You wouldn’t run a marathon in flip flops

We all make mistakes during interviews but there are some ways you can insure yourself against this. If you were planning to run a marathon, it’s pretty unlikely you’d succeed if all you did was buy a new pair of Nikes with a week to go, eat some pasta the night before, munch a few snacks to keep you going around the course and just hope that you’d be able to pull it out of the bag on the day, but it’s surprising how many people take this approach to interviews. Every interview you get, at every stage of the game (telephone, video, face to face) counts and you’ll need to put some training in to make sure your efforts in writing that application don’t go to waste. That goes for graduate roles, placements, summer internships and everything else in between!

Competency based interviews are some of the easiest to prepare for as they just require you to know your ‘skills stories’ i.e. the ones where you talk using the STAR technique (if you don’t know what that is go to the Henley Careers organisation on Blackboard and look at ‘Interviews and other assessments’). Don’t make the mistake of the failed marathon runner and assume you’ll be able to have a little think about this a few days before and then rock up and hope that what comes out of your mouth will win you the job.

A key step in preparing for these interviews is to make yourself a competencies mind map (or something similar that works for you). Take a look at my example to see how you can start to plan your stories.

competencies mind map

We can help you to translate these stories into strong answers to interview questions. Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant for some interview practice through My Jobs Online.


Sarah Rourke, Careers Consultant, Henley Business School