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Before the interview make sure that you are really well prepared – scrutinise the job description and make a list of the criteria the employer is likely to focus on. Ensure you have your best answers to hand by matching the employer’s wish list against examples of where you’ve demonstrated the skills in your career so far.

Start with the job ad. Read the role description. Look for the keywords that signal the competencies sought by the employer. Most bullet points in the ad will equate to a competency.

It is important to do some research on the employer and see if there are any areas of expertise they are lacking in their business or areas that they focus on.  Look for any relevant articles and make sure you know enough about them.

Look at the client website


It is common practice that many interviews conducted are competency based.

Competencies are the skills, behaviours and knowledge you’ll bring into a role. Employers will use open questions to discover real-life scenarios where you can demonstrate you used your competencies to the best effect.

Competency questions typically lead you towards describing a situation and task. For example, an employer may start the question by saying:

  • Tell me about a time when …
  • Give an example of when …
  • Describe a time when …
  • Have you ever been in a situation where….

Competency-based interview questions always require an example of something you’ve done in the past in a real-life situation.

You’ll be at a huge advantage if you make the effort to think critically about your past.

Look over your CV or LinkedIn profile to jog your memory about previous roles or experiences.

Pinpoint when you achieved good results.

  • Keep a positive tone throughout.
  • Don’t focus on negatives or criticise others.
  • Emphasise how you contributed to the successful outcome

Examples of Criteria based questions include :-

  • Give me examples of when you effectively used communication in your role?
  • Give me examples of when you had a difficult situation and how you handled this through effective communication?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked well with colleagues?
  • How do you manage your diary and your day?
  • Give me an example of when you had to support a colleague, how you did it and what was the outcome?
  • Tell me how you prioritise your workload?


At the end of the interview the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them – always answer  Yes’—it is a really good idea to prepare some questions so perhaps ask about:-

  • What do they look for in this role?
  • What is most important to them when hiring someone new?
  • What are the career development opportunities?
  • What does a week look like at their company?
  • What is the company philosophy, ethos?
  • What do they see the trends being over the next couple of years?

Not only do you want to uncover as much information as possible about the company itself, but this is another opportunity to show that you’ve done your research and that you’d like to learn more.

FINALLY – Always ask if they have any reservations about you?  – This gives you a chance to overcome any objections – or anything they may have not understood or that you may not have explained well.  You don’t get a second chance.

With a little preparation and practice, you’ll have a great interview and enjoy the experience.