How to prepare for an Interview

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It goes without saying that preparation is key when attending an interview. I'm sure you've heard the saying about the 6 P's: prior presentation prevents p… - or in other words, if you don't prepare, you will perform badly (and no one wants that).


Here are our top tips on how to prepare for your Interview and help you get ahead of the competition:

Do your research

This is important.  You need to know about the company and be able to demonstrate that you have done your homework.

Some facts to find:
  • What do you know about the company? (CEO / share price / recent media articles / history / what they specialise in)
  • Consider your strengths and capabilities (technical ability / communication / problem solving / ability to adapt and learn)
  • Not everyone is perfect and we all have our weaknesses - think about these but try to turn negative points into positives (e.g. ability to delegate work as too work proud)

General Interview questions
  • What do you like about your current role? (great team / varied and interesting workload / training and development)
  • What do you dislike about your current role? (no progression / not challenging / financial rewards are below market rate / travel required). Try not to talk negatively about your existing employer or line manager
  • Why are you looking to leave your current employer? (fresh challenge / fear of redundancy / change in structure or responsibilities / want to change industry or sector)

Potential competencies to consider
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Developing others
  • Resilience
  • Achieving Excellence
  • Conflict (a time you and a colleague have not agreed)
  • Building Trust and Understanding

Examples of competency based questions
  • Tell me about a time you have worked as part as a team
  • Tell me about a time you and a colleague have not agreed, what was the circumstances, how did you approach the situation and what was the outcome?
  • Explain to me about a time where you have had to demonstrate a high level of resilience

How to answer a competency based question

Competency based interviews are designed to give the interviewers some insight into your past experience and how you deal with everyday or more specific issues that can occur in the workplace. The following STAR model allows the Interviewee to give a detailed but most importantly, a structured response to the question.

When faced with a competency based question, choose a specific and recent working example e.g: a particular day, time, project or situation that has occurred.

Use the STAR method:


Paint the picture of the particular day, time or project. For example:

Our business was using the finance system of Oracle however a decision was made to implement Sage.


What tasks had to be carried out as a result of the above?  For example:
  • How did you get your colleagues on board?
  • Did you colleagues understand the benefit to them?
  • How did you ensure compliance, guidelines or regulations were followed?
  • How could you track performance/progress?
  • What was the end goal?

A – Actions

What was your role and what did you do to make this happen or ensure success?  For example:
  • Offered to champion the project or implantation
  • Up-skilled others to improve efficiency
  • Went the extra mile to resolve the problem or issue



The result should be demonstrated from 4 different points of view.  For Example:

Your point of view:
  • It made your job easier
  • Saved you time
  • Resulted in the process becoming more efficient

Your colleagues point of view:
  • Made their job easier
  • Saved them time
  • Up -skilled them as an individual

The businesses point of view:
  • Saved them money
  • Increased profit
  • Reduced risk
  • Increased exposure to brand
  • Better level of service to customers
  • Adherence to guidelines, regulations and protocol

The customers point of view:
  • Better level of service
  • More efficient service
  • Saved time
  • Enhanced service

Any questions?

At the end of the Interview you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have - please have at least 2 questions to ask.  By not asking questions you could give the impression that you are not interested in the role or organisation and that you have not been paying attention in the Interview.

Here are some examples of some questions you may like to ask:
  • If I was successful in securing this role, what would my priorities be for the first 3-6 months?
  • What would I have to do to exceed expectations in my first 3-6 months?
  • What is the best thing about working for this organisation?
  • What would you consider as my biggest challenge if I secured this position?
  • What is the companies goals and visions over the next 3-5 years?
  • Who is your biggest competitor and what sets you aside from them?
  • What is the team structure and culture like?

If you are a candidate looking for some assistance with interview skills or you are an employer who would like us to provide a structued interview service on your behalf please get in touch on 0131 603 7747