How to nail your interview

Sally Fenton
in Careers guidance

The easiest way to master the interview process is often overlooked. PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION!

The difference between success and failure can be as simple as taking time to research the company and marketplace.  Feeling prepared can also sooth those pre-interview nerves, giving you a sense of control and confidence.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of the role profile.  If there's anything you don't understand you can turn that into a positive by preparing a question or two for the interview panel.

To do well at the interview you’ll not only need to convince the interviewer you’re technically qualified for the job but also that you’re motivated to perform the job well. It’s equally important to show you can fit in with the company's culture, organisational structure and the people with whom you’ll be working. Employers also look for commitment; a loyal worker looking to commit to a future with their company.

Dress smartly for the interview and avoid arriving late. Set off earlier than you need to, and when you arrive, be courteous to all employees of the company.

Greeting your interviewer(s): A firm handshake to start, and a thank you to finish.

Be positive about yourself and your abilities – be concise – no waffle!

Take Control of nerves – remain positive throughout. Relax.

Competencies based Questions

Competency-based interviews provide questions designed to assess one or more specific skills. The answer is then matched against pre-decided criteria and marked accordingly. For example, the interviewers may want to assess your ability to deal with stress by asking first how you generally handle stress and then asking you to provide an example of a situation where you worked under pressure.

Competency is your ability to do something. The interview will look to assess you on the level of your ability and also the behaviour that you demonstrate. Competency interviews require preparation. Thought needs to be given to work examples to demonstrate such competencies.

The STAR Approach is commonly used for this:
The acronym STAR stands for


It is a universally recognised communication technique designed to enable you to provide a meaningful and complete answer to questions asking for examples. At the same time, it has the advantage of being simple enough to be applied easily.

Many interviewers will have been trained in using the STAR structure. Even if they have not, they will recognise its value when they see it.
Good Luck!

Author: Sally Fenton

It takes two decades of board-level expertise and shed loads of industry passion to make a leader like Sally. Outdoorsy adventure? Try and stop her.

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