“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
Use our employability resources to prepare yourself for application submissions and interviews.
CVs are designed to provide a summary of your education and work experiences so potential employers can decide whether to grant an interview. They usually include educational background, achievements, job experience and career goals.
Use our CV template to guide you.
Download our CV Template here
Your covering letter is an important document – a key part of your application to a prospective employer. By writing a strong covering letter, your application could really stand out from the crowd.
Use our Cover Letter template to guide you.
Download our Cover Letter Template here
Top skills employers want
3. Problem Solving
4. Initiative and Self Motivation
5. Commercial Awareness
6. Drive and Determination
7. Written Communication
8. Planning and Organising
10. Time Management
- enter the room confidently & make eye contact.
- be polite & friendly.
- look interested and ask questions.
- provide examples to prove your skills & achievements.
- avoid yes or no answers.
- speak clearly.
- be positive.
- sit down till the interviewer asks you to.
- fidget, slouch or fold your arms.
- criticise your past employers.
- draw attention to weakness.
- lie or be too enthusiastic.
Remember most employers like people who…
- answer questions with examples.
- are brief and keep to the point.
- come prepared and appear confident.
Top interview questions
"Why do you want to work here?"
To answer this question you must have researched the company. Reply with the company’s attributes as you see them and how your qualities match them.
"Tell me about yourself"
This is not an invitation to ramble on. If the context isn’t clear, you need to know more about the question before giving an answer. Whichever direction your answer ultimately takes, be sure that is has some relevance to your professional endeavours. You should also refer to one or more of your key personal qualities, such as honesty, integrity, being a team player, or determination.
"What is the biggest challenge you have faced in work in the past 12 months?"
This is often an opening question, as it allows you to use one of your strongest examples and may help you relax. To the interviewer it is also an indication of where your natural focus or achievements may be – people development, process, cost reduction, change etc.
“What do you know about the centre/company/role?”
You are not required to be an expert on the organisation or role, but a genuine interest and basic understanding is expected. If you are working with a recruitment consultant then they should be able to provide you with extra details and assist with preparation. In addition, look for and use press releases, corporate and social websites. Read the job description to prepare for this question, a few key facts or some knowledge show a genuine interest and commercial awareness.
“Why do you want this job?”
Whilst more money, shorter hours or less of a commute are all potential factors for your next role, they are unlikely to make you the ‘stand out’ candidate of the day. Know what the company are looking for, the potential job available and align this with your career to date. Highlight your relevant experience, goals and aspirations in line with the role, to showcase why you are the best person for the job.
“How would your colleagues/manager describe you?”
Try to think about how you would describe yourself if someone asked you for your strengths, and then relate these to what people say about you. Have three or four at the ready, ideally in line with the role you are being interviewed for. Have the examples or situations ready, in case your interviewer wants to drill down as to why you think or believe these are your key strengths. E.g. Good organiser, team player.
“What is your biggest achievement?”
If possible, think work related. There will hopefully be a number of things you are most proud of in your career to date. Think about your key achievements, were they commercial, people or process orientated? What was the cause and effect? How were you involved, what was improved, saved or developed? If you are short on career-based examples then use personal achievements which demonstrate the commercial skills required for the role, such as team work, commitment, empathy, determination, attention to detail, etc.
“Can you give me an example of...?”
These questions will more often than not be based around the role competencies.
Preparation and rehearsal are key to answering these effectively. You will need two or three instances of how you may have: delivered change, managed conflict, improved performance, increased customer satisfaction, etc. You need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate the problem, solution and outcome.
Prepare your STAR answers (Situation, Target, Action and Result)
“What have you done to promote great customer service?”
Firstly, know what you think great customer service looks like. Look for situations and examples when you had an idea, a client, or customer call, where you personally went that extra mile. Did you change a process or procedure? Or perhaps a staff member you mentored, coached or advised delivered a great customer service win or result for your team, brand or business.
“What are the key factors which make a successful business?”
Fundamentally, if you look under the skin of the best teams and call centres, they do have certain things in common: clear communication, environment, consistency, fun, performance management, leadership, engagement, incentives, etc. Think what made up the best team or company you have been a part of or have seen. Have examples to back up any statements for how you would play a part in, or create, this team or environment yourself.
“How do you manage change?”
Change is an essential part of life in any business, as each industry strives to achieve best practice for their customers and stakeholders. Have some examples on how you personally managed, or, were affected by some change. What was your focus, what were you aiming to achieve and how did you deliver the outcome? Know what the problems encountered were and what was learnt through and following the transformation.
“What was your reason for leaving?”
Wherever possible be positive, even if your role was short term or didn’t quite work out as expected as it will have added extra experience, industry or skills to your career history. Although you are now looking to move on, acknowledge what you learned and what was on offer at the time. Demonstrate your good reasons for the decisions you made and that you understood what was to be gained, or acknowledge what you have learnt from past employer experiences.
"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
You would answer I want to grow into the position and into a more responsible and respected position but still doing work I care about. I want to make a difference to the organisation
You may also want to add “Hopefully I’ll be alive, healthy, happy and thriving in this company”.
"What motivates you to do a good job?"
DO NOT SAY MONEY!
You want to become better at your job
You want to help others
You want to be recognised for a job well done The belief you have made a difference.
“What are your greatest strengths?”
This is your chance to shine. You are being asked to explain why you are a great employee, do not hold back, but stay positive.
You might say you thrive under pressure; you have great attention to detail, or “I have been told that I am an excellent communicator, but I feel I have good interpersonal skills generally and find it easy to get along with all sorts of people”.
You should relate your strengths where possible to what is in the job description. The interviewer is looking for work related strengths.
"What is your biggest weakness?"
When asked to give examples on the weaknesses, you need to think very carefully, and plan in advance what your response will be, as many people dig a very deep hole here.
If you are asked this question give a small work related answer that you are working hard to improve
E.g. “I can be impatient to get the job done quickly. I set very high standards and can be tough on myself.”
“I am a very conscientious worker and I get irritated by colleagues who take any opportunity to take time off work or do the minimum required when they are there. I am learning, however, that these people generally get found out and I leave it to my supervisor to recognise these problems and address them”.
Another good response to the weakness quoted would be: “I had a situation once where I knew that a more experienced colleague was regularly absent from work following nights out drinking, but she would say that she had a migraine. When this happened my workload increased significantly and whereas I undertook this willingly, I must admit I was annoyed that this person was taking advantage of me and the company. However, I decided to let the supervisor do their job and just get on with mine. In quite a short space of time, the issue was addressed and the problem was resolved”.
Answers such as this would probably make the interviewer think “well that’s not such a bad thing, actually”.