Go back to The Hub

Succeeding at Interviews

Application Form

The first step is to look at the person specification and genuinely asking whether you pass or fail the Essential Requirements. Explore any other broader information provided and if able to speak with key people.  If you are applying for a senior position, thinking through whether you can move the organisation forward in its planned direction. 

Think about how your skills and experiences can apply to the role. Don’t complete the application when you’re under time pressure. If you’re able to, leave it and complete at least 1 or 2 drafts, preferably getting feedback from others. 

A checklist:

  • Read and reread the information pack, job description and person specification
  • May help to highlight key points you need to respond to 
  • Check there is cross reference to all the elements in the person specification in your answers
  • Answer in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the recruiter to see that you tick the boxes – use their section headings if that helps clarity
  • Make sure you are aware of the entire requirement and cover everything you can


Interviews can feel anxiety-provoking. Use the anxiety strategies in the Anxiety section of tools, to help manage these feelings so you can deliver your best response. 

If you can prepare some questions in advance what they might ask, this can often help us feel more confident in our delivery of answers. 

You will be asked “Describe a situation where you demonstrated a particular skill/ability/competence”:

Try using the STAR approach to responding, you would: 

  • Situation: (Briefly) Describe the background or context.
  • Task: Describe the task or challenge you were faced with.
  • Action: Explain the action you took, and how and why you did it.
  • Result: Describe how it ended, what you accomplished and what you learned from the situation. 

Relate the skill or ability you’re illustrating back to the vacancy you’re applying for and explain why it’s useful. 

General Suggestions

  • First impressions count
  • Be yourself
  • Relaxing is good, but don’t over relax
  • Eye contact, smiling, paying attention to each panel member
  • Pace answers
  • An engaged conversation is good
  • Use positive phraseology. An invitation to share weaknesses is an invitation to explain how you address them with your strengths
  • The opportunity to ask questions is there for you to explore whether the job is right for you (and let the panel know you can analyse what they have provided) 
If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis...