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Different types of interview

Competency based interviews

These are designed to allow you to show how closely your skills and experience match the skills and experience required for the role. To prepare for this type of interview, you will need to study the job specification in detail, and then work out what would be the best examples from your previous experiences to match every competency listed in the job specification.

Competencies will vary depending on the particular role, but certain areas, such as communication, planning and organisation, teamwork and leadership will usually form part of any competency-based interview. Other areas could be adaptability, flexibility, compliance, risk-taking and conflict management.

Questions asked might include: Describe a time when you had to deal with pressure? Tell me about a project you generated on your own? Give an example of when you improved the efficiency of your team? Tell me about the biggest change that you have had to deal with and how did you cope with it? Describe a situation when you had to convince colleagues of a particular course of action?

Group interviews

You may be invited to be assessed as part of a group.This is to test how you might work as part of a team. Be prepared to take an active part in the discussion or task and put forward your ideas. Be confident but not aggressive.

Telephone interviews

Some employers may carry out a first interview over the phone. Be prepared for this when phoning employers by having your CV and the job specification handy, and reading through the sample questions that we have provided. It may also help to have the company web site open in front of you if possible.

Skills tests or work sample tests

These tests are designed to measure the level of your knowledge or understanding of the job (for example typing test and so on). Find out what the test will involve and try to practise before the interview.

Personality tests

You could be asked about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour in certain situations.There is no such thing as a right or wrong answer, as the overall picture is what is important. The end result is a personality rating used to see if the person fits the job advertised. Analysing these tests is a highly skilled process and larger organisations may use these tests along with other methods. Examples of commonly used tests along with more information can be found at and

Aptitude tests

These are designed to predict how well you might do certain tasks. They test abilities such as:

  • Reasoning with words, numbers or diagrams
  • Problem solving
  • Following instructions
These are either set as a written test paper or on-line test which you have to finish within a set time. Examples and more information can be found at and
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