Interview tips

Congratulations! You have an interview. That’s great news – now you just have to secure the position for yourself!

There are a number of items which should go without saying such as ensuring that you arrive early, dress smartly, have a number of questions prepared for your interviewers and have done your research into the company, however in this article we’re going to be exploring how best to tackle some tasks that you may come up against during your interview.

1. Presentations
If you are asked to prepare a presentation ready for your interview, it is important to stick to the brief that you have been given. This includes the topic of the presentation, the length of the presentation, and the relevance to the position for which you are interviewing. Please allow yourself time to practice delivering the presentation, as what you may think will only take you 30 seconds to discuss may, in fact, take much longer. You may then need to adjust the slides accordingly so that you don’t overrun.

A common mistake is to include the entire content of your presentation on the slides. In fact, you will fare much better by leaving the slides relatively clear of text, and delivering the bulk of your presentation verbally. This serves a number of purposes: you will engage more with your audience; they will listen to you more as they will not be reading the text on the screen; YOU will not fall into the trap of just reading off the screen; and if you also include pictures rather than all words you will connect with those members of the audience that are more stimulated by pictures rather than by text.

Do feel free to gain an objective opinion on your presentation – your CK consultant would be happy to lend a hand. While you may well be more familiar with the technical content of the presentation, it never hurts to have another person cast an eye over it to pick out those spelling, grammatical or formatting errors.

2. Competency-based questions
Competency-based questions, also known as ‘HR’ questions, are those which ask you to describe how you would handle/ how you have acted in certain situations. Typical examples include such questions as: “Tell me about a time when you have shown leadership capabilities”, “Explain to me about your organisational ability”, “Describe where you have worked as a team” and so on.

The best way to answer these questions is by providing examples – real life examples if possible. Tell the interviewer what you have done in that situation, rather than hypothetically what you would do.

Here at CK, we would also recommend employing the STAR technique. First of all, as with all interviews, prepare. Research the company, know your own achievements, prepare examples relating to the job requirements. Also ensure that you listen to the question, and discuss a relevant example – make sure you are answering the question you have been asked, not the question that you think you have been asked.

The STAR technique stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result:
Situation: Describe the context and background of a specific situation. Include the who, what, when and where.
Task: Explain the issue and highlight the challenges you faced. For example, any deadlines you had to hit, budget restrictions and costs involved etc.
Action: Describe the action you took and why you felt this was appropriate – highlight the desirable traits the employer is looking for.
Result: Finish with the outcome and include any rewards, recognition, benefits, savings – ensure you quantify your answer.

3. Technical questions
This is where you really must be familiar with your own background, educational history and previous career achievements. As with the competency-based questions, technical questions are best answered with real-life examples.

The main thing here is to be honest – while you want to impress your potential new employer, you don’t want to oversell yourself only to find that the employer’s expectations of you are inflated and you can’t live up to the job!

By utilising the STAR technique above you should be able to identify and demonstrate your suitability to the role while also maintaining your integrity – a win-win situation for all.


All the very best in your interviewing and if you would like any advice, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the CK Technical team on 01246 457730

Or to read another advice article on interview tips click here