How to win at interview – Webinar Highlights

If you couldn’t make our recent webinar on ‘How to win at interview’ then don’t worry here are our highlights.  Victoria Mclean founder of CityCV an international career consultancy and award winning CV writer gave a comprehensive view on how to boost your chances of interview success. You can see the full webinar by signing up here.


  • Strategy for an interview is the same as for your CV, LinkedIn and covering letter – all of which are tools in your job search armoury.
  • Set a hidden agenda for yourself before the interview – a list of key items that you want to commit to getting out at some point in the interview that you need to tell the interviewer.
  • Identify what is the employer’s ‘need’ – the commercial benefit you will bring to your future employer and think when you have delivered that in the past? (identify examples).
  • Perform a skills and knowledge audit – aim for ten and back it up with tangible examples. Assign each skill to a finger so you don’t forget! Think about harder skills e.g. specific risk modelling methodologies or technical skills e.g. software, project management, Prince 2 as well as softer skills like engaging the board, pitching idea, visionary leadership.
  • Think how to differentiate yourself – Who is waiting outside to say the same thing. This is all about self-branding and being memorable. Remember you are also a human being connecting with another human being so it is a good idea to mention at least one thing that is not on your CV e.g. climbed Mount Everest, Rugby coach, blogger.
  • Build a spreadsheet for compiling notes for your stories – using a method called STAR Technique. Situation (10%), Task (10%), Action (70%) and Result (10%). The action part of the answer is the most important and must relate to the target competency. The result is the positive outcome and could be a bottom line impact, finishing a project ahead of deadline.
  • Avoid drifting and waffling. Think carefully about what the interviewer wants to hear and anchor yourself to that competence. It is easy to get lost in the story but most interviewers will want to hear the action and the result. Make sure that every step of your STAR relates back to the competency requested.
  • Dealing with a career break – express them as intended and planned (if it was), a planned sabbatical or planned carer break and briefly explain what you did over that period and don’t’ focus on the gap. Focus on your professional experience instead. So if you have had a career break because of e.g. children think about activities that reflect workplace competencies e.g. voluntary work, Governor of the school board, helped friends with their business. Only add further detail if asked and focus on the positives and achievements and how you have kept up to date with the sector, technology etc and then move on.
  • Do your homework. Know the company ethos and any issues. Understand the regulatory, political and economic environments. Review any technology. Review the main issues and concepts in your sector. Read the FT, Economist or industry periodicals to be up to speed. Talk with past colleagues and be aware of what the competition is doing. This is an area that surprisingly too many candidates miss in their preparation but it is this homework that will make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Finally, good luck and don’t stress. The interview is as much about interviewing them as it is them interviewing you.

*For more information on predictable questions such as strengths, track record, negatives, motivations etc, proving competence click here.

With huge thanks to City CV for their insights. If you would like further information or support with either your CV or LinkedIn profile you can contact Victoria McLean directly on LinkedIn.

For any other information please contact

Developement, Interviews, webinar, Recruitment & Retention, CV

More news and career advice

The final frontier: Allowing PAs to work flexibly

Recently we were invited to talk about flexible working at The PA Club’s January Discussion Forum.  It was a lively session of PAs and Team Leaders from a number of industries including the legal and accounting sector. It’s great to attend a session like this, particularly when everyone is so passionate about the subject. It

Continue Reading

How to create a memorable presentation for interview?

Quite often in the recruitment process, candidates are now being asked to give a presentation. It fills many of us with dread; even if you like the idea of showing off your abilities in such a way, you can easily feel overwhelmed. Creating a dynamic and engaging presentation is no mean feat but remember it

Continue Reading

Is working from home really as brilliant as it sounds?

Whatever the reasons for wanting to work from home – better work/life balance, less commuting, more time at home with the children – you need to think long and hard before you go for it. You may find it’s not the right working arrangement for you. In our many conversations with candidates and clients over

Continue Reading