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Tips for preparing for an interview

Careers Advice

Preparing for an interview is key to success. You may not be in control of who is interviewing you or what questions they will ask but one thing you are in control of is how well you prepare.

Remember, going to a job interview shouldn’t have to be scary. In fact, you should take confidence from the fact that they’ve even asked you to interview. Think how many other applicants you have already beaten at this stage.

When preparing for an interview there are three things that need to top your list:

  1. Do your homework about the job and the company
  2. Memorise your own CV and achievements so you can talk in depth about them
  3. Think of examples of why you’re such a great candidate.

There should be no reason why you’re not able to project yourself as a confident and competent candidate at interview stage.

Preparing for an interview: where to start

Hopefully you have a headstart in your preparation thanks to your beautifully tailored CV. Grab your top 10 achievements sheet, print off the job description and personal specification and a copy of your CV.

Now it’s time to play mix and match. Make sure you have at least one achievement to cover as many items on the personal spec as possible.

When preparing for an interview remember that the interviewers will want to know more about the achievements you’ve mentioned in your CV.

This gives you a chance to talk positively about yourself and also help the interviewers tick off different aspects of the job description in the process.

The interviewers will also want to talk more in depth about the position. When preparing for an interview make sure you’re up to scratch on the company and on the latest developments within the field.

This is your area of expertise, so when preparing for an interview so you should ensure you are able to have conversations about it.

Swimming Teacher roles

Here are a few areas to think about when preparing for an interview for swimming teacher roles

  • Swim England Learn To Swim Programme and the different stages of the four frameworks
  • Games and activities you like to use
  • The difference between teaching adults and children or disabled learners
  • How to control a group
  • Health and safety considerations while teaching
  • How you would deal with pushy parents
  • How you would develop specific strokes.
  • How you would approach certain challenges in the role that might occur
  • How you would deal with a new pupil joining the group halfway through a term
  • How you would correct a common stroke mistake such as a screw kick
  • You should be able to demonstrate expert knowledge of swimming techniques.

Swimming Coach roles

Here are a few areas to think about when preparing for an interview for swimming coach roles

  • Consider previous successes
  • How you have built relationships with swimmers, parents and volunteers
  • How you have worked with schools to attract new members and ensured club members continue into their teens
  • Different sets you have developed
  • Your relationships with other coaches and contacts within coaching
  • Professional development and conferences or courses you have attended/would like to attend
  • How you have worked with local schools.
  • How many national qualifiers the club has had in recent years, the size of the club, results from recent competitions, the club’s website and online offering.

Questions you may get asked at interview

When preparing for an interview remember that the interviewers will want to delve deeper into your personality and ideas. Some of these questions might be hard to answer but the key is to remain positive at all times.

Preparation is key, so here are some of the most popular questions and guidance on how you can answer them.

  1. Tell Me About Yourself – This question gets asked a lot. Always prepare an answer for it. Mix in personal and professional qualities and talk about your ambitions and passions. Don’t go on for too long though – two minutes is more than enough!
  2. What are your strengths? Easy question. You know the personal specification by heart and you’re about to offer up three of those points in different words. Refer to examples which prove you are strong.
  3. What are your weaknesses? This question doesn’t have to be difficult. Try and be positive about a professional aspect you find challenging and talk about steps you have taken or would like to take to redress it.
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years time? Another classic. Have a think about how you would like your career to progress (at this company!) or how you would like to develop the role. Be passionate and honest about your own aspirations and how you want to develop your own skills – that shouldn’t be too hard. If you can’t do that, are you sure you should be applying for this role in the first place?
  5. Why did you leave your previous job? Don’t get startled by this question, even if your previous job ended acrimoniously. Don’t refer to damaged relationships or anything that could reflect badly on you. Instead, talk about the new position in terms of your own career development and your ambitions moving forwards.

The interview day itself

Preparing for an interview includes how you face the day itself. It’s an important day so treat it as one.

  1. Have a relaxed evening beforehand
  2. Go over your notes and preparation one more time.
  3. Get an early un-disturbed night of sleep.

If you can, try and arrange for your interview to be mid-morning. This avoids having a whole day to stew over the interview but gives enough time to get to the venue early (don’t even risk being late) and go over your preparation one last time.

When preparing for an interview ensure you have the right clothes. Dress smartly. After a lot of work on your CV, covering letter and preparation, you don’t want a bad impression to let you down at this stage in the day.

Nerves are completely natural but you should take confidence that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for the day.

Smile as you meet your interviews and start with some small talk to put yourself at ease.

Telephone interviews

Just because your interview is being conducted over the phone, this isn’t an excuse to treat it more informally as you would a social call.

When preparing for an interview on the phone remind yourself to treat the interview as though it is face-to-face. So

  1. Sit up straight
  2. Talk clearly and concisely
  3. Dress as you would for a normal interview, it will affect your performance positively
  4. Make sure you’re in an empty room, you don’t need any distractions

When preparing for an interview remember there’s no reason why the questions and the nature of the interview won’t be the same so prepare using the same tips outlined above.

Make sure you have your CV, the job description and any notes you have laid out in front of you and try and be as enthusiastic and responsive as you can.