Smash those Competency Based Interview Questions with CAR or STAR!

Car OR StarIf you are familiar with CAR and STAR, you will know that they are fantastic templates for answering competency based questions.

Note:  A competency based questions is a behavioural question where you describe a situation which demonstrates how you have dealt with that scenario in your past career.  

The most popular tends to be STAR, but I think this is the more difficult to remember than CAR, especially when you are under pressure in an interview situation.

As a quick reminder (or for those who are not familiar with it) STAR stands for:


     S – Situation (describe the situation you faced)

     T – Task (describe the tasks you undertook)

     A – Actions (talk about the actions you made)

     R – Result (major on the results you got)


The ‘S’ and the ‘T’ and ‘A’ tend to get muddled so that’s why I prefer CAR instead and this is what I teach to my students/clients.


Here’s the easier way:

CAR stands for:


     C – Challenge (describe the challenge you faced, i.e. set the scene)

     A – Actions (describe the actions you took to overcome that challenge)

     R – Results (major on the results you got)


See how much easier that is?  So the next time you are faced with a competency based question at interview, have CAR running in the back of your mind and you’ll soon be ‘motoring’ with your brilliant answers!


Would you like a FREE copy of my short ebook on ‘How to Answer Key Competency Based Questions with Ease’?

The first 10 people to email me and just put ‘Competency Based Questions’ in the email subject header will receive one, with my compliments 🙂


Questions for YOU to ask at Interview!

Your CV has been submitted for a role you really want, and you have been invited to interview.  Well done!

At the end of the interview, there’s always a section where the employer asks “have you got any questions for us”?  This is where most people’s minds go blank and they say no and get ready to leave.

Remember the interview is a 2-way process!  They are interviewing you for the role they think you can fulfill, but you are also interviewing them as a prospective employer.  You wouldn’t buy a house  without asking questions, so don’t take on a role without asking some key questions too!

Below are a few questions you can have up your sleeve to ask at interview.  Don’t ask them all, but choose a few that you feel would really give you the information you require to enable you to make the decision on whether to accept the role or not (should it be offered).

  1. What do YOU think is the best thing about working for this company?
  2. Why has the position become available?
  3. What can I expect from you in terms of support, development and motivation?
  4. What is the management culture like within this company?
  5. All companies have values.  What would you say is the number one value of this company?
  6. I like to use my initiative – would this be welcomed in this role?
  7. What opportunities are there for promotion within this company?
  8. Should I be successful in my interview, when will I hear back from you?
  9. What does this company do, to show it values its employees?
  10. Killer question:  What one thing can I tell you about myself;  that will convince you that I am the right person for the job?

Need help with your questions?  Don’t hesitate to contact me

Is Your CV Getting You An Interview?

job wantedAs a graduate, I know you will have had some help from your university about how to write a good CV. However, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting!

If your CV is not opening doors to interviews, then there is something wrong. And if you keep sending it out its like the equivalent of banging your head against a brick wall and wondering why you’ve got a headache.

When reviewing CV’s I can often see potential in what’s written, but it’s presented in such a way that I can see why recruiters put the CV on the ‘reject pile’. I was that HR Manager at one point in my career!

Or you might be scratching your head thinking, “I just don’t know what to write!” “How do I make my p/t sales role looking interesting enough to get a company to hire me as a graduate?” “How do I make myself look different from all the 100’s of other graduates who are also applying?”

These days you have to be different. You have to stand out and grab the recruiter’s attention. They have limited time to read 100’s of application for a single job so they may well be adopting the ’15-second WOW test’.

Here’s how you can do it, too …

Take your first page and fold the last third of the page backwards (so you only see 2/3rd’s of the first page). Read as much as you can in 15 seconds only.

Does it WOW you? Does it represent who you are and give the recruiter the impression that you are the right candidate for the job? If not, it’s time to go back and re-address the CV. Your front page should be like a ‘sweet-shop’ window – full of enticing information that mirrors and matches the job you are applying for.

If you are still struggling to get an interview, my DIY Graduate CV Writing Kit can help. Plus you get the added bonus of having me by your side to check it over once you’ve finished, so you know you are going to get a 100% result. Interested? Have a look and see what you get – it’s phenomenal value!

4 Essential C’s for Interview Success

Ever wondered what recruiting managers are really looking for in candidates?  Well these 4 C’s should help remind you when you are next sat in the interview chair!

The 4 C's of Interview Success

1.  Capability – all those competency based questions are trying to find out whether you can do the job.  They want to hear how you’ve been there, done it, and got the T-shirt!  So give real examples following the CAR* framework.

2.  Confidence – do the words that come out of your mouth sound convincing?  Do you ooze confidence?  Are you filling them with the thought that you are just what they need – or filling them with dread?  Use your voice to convey your enthusiasm – pitch, pace and tone.  Match that with your body language too.

3.  Character – what does your personality say about you?  And more importantly what does your on-line character say about you?!?  Google yourself and see what comes up.  If you were a prospective employer, would you hire you based on what you read online?

And lastly …

4.  Compatability – they will be judging you for a ‘cultural’ fit.  You’ll see clues to their culture everywhere – online, through their company values, the people in their organisation.  Pick up on that culture and ask yourself ‘would I fit in here?’.  You can guarantee they’ll be asking themselves the same question!

CAR framework – Tell them about the Challenge you faced, Actions you took, Results you got!!