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What can I do to prepare for my interview?

What can I do to prepare for my interview?

The new competency style interview will probably be very different from many of the interviews you’ve attended before. Don’t let it catch you off guard.

There is a lot you can do to make sure you impress at interview. You can’t just ‘wing it’. This might work for other types of interviews but this one is a lot more structured and scientific. How well you do is based entirely on the evidence you present (whether the interviewer takes to you or not is no longer enough!)

Think about what you have done, what you have achieved. Think about all the situations you have handled well. Conveying this properly is likely to be more difficult than you might expect, however senior or however technical the role. You need to be familiar with the structure of the interview and how it is assessed if you are going to get it right.

  • Focus on ONE specific example to answer the question. For example, it is much more illuminating to talk about a specific occasion where you managed poor performance than to describe more generally how you are ‘often required to manage under-performance’ and how you generally go about this.
  • Describing ONE event gives you the best chance of covering enough detail one step at a time. When you generalise, the lack of specific detail will make your answer seem woolly.
  • Work out what job situations you have excelled in, where you have shown the greatest aptitude and where you have personally made a difference. Think about what skills and qualities these occasions represent. They may cover a few e.g. planning, team work and leadership.

    (This isn’t always an easy process- to get more help check out our Interview Workbook.)

It can be useful to structure your responses like this:

Situation – a brief introduction into the context and scenario
Task – an explanation about your objectives and what you were required to do
Action – the bulk of your answer; in depth detail of what exactly you did and why you did it
Result – a summary of the outcome based on your input
Beware – most people are much more comfortable talking about the scenario and the context and skip over the actions and results.

Don’t forget, your examples need to be:

  • Specific- don’t waffle, generalise or fail to answer the question
  • Exceptional- being good enough is not good enough! You need to be outstanding to win your new job

How to find your job competencies

Many organisations will have a list of their competencies on their website, if not, request them from HR. If you are expected to attend this sort of interview you may be sent the competencies with your interview information. If you can’t find this information out, review our competency section or purchase our useful guide on competency testing which includes a comprehensive look at a wide range of possible organisational competencies.

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