Excerpted from the United Kingdom Career Guide
Preparation before an interview in the UK is essential. It is vital to research the company, its history and its future plans thoroughly in order to make a good impression on the interviewer. The candidate should know the company’s main competitors, where the company operates and what development plans it may have. If possible, find out who the interviewer or interviewers will be and do some research on them as well. The business social media tool LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly useful way of doing this.
Start the interview on a positive note by arriving a few minutes early. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled interview time.
Unless it is a panel interview with a number of members, it is common to shake hands with the interviewer at the beginning and end of the meeting. Making eye contact during the interview is important. Looking someone in the eye (without staring) shows sincerity and confidence, while looking at the ground shows disinterest and a lack of confidence. In addition, the British tend to be understated; looking at a person’s eyes is sometimes the only way to gauge his or her opinions.
A first interview may be conducted over the phone, a method increasingly used by corporate organizations as the initial screening interview for new-graduate-level jobs. Other first interview structures include interviewing in person, either one-on-one, sitting in front of a panel of interviewers or group interviews. A panel interview can consist of a number of people: the job applicant, a chairperson, an HR representative and a specialist who knows a good deal about the particular job. During a group interview, interviewers will ask questions of numerous candidates in one setting.
If the interviewer mentioned during the interview how long it would take for the company to make a decision, do not contact the company before that time. After that time, it is permissible to call or email to request a status update. All written correspondence should be formal, no matter how relaxed the interview seemed.
This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete United Kingdom Guide.