Making a Good Impression at Interview (K. Gerwat)

Making a Good Impression at Interview (K. Gerwat)

Going for an interview can be stressful so it is important that you make a good impression. The key to performing well at interview is PREPARATION!Here are some fundamental tips to help you.

Before the Interview

  • Learn as much as you can about the nursery. Start by checking out their website. Is it privately owned, part of a franchise or part of a large chain? How many settings do they own? What positives really stand out about the nursery/company?
  • What is their Ofsted rating? If it is not great and especially if you are going for a leadership role you can think of ways to support the nursery (especially if you have worked at a good or outstanding setting).
  • Prepare questions that you want to ask about the setting and the role. Asking questions gives the impression that you are interested in the nursery. Remember you can read your questions from your notes during the interview; you don’t have to remember them by heart.
  • Prepare for probing questions around your CV that you may need to explain. Remember there will be others interviewing for the same position so explaining things in a positive way can make a difference. I there are gaps in your work history explain the reasons why and if you have not stayed very long at previous settings explain the reasons why.
  • An almost guaranteed question will be why you wish to leave your present job. So unless it is because of something out of your control (e.g. moving home etc.) it could be that you wish to further your career or that this is a step up for you or you want to move to a bigger/smaller nursery.
  • If you are qualified you must prepare for questions around the EYFS, British Values, Equal Opportunities, Safeguarding, The Children Act, Partnerships, Health and Safety – these are areas that you should confident in. Questions around the job role will be open ended like “what would you do…?” – for example if a child came to the nursery with bruises, if a child bit another child, if a child refused to eat their food, if a child was choking, etc.  You will either have examples you can share or draw on your academic or training knowledge.
  • Honesty really is the best policy so if you have any warnings on record likely to come up on a reference you must tell them at interview. You can turn these situations into positives in terms how they’ve helped you grow and what you have learned from them. In many cases, having a warning on record will not be the reason you don’t get the job, it’s the not telling them that will!

During the Interview

  • First impressions count. Did you know that some employers make a decision about whether or not they will hire someone within 90 seconds of meeting them? Before you’ve even said hello!!! So dress appropriately (remember if it is a working interview wear neat trousers and not a skirt as you will be playing with the children and you may need to get onto the floor), be well groomed and presentable and do not wear big earrings, long nails and piercings that contradict a nursery’s health and safety policy.
  • Be professional. Introduce yourself and say who you are meeting and why.
  • A firm handshake is important as it shows you are confident in yourself and your abilities – do this at the beginning and end of an interview. Maybe practice on your friends or family before the interview.
  • Listen carefully to the questions; if you don’t understand something ask for clarification. Better to do this and answer correctly than give them the wrong response.
  • Be positive about previous companies you have worked for. It can be tricky if you’ve had a bad experience but every case is different. Sometimes it’s best to just say you didn’t feel the setting was right for you and talk about the things you are looking for in a setting (i.e. progression, positive working environment type responses…).
  • Speak slowly and clearly, maintain good eye contact, be polite and friendly, be positive and enthusiastic about the role, sit up straight and at the end of the interview, remember to thank them for their time and give them that firm handshake you’ve been practising.

Sell Yourself!

  • It’s not what you say but how you say it. Just by changing the response to certain questions can make a massive difference. For example, “Do you have a L3 in Childcare?” “No”, gives a weaker response.  A better response would be “I have a L2 in Childcare but I am really keen to obtain my L3”. You should apply this type of response to all of your answers.
  • What is your USP (unique selling point) and why do you want the job? Don’t be modest, if you know you have great people skills for example then tell them, but be prepared to give examples and the positive outcomes.
  • Be proud of your qualifications and certificates; ask them if they would like to see them.
  • Be proud of your achievements like promotion, supporting your nursery during an inspection, parent feedback, ideas you have implemented that have made a positive impact etc.…


  • A quote by Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”The more prepared you are the more confident you can be with your answers, use the knowledge you have gained through your research to make your answers stronger.
  • To be professional and don’t speak negatively about your previous roles and be professional with the information you give out, especially regarding confidential information on children who have been in your care.
  • That all your skills and life experience can be used to promote you for the role. You may think that what you do is second nature but you had to learn it at some point, most people can’t just walk into a job and do it immediately. Therefore it is often important to sell your basic skills as well as your more advanced ones.
  • Interviewing isn’t rocket science you just need to present yourself in the best light.
  • If you are unsuccessful this time, don’t give up! The more interviews you attend, the more you will grow in confidence!

If you are interviewing with Purple Dove Recruitment and need help preparing for interview, fear not, we will talk you through the process so you have a good chance of success.  You can email us at or check out our job board

Read Interview Common Questions on Indeed (includes answers and tips)