Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter

    What is the secret for success in these types of interviews?

    I used to be really good at them when I applied for internships but now I am struggling to think of good examples for teamwork, leadership etc. My real fear is if I get a question on a particular competency and have to say "pass" because I can't think of a good example.

    I got this off a website:

    •It is important that you get to know what is required of the role you have applied for. Spend some time 'dissecting' the job advert and any further information available on the website. Look for keywords and phrases such as 'team-player', 'strong analytical skills', 'ability to deliver to tight deadlines', 'excellent communication skills' and so on. From these keywords you can gain an indication of the type of competencies and behaviours that may be assessed in the recruitment process.

    •Apply your common sense - if you have applied for a customer-facing role, then it is most likely that you will be asked to describe situations where you have interacted with a customer and delivered good customer service. Similarly, if you have applied for a technical role, you will most likely be assessed on your ability to analyse and solve problems.

    •Think back over your past experiences and situations you have been involved in that might demonstrate to an interviewer the behaviours they are looking for. The examples might be from work, college, sports, volunteer roles or other groups or teams you may have been a part of. Try to think of your most recent experiences so you can remember lots of detail about what you did in that situation (i.e. try to use examples that are no older than 2 years).

    •A useful technique to use when preparing for and answering competency based questions is the 'STAR' technique. This acronym acts as a reminder to you as to how to structure your response.

    ?Situation – what was the context / situation?
    ?Task – what was required of you in terms of aims / objectives / challenges?
    ?Action – what did you do (as opposed to your colleagues / team-mates / supervisor)?
    ?Result – what happened / what was the outcome of your actions?

    •You will be asked to provide specific examples with lots of detail. When using this format it is useful to give the interviewer a little bit of the Situation and Task but the bulk of your example should consist of your Action – what you did and said in this situation. It is always a good idea to also think about challenges and problems that you faced and how you overcame them as well as what you learned from your experiences.

    •By following this format, you will give the interviewer a good understanding of your experience and behaviour.

    •You might find it useful to have a go at being interviewed with the help of a friend or family member. Don't try to rehearse or memorise your answers, simply familiarise yourself with your previous experiences in a structured way to help you remember what you did in these situations.
    Tips for the Interview
    •Be yourself - act naturally, the interviewer wants to get to know you.

    •Try to relax and ask for water if you need it.

    •Don't be afraid to take time to collect your thoughts and think of your best example to fit the question before speaking.

    •It's OK to ask questions – remember it's a two-way conversation.

    •It's also OK to ask the interviewer to repeat a question, or clarify your understanding of what you are being asked.

    •If you are unsure about whether your example is what the interviewer was looking for, at the end of your response check with the interviewer that you have answered their question.

    •Your interviewer will be busy taking notes during the interview and may not be able to maintain eye contact with you; don't let that distract you or put you off. It's their job to get everything down so they have an accurate record of what you have said in the interview – it does not mean you are giving bad examples.

    •And remember, if your interview is to be conducted by telephone, it's just as important as a face-to-face interview, so follow the same preparation guidelines.
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What newspaper do you read/prefer?
    Useful resources

    Articles and guides:

    Hands typing

    Degrees without fees

    Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

    A-Z of careers Advice on choosing a careerCV writing helpCovering letter helpInterview tips

    Featured recruiter profiles:

    CGI logo

    CGI is open for applications

    "Offering a range of apprentice and sponsored degree positions."

    Deutsche Bank logo

    Deutsche Bank is recruiting

    "Thrive in an international banking environment"

    ICAEW logo


    "Merck is a global leader in specialized pharma & chemicals – join us!"

    Army logo

    The Army is recruiting now

    "With hundreds of roles available, there’s more than one way to be the best."

    Bianca Miller, runner-up on The Apprentice

    Handle your digital footprint

    What would an employer find out about you on Google? Find out how to take control.

    Quick links:

    Unanswered career sector and employment threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.