It can be hard to predict what questions an interviewer is going to ask, but you should always make time to think about what you might be asked and the answers you could give. Being prepared can make the difference between a really successful and enjoyable interview and one where you feel uncomfortable and awkward during the meeting.
What will I be asked in an interview?
Employers will want to hear about your working style, skills, knowledge and experience so they can see how suited you are to the role, therefore it is important to relate your answer to your previous employment and life experience.
You can prepare answers to general questions using the help of a Skills Matrix, which we will explain in more detail in the next section. You could also do online research into the questions you might be asked for different types of job roles to help you prepare.
Employers will also want to gauge your personality so they can see how well you match their company ethos and whether you would fit into their team, so it is important that your answers are honest, personal and showcase you.
There are different techniques that you can use to answer interview questions, but the important thing to remember is to give clear, concise answers and to answer the question the interviewer asks you. CAR and STAR are two common interview techniques that you can use to help guide how you answer the questions, you can use either one as they are both similar.
CAR stands for 'Context, Action, Result'
STAR stands for 'Situation, Task, Action, Result'
Preparing an answer using the 'CAR' technique
CAR is a great technique to use if you are giving an example of something you have done successfully in work or achieved in your personal life. For example, it could be used to answer questions such as:
- An example of good team working
- A successful customer service outcome
- Describing a time you went above and beyond for someone
- A time you solved a problem effectively
We wouldn't use the 'CAR' technique to answer every single question an interviewer asks, but when used at the right time it can be very effective way of explaining something you have done. When you are preparing your answers, this is how you would use the 'CAR' technique:
First explain the surrounding context of the situation you want to use as your example.
Describe the actions you took to solve the problem or to create new opportunities related to the situation you are describing.
What was the outcome of your actions/how did the organisation benefit?
An example 'CAR' technique interview answer
Have a look at the interview question and answer below, can you see how the person who answers the question uses CAR in their answer?
STAR is another technique you can use to answer interview questions to ensure you give a potential employer enough detail to showcase your skills and experience. It is similar to the CAR technique we have described above, but you may find it easier to explain 'Context' by breaking it down into smaller chunks.
As a reminder, STAR stands for:
S - Situation
T - Task
A - Action
R - Result
Why not download our STAR interview preparation template and try preparing answers to the questions shown?
STAR Interview Preparation
Remember to complete a Skills Matrix and use the information from this to develop your answers.
Your Employment Coordinator has access to a huge array of mock interview questions, across many sectors and job roles, which you can use to help prepare for your interview. There are more examples of interview questions on the Skills Jersey website, you can find these in the link below:
Your Employment Coordinator can also arrange a mock interview for you and give constructive feedback to help improve your interview skills. If you would like help with your interview preparations, please speak to them.