This page offers links to resources on how to prepare for an interview, job tips and other helpful information including the S.T.A.R technique.
Preparing for an interview
What is the S.T.A.R. technique and how do you use S.T.A.R Interview Technique ?
Most roles you apply for have a job description outlining the role and its responsibilities or activities, so to prepare for your interview, you can think about the types of questions you might be asked by reviewing the responsibilities in the job description.
You can then think about what types of questions you might be asked in connection with proving you have the skills and competence for the job. If you think back to your previous jobs and prepare some examples ahead of your interview, it will help you to talk about relevant skills by using these examples of what you did and how you did it in your previous job.
For this we use the S.T.A.R technique which is a structured way to answer questions about when you have previously carried out the type of task or activities required in the job you are interviewing for.
Click on the link below to understand how to use the S.T.A.R. technique
How to dress for an interview
Smart, professional clothing is important for an interview. It is not necessary to wear a suit if you are going for an office role, however, if you are applying for a job as an Executive or senior level a suit is the best clothing for the interview.
If you are interviewing for a creative or IT role you may find that the company have a relaxed clothes policy and can dress appropriately. If you are not sure you can ask your recruitment agency what the dress code is that the company first or call the company to check.
For an office role or a retail and hospitality role, ensure you are wearing a smart trousers and shirt or trousers and blouse, or an appropriate day time dress that is professional looking.
Shoes to be clean and the right type for the role – for example wearing stiletto’s to a waitress role might look out of place, in fact any shoes that would be difficult to walk in are not right for an interview and neither are trainers.
How to conduct yourself in an interview
The most important thing about any interview is your enthusiasm for the company, the role, and yourself. Here are seven steps to help you conduct yourself well.
Questions you may get asked and answer tips:
1. What do you know about the company?
- Try to view the question as ‘What do you like about the company?’
- Talk about their unique selling points, Awards they’ve won, how long established etc.
- Compliment them - everyone loves a compliment!
- Finish your answer with something like; “…and I’ve been looking forward to coming to see you today."
2. What is your understanding of the role?
- Show enthusiasm; “I really like the sound of the role because…”
- Make it personal; “It includes lots of what I have done
- This will also fill the interviewer with confidence.
3. Talk me through your career to date?
- Relevant experience.
- Thoroughly cover reasons for leaving - if redundant, confirm why and with how many others.
- Talk down about previous employers, bosses or colleagues as you could be seen as the trouble maker.
4. Competency Based Questions (Tell me about a time when…)
Where do you find the competencies? The job description or the advert for the role will generally tell you of the type of skills and competencies that are being looked for.
Some typical examples in different roles:
- Sales: Tell me about a negotiation that went well for you? What did you do that specifically tipped the deal?
- Customer Service: Tell me about a time when you’ve gone the extra mile or dealt with a difficult customer.
- Accounts: Give me an example of a time when you’ve shown good attention to detail in a project or task given to you?
- Administration / Secretarial: Give me an example of a time when you’ve shown good initiative? Tell me how you go about prioritising your day?
5. Prepare to discuss Salary to avoid any surprises and to prepare the employer for that question.
A good way to answer is; “The most important thing to me is the role and company and I really like this role because ****** however I was previously on £*** and I am looking for £***.
Use it as another opportunity to tell them how keen you are!
6. Employers often ask ‘What questions do you have for me?
It’s always good to have 3 questions in your mind. The questions should be high impact questions which take an interest in the role, not questions about salary or benefits. Good questions (if relevant);
- Tell me about someone who has been successful in this role and why were they successful?
- Who will be my key contacts internally/externally?
- Tell me about a typical project and what my involvement will be?
- What will the training consist of?
- What will be expected of me in the first 6 months?
- What career opportunities are there in the company for employees to progress?
Confirm your interest by saying something like;
- Having heard more about the role, I am definitely interested
- I really like the sound of this role, is there anything else I need to tell you at this stage?
If it’s a sales role;
Ask what the next stage is or if the client has any concerns (you then have a chance to overcome their concerns).