In need of some interview tips? Whether you’re planning to return to work after a career break or thinking about making a career change, follow these top interview tips to increase your chances of landing your dream job.

It’s no secret that most people feel a level of anxiety when it comes to job interviews. Yes, there’s an element of excitement for what might be, but there’s also an element of pressure. What if I don’t get the job? 

This sensation can be heightened if it’s been a long time since your last job interview. It’s not uncommon for doubt to set in and to lose confidence in your abilities over time. But, we can’t let this happen as self-confidence is a vital part of a successful job interview.

Read our Confidence Tips for more information.

Interview Tips for Career Changers

Choosing to make a career change for something more fulfilling is an admirable decision and one you should see as a strength, not a weakness. Here are our top interview tips for career changers:

Transferable Skills

Whatever industry you’ve been in up to now, or whatever you’ve been doing outside of work, you will have developed essential transferable skills which are valuable in the workplace. These skills include communication skills, adaptability, time management, and organisation skills to name but a few.

Find out How to emphasise your transferable skills on our dedicated page.


Talk to the employer about your willingness to undertake further training opportunities. Whether you have had some time out, or have been in a different sector, you may need some additional training. This can come in the form of part-time studying, night courses or adult apprenticeships.  Employers look favourably at candidates who are retraining or simply willing to undertake further training programmes.

For more information, check out our 5 Best Retraining Courses for Adults.


Do your homework before any job interview. Research the company, their culture, the key players, and the sector. Gone are the days of staying in the same job for your entire career. In fact, the average employee tenure in the UK is just 5 years. So, come prepared and don’t let your career change be the cause for any doubt.

Interview Tips for Ex-Offenders

As an ex-offender, it can be tough to find work, but there are services out there to help. Take the time to research the job programmes available in your area; many charities and organisations support ex-offenders by offering interview or application assistance.

The UK labour market is improving for anyone who’s previously been incarcerated. A national campaign known as ‘Ban the Box’ is fighting to remove the criminal record tick box on job applications

Some well-known ex-offender-friendly employers include Timpson’s, Greggs, Co-op, London Norther Eastern Railway and Virgin. For more information, visit the government website for information on their See Potential project.

Skills and Experience

Before the interview, think about all the skills and experience you already have. This could come from previous employment, placements you did during your time in prison or things you have completed since.

If you don’t have much formal job experience, then consider the skills and experiences you’ve gained throughout your life that could transfer well to employment. Are you reliable? A good communicator? Organised? Adaptable? All of these transferable skills are valuable to potential employers.

Prepare Answers to Tough Questions

Prepared for questions about your past. You don’t have to provide any details or information you’re not comfortable with, but prepare as if it will come up. Focus on your personal development and growth. Be truthful and open and never lie about your past.

Remain Positive

Staying confident and relaxed is essential to any job interview. If you’re worrying too much, you won’t be able to show off your best qualities. Imagine all the possible questions and your answers to them before going to the interview. Practice your answers out loud or with a friend or loved one.

For further support, head over to our dedicated section for Ex-Offenders.

Interview Tips for Returning Parents

Another difficult time to return to work is after maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Your life and priorities will have undergone a massive shift, and it can be intimidating to go back to a work environment.

Transferable Skills

Remind yourself that becoming a parent has helped you to develop many transferable skills you didn’t have before. You may be a better listener or communicator and have better empathy skills. On a more practical level, you may be better at multi-tasking and planning.

Communicate Your Needs

If you need to, ask for flexible working hours to assist your new life as a parent. This may come up in the interview if the employer is aware of your leave. Don’t be afraid to ask for the adjustments you might need. Many employers are committed to supporting parents as they return to work, and a big part of this is allowing flexibility with hours and locations.

Arrange Childcare

It may seem like an obvious one, but having childcare organised well in advance will allow you to focus your attention on the interview. We’d also recommend having a backup, just in case something goes wrong on the day.

Visit our dedicated section on Parenthood for more.

In Closing

An interview is a chance for you to demonstrate why you’re the best person for the job. No matter your background, it’s important to remain confident in your abilities.  Prepare for all eventualities and keep a positive attitude. By following these interview tips, you’ll be ready for career success.

Check out the Refreshing a Career jobs board for all the latest opportunities in your area. Be sure to consult it regularly for the most recent updates.

Our website is packed with information for career changers, including changing careers at thirty, forty or fifty and how to choose the right career for you.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below for all the latest from Refreshing a Career.