Office jobs interview tips

Office jobs interview tips

Preparing for an interview, not just an office interview but any office jobs interview can be a stressful process and no doubt you are seeking out as many interview tips as you can possibly get your hands on.

You have certainly come to the right place; we have a stack of blogs dedicated to interview techniques for you to work through:

But don’t disappear just yet, this blog contains lots of valuable interview tips too so we will put this list at the end of this article too. 

The competition amongst candidates looking for new office jobs has always been fierce but with fewer vacancies and more people seeking employment things are starting to change. The number of UK job vacancies across all industries (excluding agriculture, forestry and fishing) currently stands at approximately 370,0001. This is less than half of the UK job vacancies available this time last year, largely due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Standing out from the crowd and showing a potential employer that you are not only a good fit for the role but also the best choice for the position is more important than ever. Working through our 5 preparatory interview tips and our 12 tips for a successful video interview, you will be in with the best possible chance of success. 

The fact that you have secured a job interview is in itself a cause for celebration, your CV and application have successfully portrayed your skills and suitability for the position so take a moment to pat yourself on the back, this is not as easy as it sounds.

The interview is now an opportunity to expand on your suitability by broadcasting those extra qualities (professional appearance, business-like manner, warmth of personality, approachability and conversational skills) that can’t be assessed from your CV.  This is your opportunity to truly sell yourself to your potential employer and find out more about the job. 

5 preparatory interview tips 

Making a good impression in your office interview starts with the preparation that you do. Work through the following 5 preparatory interview tips to ensure you are 100% prepared to impress your prospective employer:

1. Research the industry and company

Thorough research about the organisation will give you plenty to talk about during the interview process and it will provide you with some ideas for questions to ask. Being unfamiliar with the organisation will hinder your chances of success, so take this chance to show you have done your preparation and know the company inside and out. 

2. Create a list of why points – why you want it and why you are good for it. 

You will now have the chance to demonstrate you’ve done your research creating a list of good things you have found out about the organisation, its sector etc. For example, enjoyable work environment, stability of employment, career development opportunities. Think of the office work skills you have so you can slip them in when you speak. For example, “I am proficient in most office software packages so I am confident that I can settle into my role quickly, but I am excited about the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques as my career with [insert company name] progresses.” 

3. Anticipate concerns and think of some solutions

The interviewer may ask you how the shifts will fit around your home commitments, how you plan to travel to work each day, or if working overtime is going to be a problem. You can anticipate these questions and prepare reassuring answers showing that you have envisioned yourself working in the position and that you have made suitable preparations to ensure success in the role. 

4. Common interview questions

It is natural to worry about being unnerved by tricky questions. Fortunately, since many interviewers use the same basic questioning techniques, you can plan impressive replies ahead of time, therefore increasing your confidence. The key to anticipating questions is to treat the interview as an opportunity to exchange information, the interviewer is looking for someone who can slot neatly into the organisation's culture and you are looking for somewhere you will fit in and be an asset to the team. The interview is a conversation, not an interrogation so just relax and answer the questions honestly and professionally.  

5. Create a list of questions for the interviewer

In the current difficult job market, it might seem odd that you should interview the employer too, but this is a conversation, remember! By asking questions, you not only satisfy yourself that you want the job in that organisation but you also show that you are interested and have made an effort to discover what the role and the employer is all about. 

While there has been a rise in video and online interviews, some organisations are still conducting in person interviews. These in-person interviews will be tailored to account for COVID-19 regulations so be prepared for a socially distant interview. 

Top 3 interview tips for socially distanced in-person interviews

  1. The interviewer is unlikely to offer or want to shake your hand. Instead, go for a respectful head nod and a warm greeting.
  2. Make sure you are aware of what social distancing and COVID-19 regulations are in place throughout the building so you can comply.
  3. Take a suitable face mask. You may be required to wear a mask on entry to the building and potentially throughout your interview. 

12 tips for succeeding in a video interview

1. What to wear?

Any interview, whether it is a video interview, or an in-person interview should warrant the same consideration for your appearance. Go for one step above the usual attire. In an office the dress code will usually be smart casual so go for this and add a jacket or a tie to the outfit. Dark colours work best on camera. 

2. Prepare your space

Make sure you have the following items set up and ready:

  • Computer or phone
  • Stable internet connection
  • Water
  • Notepad
  • Two pens (in case one runs out)
  • A printed copy of your CV
  • A printed copy of your application form
  • Research notes
  • Question & answer prompts

3. Eliminate distractions

Let those around you know that you will be in an interview. Close the door, turn of the TV and radio. Put a note on your front door requesting that visitors do not knock and for parcels to be left on the doorstep. 

4. Be on time 

There maybe a few interviews happening on one day so be considerate to the interviewer and log in to the call at the designated call time. 

5. Slowly and clearly

It is natural to speak quickly when you are nervous, but you need to allow for a slight delay and for ambient noise over the microphone so make a concerted effort to speak slowly and clearly.

6. What is in the background?

It is important that you are the main focus of attention throughout the video call so remove distracting backgrounds and clutter from the area. 

7. Lighting 

Natural lighting would be ideal so try to position yourself near a window. If this is not possible avoid having lights positioned behind you. 

8. Prioritize the camera not the screen

Try to look into the camera and not at the image on the screen. It feels strange but it is important so that you are making eye contact with the interviewer just like you would be in person. 

9. Testing

Well ahead of your interview time, run a pre-interview test call with a friend to test the internet connection, lighting and microphone. 

10. Double check the arrangements

Double check you have noted the correct interview time and that you have signed up for and downloaded the right app for the call (some allow you to access via a Browser with no app download required, testing this first is recommended). There are many different types of video call software so ensure you have checked which one you will be using.

11. Be an active listener

Utilise effective listening techniques to make a connection with the interviewer. o Use nonverbal cues like nodding, eye contact, and leaning forward to encourage and show understanding.o Brief verbal affirmations such as “I see,” “I know,” “Sure,” “Thank you,” or “I understand” all let the interviewer know that you are engaged in what they are saying.o Paraphrase and repeat back to show your understanding. Find out more about using active listening techniques here.

12. Body language

Sit facing the camera, use open arm and hand gestures. Avoid crossing your arms, leaning back and slouching. 

What to do at the end of a job interview

All interviews, whether it is an in-person interview, a telephone interview or a video interview, should end the same way:

  1. Summarise the key points.
  2. Confirm what the next steps will be. 
  3. Double check that they have all of your contact information. 
  4. Thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity.
  5. (If in person) on your way out, be sure to thank anyone else who assisted you such as the reception staff. 


1 Office for National Statistics [Internet] 11 August 2020 | Laura Caldwell