that can help you decide whether the school and role are right for you. Other questions you may want to ask are: “What will be my biggest challenge at your school? ” or ” What opportunities will there be for me to progress in your school if I am successful?”

We all have different concerns and priorities when we are trying to select the right job. Your Engage Education Ireland consultant will be able to help you navigate the many school vacancies and opportunities you need to consider. Our iday events are a great way to put these questions to good use in face to face interviews! Contact Rachel in the Dublin office at or call 0864109883 for a chat about your options!

Interview Tips from AIG

Interview Tips from across the table

So you’ve done your research, polished your CV, sent off your job applications, and now you’ve been invited to have an interview. Great news! Except now you have to have an interview.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of crazy interviews and so many people leave feeling like they had no idea what the interviewer was looking for, so we wanted to tell you what we look for at AIG, and how you can feel better prepared for your interviews.


  •  Do your research. It will really show in the interview if you’re aware of not just the company but also the industry, and tells the interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the role rather than just being willing to accept anyone who will hire you! Regardless of the function you’re applying for (we’re an insurance company, for example, that hires a lot of IT students) it’s useful to have an understanding of the industry. Research will also help you to ask good questions in your interview (more of that to come later).
  • Know your CV. You wrote it so make sure you know what’s on it. You don’t have to have everything memorised but if there’s a job or activity on there, you should be ready to talk about it. For a telephone interview it can be useful to have a copy of it in front of you too.
  • Ask good questions. This one is really important! Asking questions shows the interviewer that not only have you researched the company, but you are also taking your career seriously. You might want to ask about how the company stays ahead of their competitors, or how they are adapting to the new technology, or maybe you want to know more about your specific role and the training that’s offered, or the career path. You should also have a few questions prepared in case the interviewer gives you the answer to your question in conversation, leaving you with nothing to ask!
  • Be on time. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people are late for both in person interviews and telephone interviews. We have woken a few people up by calling for their telephone interview! Make sure you’ve got enough time so you’re not rushing, and so that you’re ready for any complications (i.e. train delays) that may arise.
  • Try and enjoy it. You’re going to have a lot of interviews in your life, so you may as well start getting used to, and even start enjoying them, now. I know they’re not the most fun thing you can do, but remember the interviewer is just a person and they really want you to be good and do well as it helps them! We’re not against you!


We hope these tips help you with your next interview, and remember it’s all practice. If you don’t do well in an interview, ask for feedback and learn from it. You’re at the beginning of your career and at this stage it’s all learning.

Good luck!

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AIG harnesses our risk expertise and financial strength to create a better future.

Insurance is all about assessing risk.  Since risk is all around us, insurance is everywhere too. We deliver on our promise to help more than 88 million people in over 130 countries plan for the future, recover from loss, and retire with confidence.

At AIG we are firmly committed to balancing your career, your professional development and your career aspirations. We provide the freedom, resources, and support to help map your career path across numerous disciplines and geographies.

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Got an Interview coming up? See our Tips & Techniques



Whether it is for a graduate position, internship, part-time or seasonal work, if you are invited to interview it means that ‘on paper’ you seem like a good fit for the role. It means the potential employer would like to validate this by finding out a bit more about you. An interview also provides you with the opportunity to evaluate whether the organisation and role are right for you!

Here at the UCD Career Development Centre, we provide a wealth of information on interview tips and techniques on our website.

You might also like to consider attending an interview skills workshop at the Career Development Centre, where you will learn about:

Effective applications: developing stand-out CVs and cover letters (45 minutes)
Identify your strengths
Design, Develop and Deliver Compelling Presentations
Get hired
Excel at Interview: A Strategy for Success
Ace your Assessment Centre
Creative Thinking & Problem Solving

Bookings for sessions like this are available through Careers Connect. You can also discuss this with a Career & Skills Consultant by making an appointment.

By taking the steps above to prepare for your interview, you could soon be hearing the words below!

hired text

Skills for Working Life: Acing Graduate Interviews

KPMG - Acing Graduate Interviews presentation






Paul Vance from KPMG presented the week 2 session on Acing Graduate Interviews. The interview is your chance to make a great impression and convince the interviewers to choose you, and it’s as much about how you present yourself and your body language, as well as what you say. If you missed the session or you’d like to refresh your mind, have a look over the slides.

‘How to get hired!’

AIB logo and people

gradireland.comA practical guide for job-hunting graduates.

AIB and gradireland have come together to produce a practical guide for job-hunting graduates entitled ‘How to get hired’. The guide is designed to offer support and advice to job-seeking gradautes with information to help you on the road to your chosen career.

AIB logo and people

How to get hired‘ offers expert advice from gradireland and research into the graduate market. It also includes:

  • Prospects for graduates in the current environment
  • What skills employers are looking for
  • Using Social Media in your job hunt
  • CV, cover letter and interview skills
  • Money management and budgeting tips and advice.

Download your copy now.