Posted by: Michael Russell | January 30, 2011

Everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition!!!

Monty Python's 'Spanish Inquisition' sketch

So in the motto of the scouts! ‘BE PREPARED’

My Interview for a role with the National Trust is fast approaching which will include a five minute presentation within the one hour interview (YES! One hour, just how many questions can they ask me?). Interviews can be a nerve racking experience for many especially if it is for a dream role. However, fear not!!! With a little preparation we can avoid the feeling of the Spanish Inquisition. (Hopefully the comfy chair and coffee at 11 will be offered. Yes that’s right, the COMFY CHAIR!!!!).

Here are some tips for a successful interview based on my own experiences in avoiding the chief weapon of the Spanish Inquisition which is surprise and fear; thats two weapons fear, surprise and…you get the point.

  • When asked the question ‘Why do you want to work for…?’ never answer ‘because I need the money’. Do some research on the company and highlight their achievements and say that you would like to contribute to the future success of the company.
  • Be prepared for those scenario based questions where they ask you to tell them about an achievement or a time when you had to solve a problem. Doing this before an interview will mean you can minimise those tongue tied moments where ‘ummm’ is the only noise made.
  • Keep it formal. Avoid talking to the interviewer like they are your best mate and avoid cracking a joke. (Watching The Apprentice taught me this)
  • If you have a telephone interview have the company’s web page in front of you. (I did this during a recent telephone interview)
  • Brag about your achievements. Take every opportunity you get to tell the interviewer about all the great things you have done, you’re effectively selling yourself and you’re asking the employer to take a chance on you.
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer and try to smile as much as possible. Being positive can only be good.

Being well prepared and positive will mean you will go into the interview with more confidence, although some of those butterflies will still be roaming the belly. Through preperation you will come out of the interview feeling like you have not faced the Spanish Inquisition. (Caution: Should 3 priests in red robes enter then it’s probably a good idea to leave)


  1. Just an Update, despite my prep for the interview, I sadly did not get the job due to a lack of experience despite doing a great interview. This is constructive because I now know what I need to add to my set of skills that I have.

    • Hi Michael. Sorry to hear you didn’t get the job, but it sounds like you had a good interview and got some very positive and helpful feedback. Taking the opportunity to ask for feedback can be a really powerful way of finding out exactly what recruiters are looking for and how you can increase your chances of being successful at future interviews. Thank you for sharing your interview experience with us!

      PS – Don’t forget we have lots of useful information on the Careers Service wesbite to help you prepare for interviews.

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