Getting prepared for
A Global Career Link Guide
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Like most Australasian’s going to the UK you probably have not had a
job interview in a while – so this guide is designed to give you a bit of
a practical refresher and tell you about some of the differences you
How UK interviews are different
from those back home
Because most people take contract work when they first arrive in the
UK (85%) it is likely that most of your initial interviews will be for
contract work. These interviews tend to be very different as they are:
Shorter in length – around 30 minutes and they are often
assessing either some core technical competencies for
doing the job o seeing that you are the right personality fit
for the team
Less structured – as the position is not permanent the right
or wrong hiring decision is not as crucial therefore the
interview is less structured.
Typically there is no testing – while psychometric testing is
popular in New Zealand and Australia for jobs it is typically
not used in the UK and almost never for a contract job.
Find out if possible what format the interview will take; will it be a
“behavioural” or “competency” based interview or an informal chat.
Either way this guide is designed to help you with both types – so
Tips before the interview even
Dress to impress! First impressions really do count, so ensure you
look the part in a smart suit.
Arrive early for the interview - 5-10 minutes early is optimum.
Know exactly who to ask for – these companies are big in the UK
and can have several thousand employees – some with the same
name. So know exactly who to ask for at reception by name, job title
Take ID with you – some of the bigger companies will not let you
past security without ID. If you cannot even get into the interview
then that is not a good start.
Take you mobile and important numbers – should you experience
any delays, such as your tune breaking down, you need to be able to
get in touch with your recruiter and let them know exactly what is
going on. They will then ring the client to explain.
Research the company – this means spending some real time
investigating the company and the position that is available, we
recommend that you use all the following sources:
Internet research – there is a stack of stuff available on the
web these days – but it can be too much. We recommend
that you research the company’s website and recent news
through Google news.
Recruitment consultant – your recruiter has probably been
dealing with the company and hiring manager for a while so
they can provide valuable insights for you. Just ask them.
Friends and colleagues – Look on LinkedIn and other
professional networking sites for people that you know that
work at the company and get in touch with them to find out
Rubber hits the
At the interview – the sharp
Good body language is vital – It is the first impression that counts
so greet your interviewer standing with a strong handshake, a friendly
smile and by looking them in the eye.
An enthusiastic, friendly and positive attitude will make a great
impression – so keep thinking happy thoughts!
Know your CV. – You will be expected to talk through it; paying
particular attention to the experience you have that lends itself well to
the role on offer. So think about this in advance of the interview.
Listen carefully – We know that this sounds old hat but you need to
understand and answer the interviewer’s questions. If you are unsure
what the interviewer means by the question then ask for clarification.
The best way to understand a question is to repeat it back to the
interviewer as a statement.
Answer questions but don’t waffle – time in the interview is
generally short so keep your answers to the point but more than one
Show enthusiasm for the role and company. If they have gone to
the trouble of interviewing you they most likely already think you can
do the job – now is your chance to reassure the interviewer that you
will be an asset to the organisation!
The interview will generally start with an introductory chat, and
then move onto more formal questions, concluding with the
opportunity for you to ask any remaining questions.
Get ready for
some curly ones
Questions that you might be
Tell me about yourself - This is an open-ended question often asked
to help break the ice in an interview. This question may be used to
assess your personality, preparation, communication skills and ability
to think on your feet. Remember keep the answer job-related.
Why did you leave your last job? – Respond positively “to extend
my career through international experience" or “increased
responsibility and greater variety of work"...
Why do you want to do this job / work for this company –
Demonstrate you hav edone your homework and show your
knowledge of the company emphasising your suitability for the job.
What do you think you have to offer this company - This is a
chance to sing your praises and show interest in the job so
concentrate on the skills you have which they need.
What do you think this position involves? - This question is
designed to reveal that you have thought about the position, done
some research, listened to the interviewer, and can summarise all of
this information clearly.
What do you know about the company – Demonstrate your interest
in the job, and your understanding of the company and industry. Talk
about the research you have done into the company like it’s size,
customers, reference your source of information where appropriate.
Do you have any questions you would like to ask – Prepare some
questions to ask the interviewer. Ask about the position, request
clarification of general information about the company, or summarise
your understanding and request confirmation.
What do you believe are your key strengths -. Prepare responses
that give specific examples of your strengths at previous positions
meets this employers needs.
What do you believe are your weaknesses - This is an opportunity
to turn the question into a positive. Think of a plausible weakness
that is not negative such as "I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet
deadlines". Alternatively you can show how you overcame the
weakness. "I have learned to value constructive criticism as I find it
helps improve my job performance."
What do you enjoy most about your current / last job –List
enjoyable aspects of past jobs that relate strongly relate to the key
competencies of the job you are interviewing for.
Where do you see yourself in five years time? - This is an
assessment of your ambition and career planning. So demonstrate
that your long-term goals are appropriate for the job.
What was your most noteworthy accomplishment in your last job
- Give examples of ways in which you saved the company time or
money or developed a strategy or procedure that improved efficiency.
Do you work well under pressure – Answer "yes" and give an
example of a time when you rose to the challenge.
Competency based interviews
– what to expect
A competency based interview allows you to display your skills,
knowledge and abilities (known as competencies) by giving specific
examples of your past experiences.
Through these interviews you can demonstrate what you have done.
Preparation is the key. Before any competency-based interview, look
at the job description and try to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes.
If “Leadership” is a key requirement for the role, simulate and practise
a few answers around this.
Interviewers will ask you very pointed questions. Frequently these
questions will be based around a job description. In the interview,
your response needs to be specific and detailed. Tell the interviewer
about a particular situation that relates to the question, not a general
one. When answering the question try to plan your answers in the
following format – Situation, Action, Outcome.
Situation - What was the situation? Describe the situation to set
Action - What did you do as a reaction to this situation? Talk
about “I” rather than “We”. The interviewer is interested
in what you did, not the company as a whole.
Outcome - What was the result of your action? Give a positive
result that shows success in the outcome.
Can you tell us about a time when you made a particularly
good decision? What was the situation? What decision did
you make and how did you make it? How did others
respond? How did you determine that it was a particularly
Can you tell us about a time when you personally
developed a new skill? How did you identify that you
needed the new skill? How did you go about obtaining the
new skill? What obstacles did you encounter? What was
Can you tell us about a time when you exceeded a
customer’s expectations? What were their expectations?
How did you determine their expectations? How did you
exceed them and why? How did they respond?
Can you tell us about a time when you dealt with conflict in
a team? Who was involved in the conflict? What was the
extent of the conflict and how was it caused? How did you
determine the cause of the conflict? What did you do? How
did others respond? What was the outcome?