Preparing for a job interview

Preparation is key if you want to be able to answer all questions directed at you without having to think too much there and then on the day of the interview; it requires several steps:

Make sure that you understand which skills and competencies will be tested. It sounds obvious, but some requirements can be a little vague and you will need to do some thinking in order to ensure that the examples that you will be using are relevant. For example, the personal specification of the role may say that you need to have "good communication skills in dealing with third parties". For someone who works in customer service and is expected to handle complaints all day long, this will most likely involve a mix of empathy/understanding as well as an ability to be assertive in a nice way whenever required; however for someone applying for a commercial law post, this will most likely involve an ability to explain complex matters in a simple way, and not so much empathy. Understanding the requirements for the post, whether they are stated explicitly or not in the personal specification is therefore crucial.

Identify examples from your past experience which you can use to demonstrate that you possess the skills and competencies that you are being asked to demonstrate. You do not have to find very complex examples; in particular, the outcome of the story does not have to be extraordinary; what matters most is that the role you played in reaching the outcome was significant.

Learn to narrate the story using the STAR method. This means setting the scene, explaining how you handled the situation by placing the emphasis on your role, and detailing the outcome/result.

Get back to career advice