The best and worst questions to ask in an interview!

‘And lastly, do you have any questions you would like to ask us?’  The final question which usually rounds off an interview. Although this may not seem a prevalent question to prepare for, having at least one or two questions to ask a prospective employer demonstrates enthusiasm for the role, and the company.
To help you when preparing for your next interview take a look at these top questions to ask, and those to avoid, which will help you become a memorable candidate!

Top best:

What can I expect from you in terms of development and support?
This type of questions demonstrates to an employer that you are keen to learn and develop professionally within the company.

You mentioned that you implemented X last year, how would this affect my role within the company?
Listening to the interviewer and asking questions that relate to the company show you are engaged and interested.

How would you describe the company culture and management style?
Asking questions about the company culture will give you an insight into what it is like to work for this particular business.

From my research, I noticed that you do a lot of X, how would this affect my job role?
Doing some research into the company prior to interview will demonstrate your knowledge of the industry of that company, and that you have actively thought about the interview, thus making a good impression.

What are the biggest challenges facing the company/department right now?
This type of question shows you are interested not only in the business and its future, but also the interviewer’s perspective.

Top worst:

How quickly could I be considered for a promotion?
Keep focused on the job at hand, rather than jumping ahead.

How many days holiday do I get?
This question is not necessary to address at the interview stage, and it may have already been included in the job description already.

Can I arrive early or leave late, as long as I get my work done?
Asking for flexibility in your working pattern before being offered the job may come across as a lack of commitment to the job.

How did I do?
You shouldn’t ask about your performance during the interview, if you would like any interview comments, this can be requested after the interview in the form of interview feedback.

The worst question of all is not asking a question!
Failing to ask any questions tells the employer that you are not fully engaged with the role or company, and may appear as a lack of enthusiasm for the job.

CES Bitesize: CV’s

Are you starting to apply for graduate jobs, or maybe you are looking to gain a summer internship or part-time job? Either way, before hitting the submit button, it’s always a good idea to have your CV checked, in case improvements can be made which could make all the difference when being selected for interview.

On Wednesday 22 March, 13:00 – 13:30 in KLT6, the Careers & Employability Service are running a CV workshop, covering all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to creating a great CV!

Spaces are limited, so you must pre-book. Book to attend at 

HM Treasury: Mock written exercise – government & policy

Wednesday 1 March: KS16, 2-4pm
HM Treasury: Mock written exercise – government & policy

Are you applying to jobs in the public sector, government and policy? If so, you may have a written exercise as part of your assessment centre. The Careers and Employability Service will cover how you can prepare and tackle the exercise on the day. You’ll have an opportunity to do a written exercise yourself, and we’ll discuss how they are marked. Please bring your own laptop with you on the day so that you can write your mock written exercise. If possible, ensure it is fully charged as there may not be access to plug sockets for everyone.

Civil Service Fast Stream: Assessment Centre Skills

Wednesday 22 February KLT6 4-5pm
Civil Service Fast Stream: Assessment Centre Skills

Looking to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream? The Careers and Employability Service are holding an interactive session, which provides an insight into the Civil Service Fast Stream assessment centre, covering skills such as navigating the group exercise and showing your leadership potential. This session will be relevant to many graduate scheme assessment centres and interviews, and so is open to all students.

LinkedIn Lab with FDM

Careers and Employability Service: LinkedIn Lab with FDM
15th Feb 2.30-3.30 (KSA1)

LinkedIn has over 300 million worldwide members.

FDM Group’s LinkedIn lab will help you utilise this professional network, to help you develop your online presence and showcase your skills to employers.

Book now

All students welcome

Covering letter: useful tips and hints

Writing a covering letter may seem like a difficult and challenging task when applying for a job, however, it is one of the most important aspects when initially applying. You typically only get 30 seconds to grab the attention of an employer through your application, so you want to make a positive impact from the first page. A covering letter allows you to highlight your key skills in your CV, personalising your application and demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Take a look at a few useful tips for creating a successful letter below, and some links for further information.

  • Keep your covering letter clear and concise, in an easy to read format. Your covering letter shouldn’t be longer than an A4 page, you want to grab the employer’s attention in the first few lines, as you would with your CV
  • Relate your skills to those in the job description, making sure you tailor the covering letter for each application. Explain why you are applying for this particular role, at this specific company
  • Check and double check your covering letter and CV for grammatical errors prior to submitting. Employers may be put off if your application consists of lots of grammar mistakes, especially if the role requires attention to detail!
  • Where possible, address your covering letter to a named individual, rather than using sir/madam
  • Research the company you are applying to, and include information about them in your covering letter, detailing what attracts you to work for them. This will demonstrate that you have taken the time to research their work, and you are enthusiastic to work for them, rather than just sending a generic letter.

