The Interview

Interview Preparation

Interview Preparation

Preparation starts before you get to any interview. Interview preparation goes hand in hand with writing your CV. It is better to over prepare than under prepare. Start by understanding what role you are looking for as this helps to ensure you come across as having the right focus.

Read up about the company. Look at their products, pipeline, culture, values, location and personnel, especially those who will be interviewing you. A hiring manager will expect as a minimum that you know about the company you’re interviewing for.


The Competency Based Interview (CBI)

What is a Competency Based Interview?

The majority of interviews will involve a series of competency based questions which are founded on the idea that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. This allows all candidates an equal opportunity to present their past experiences in line with the criteria for the position being sought.  Different companies look for different competencies when they recruit for their positions; refer back to the job description to remind you of which competencies are required for that specific job. Focus on your main competencies, transferrable skills, and USPs again as mentioned in “Developing your CV”.


How to answer Competency Based Questions

STAR Method

You will be asked to relate past job-related experiences in the context of the specific capabilities or competencies that are required for the job.  When you are relating these experiences, the interviewer is looking for a specific situation or task, the actions that you took and the results you obtained.  This format, known as STAR, is the basis of all competency-based interviewing.  A STAR is:-

• the Situation
• the Task that you encountered
• the Actions you took in light of the situation
• the Results of your actions


How to prepare for a Competency Based Interview

Refer back to the job description to remind you of which capabilities (and competencies) are required for the job.  You will be questioned about some or all of these.  In order to prepare for this section of the interview, for each capability/competency:-

• Identify two job-related STARs that occurred during the last two years that will demonstrate that you possess the capability/competency.

• Stay focused on you – say what you did. Use “I” not what “John” or “we” did.

• Plan to take five to ten minutes to relate each STAR, giving the highlights rather than every detail.

• Most companies align their competency questions to their Core Values so check them out on their website.

• Practice. Practice.