Types of interviews

Competency-based interviews

It is likely that the interviewer will ask questions to understand and discover if you have personal qualities needed for the role. Normally, they will ask you for examples of how you demonstrated these qualities in the past when you faced these challenges.

Some of the questions that may come up are

  • Working in a team
  • When and how you would prioritise work
  • Dealing with difficult or unhappy customer/client
  • Working under pressure and working towards a tight deadline
  • Showing initiative
  • Going beyond the call of duty or beyond the normal duties of your role
  • Working in a team to solve problems
  • You may be asked to present information/experiences from previous job roles, in this case there won’t be a right or a wrong answer
  • Present yourself in such a way to show the interviewer that you are the right person and you can do the job
  • Explain the situation fully, including the challenge and how you overcame the challenge to resolve the situation.

Biographical Interviews

  • Interview based around your CV and application form
  • The interviewer will focus on the work you did in the past and how that is relevant to this role and perhaps what they are interested in
  • When answering, do not be too brief, but also do not waffle on, create a balanced answer, showing that your previous experience is relevant to this role
  • This is your opportunity to showcase yourself.

Telephone Interview

  • Ensure you find a quiet space where you will NOT be disturbed by background noise or sound.
  • Have a pen and some papers for notes and instructions
  • Find a comfortable seat as the interview could be long
  • A glass of water
  • Interviews over the phone may involve both biographical or competency-based questions

Assessment centres

  • Assessment centres vary and it is difficult to state which one will be used, but it would depend on the type of job normally
  • They will assess how you interact with other candidates as part of the interview
  • Assessment centres usually take longer than interviews and will most likely have multiple candidates attending
  • The employer will set tasks to test your abilities
  • You will also learn about the company and how the culture within the company

The following are also covered


  • Ensure you role play with empathy and respect to the character whose problem you are trying to solve
  • Each individual will be assigned a role in a scenario that will, usually, be related to either a typical day on the job or a very stressful or awkward situation which must be managed using quick thinking.
  • Do not rush to answer, rather take few moments and think it through before answering
  • If in a team, then ensure you contribute as the assessors are looking for many qualities such as contribution, leading, weaknesses, etc

Group exercises:

  • It is important to have the right attitude from the start. You must be positive, engaging, enthusiastic and respectful of your group members’ contributions
  • Ensure you participate and make contributions
  • If you do not speak, you will be marked down
  • Playing a positive, leading, yet listening role, is advisable

Presentation exercises:

  • As the heading suggests, it’s a presentation and so you will need to speak in front of a panel or audience, therefore, ensure you have cleared your throat and have practised beforehand just to get in to the swing of speaking loud. However, it should not get to the point where it is deemed as screaming.
  • Whilst presenting you should keep the following points in your presentation:
  • Introduction explaining what you are about to discuss/talk about
  • The main body, where you elaborate in detail
  • A conclusion which summarises the key points
  • Ensure you do not exceed the time allotted to you
  • Take brief notes and towards the end have a Q&A session


  • Answer honestly and to the best of your ability
  • If it is a numeracy test, do not be afraid to ask for a calculator
  • If it is a psychometric test, there is very little preparation that you can do