If you need further advice, or you would like a staff member to look over your covering letter, the Careers and Employability Service Drop Ins (daily, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm in the Careers Building) are a great place to start, where qualified employability and careers advisers are on hand with support and advice.

Useful sites for further information:

Careers Fair: guide for Politics students!

On Tuesday 1st November, 12 – 3pm, the Careers Fair will be taking place in the Sports Centre, Canterbury campus. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet hundreds of employers, find out about graduate schemes, internships and work experience!

To get you prepared for the event, we have created a top tip guide, along with our top ten careers stands to visit. For full details about the Fair, please visit:

We look forward to seeing you there!


CES Don’t panic! Bitesize sessions this term!

The Careers and Employability Service are running a series of employability Bitesize sessions this term, which all students can attend. These sessions are aimed to help you with applying for jobs, updating your CV and how to have a productive summer!

All the sessions are 30 minutes long, and booking is required due to limited spaces.

CVs and Covering letters – 13/05/2016
Don’t panic! There is still time for you to get help to find your dream job!
This 30 minute session will cover all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to creating a great CV and Cover Letter.

To book: 

Identify your skills – 18/05/2016
Don’t panic! There is still time for you to get help to get the job you really want!
Come along to this 30 minute session and learn how to identify the skills you have that an employer will want, plus any gaps in your skills you may need to fill. Essential in creating a top quality CV and preparing for interviews.

To book: 

Commercial Awareness – 27/05/2016
“Don’t panic! There is still time for you to get help to get the job you really want!
Commercial awareness. What is it? Why is it important to potential employers? Come along to this 30 minute session and learn why demonstrating commercial awareness is crucial in securing graduate positions.”

To book: 

Competency and Strength based interviews – 31/05/2016
“Don’t panic! There is still time to get help to find your dream job!
Learn the difference between competency and strength based interviews and get tips on how to ace them in just 30 minutes”

To book: 

Assessment Centres – 07/06/2016
“Don’t Panic! There is still time to get help to find the job you really want!
Assessment Centres are used by the majority of graduate employers as part of their recruitment process. Why? Because they offer a potential employer insight on how you would actually perform if you got the job! In 30 minutes we will give you lots of top tips to ace assessment centres.”

To book:

Using your summer wisely – 15/06/2016
“Don’t Panic! The summer vacation is a chance to relax and unwind, but with three months off from University it is also a great opportunity to build up your CV and add to your work skills. Come and find out what you can do this summer to boost your graduate employment potential in just 30 minutes.”

To book:



Exam preparation top tips!

With the exam period looming many of you will be gearing up for late night revision sessions, and strong coffee to get you through. To help aid your revision we’ve come up with a few key tips:

  • Allow yourself enough time to revise – make sure you plan your revision in advance, maybe by creating a study timetable, rather than trying to cram in everything you have learnt over the past few months into one evening! This will ensure that you’ll be less stressed and that you can give sufficient time to revise for each exam.
  • Organize your study space – have everything you need to study effectively (stationary, notes, books). Get rid of all distractions and make sure that you are in your optimum study environment, whether that be in your room, the library, in a group, in silence or with music.
  • Take regular breaks – studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge regular breaks do help!
  • Use flow charts and diagrams to help visualise your work – Getting your ideas down in a brief format will help you to recall key points during the exam.
  • Practice old exams – by doing so you can familiarise yourself with the format of the exam and the length of time you’ll have to complete it.

Information used from Top Universities

How to identify your key skills: job applications and interviews

When applying for jobs and attending interviews it is crucial that you can articulate your key skills effectively to your prospective employer. Employers are keen to know what you can bring to their company and skills you have attained from prior work experience. Before submitting an application, or attending an interview it is good practice to identify and communicate your skill strengths.

Here are some simple steps to doing this:

Step 1: Make a list of your past jobs and previous work experience (including volunteer work, training, and internships).

Step 2: Write down the tasks associated with each job and activity which you were responsible for.

Step 3: Now ask yourself, what did you learn by doing those tasks? What transferable skills have you gained? These skills range from; IT skills, presentation skills, communicational skills, research skills and foreign languages, to characteristics such as leadership, organisation and reliability.

This should now give you a range of skills that you can offer to an employer. This is very useful when you are applying for several jobs, as you will be able to compare the person specification with your job skills list and choose the relevant items.

Source used: