Interview Skill

Before applying for the job


  • Do email the contact person and introduce yourself. This is a great way to ask questions about the position and let the person know you’re interested. No need to attach any documents (i.e. no cv). But do sell yourself and your research interests.

Preparation for the Interview


  • Do try to predict the questions and prepare for them. It is not necessarily to be very specific, think more along theme lines. The goal is not to have a rehearsed answer.
  • Do consider your answers for common interview questions and work out your examples ahead of time. Here are some common interview questions and more common interview questions.
  • Do read some of the papers from the interview panel. Get a feel for their research specialities.
  • Do get a contact number of someone in HR (that is not on the interview panel) in case you run late or there is a problem on the day. They can get a message to the panel (who will likely no have access to emails or their phone).
  • Do work out what you want them to know about you.
  • Do look at common interview questions and plan how you would respond to them.


  • Don’t forget to be prepare to address the personal specifications as outlined in the job advertisement. Work out strategies for how to answer areas you may be a weak in and how you will change that.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of preparation

During the interview


  • Do use the interview was a two way process. You should also be asking: Do I want to work with you and within this company/university?
  • Do remember that if you get asked a question and you blank or don’t hear it properly the best thing to do is stop, collect yourself (eg take a sip of water) and ask for the question to be repeated.
  • Do have a list of questions or points you want to make during the interview and take this in with you on a piece of paper. Just don’t fidget with it or use it too often.
  • Do make good eye contact but don’t over do it.
  • Do shake hands if it feels appropriate. Let the panel lead on this.
  • If you give a seminar, consider writing up a summary of the key points and give it to them on an A4 piece of paper. It will help them remember your talk.
  • Do use the STAR approach for answering questions.


  • Don’t worry about being nervous. It is expected you will be nervous. Work out how to use your nerves to your advantage. They can help you? Often helps when you’re talking about things that excite you.
  • Don’t volunteer humour, jokes or giggling. If the interview panel want a relaxed experience they will initiate it.
  • Don’t forget to check in with your body language.

Finishing the interview

  • You will always be asked if you have any questions. Don’t say no. Always answer that your questions have already been addressed.
  • What questions should I ask at the end of the interview?
    • What would being success in this role look like?
    • You can ask about the diversity of the university culture, but perhaps don’t comment on this at the department level. You can ask about what strategies are in place to address diversity.
    • You can ask about career progression.
    • You can ask about training options. What type of training do you want?
    • You can ask when you will hear the outcome, when you might get feed back.
    • Never ask about pay and benefits. This is to be done only after an offer has been made.

After the Interview

  • Always ask for feedback from the panel.
  • Write down the questions you were asked, how you answered and reflect on improvements you could make.

Where can I get help?

Check out Goinglobal if you want to see differences in other countries. This is helpful for cvs.

Set up a one-to-one with Kate. You can work through mock interview, work on your cv and other areas. Kate has shared with us some more tips on interview skills.

Press Releases

The key points about press releases:

  •  Don’t use words without explanation.
  • Always lead with the punchline in the first sentence. This should be where you answer: You will never guess what…
  • Your first sentence should never be background information or something people already know.
  • If you are in the field or can take a photo of your release, this really helps an article have traction.

What makes a great story?

  • Things that affect me,
  • things that make me feel something,
  • something I did not already know, and
  • good storytelling

When should we contact the media office?

If you have a publication that you would like to write a press release on, then  contact the press office when the paper has been accepted, or close to accepted. The article has to be new else it is not news.

Do I need to write the press release?

No. You explain your research to the press office and they write the release for you. Their task is to help the researchers phrase their work in a way for journalists to easily use.

Can I write the press release myself?

Yes you can. But you will still work with the press team to fine tune the piece.

How to write a press release:

  • Start with the main findings, then elaborate.
  • Stress the relevance to the publication.
  • Use simple language.
  • Don’t waste words.
  • Focus on the story.
  • Be accurate.

The key to a good press release is that you are not ‘selling’ your findings, but rather to clarify what you found and why it is important.

Is there training offered by the University of Exeter on how to engage with the media?

Yes. The press office organises practical training on TV and radio interviews, run by an external company. There is a waiting list for this. To be added, please email