Great interviewees don’t actually achieve some spectacular feat of persuasion. Not that I’ve seen in interviewing candidates for Worthwhile over the past three years. At least 90% of what makes them so great to interview is exactly the advice you get through your Careers Service.

Here are a few things our interviewers say about stand-out candidates in the competency interview. The following assumes you generally have the right kind of experience for the role. Just like with CVs, even breathtaking command of technique is no substitute for having great experience and qualifications.

Successful candidates have a range of examples to draw upon

This does require having experiences that demonstrate a range of competencies. Good candidates had also put work in ahead of time to ensure that they could recall relevant examples for each of the competencies outlined in the role description.

You can draw on all areas of your life, even the parts that don’t seem ‘spectacular’

It doesn’t have to mean doubling sales revenue for the social enterprise you founded. Caring for a family member, might seem like day to day for you, but it requires bags of resilience and communication skills. You might be bored by your part time job, but it requires drive and self motivation to keep going. It’s not just the situation that matters, it’s how well the particular example demonstrates the competency we’re asking about.

Great candidates choose wisely

While having a range of examples is important, that doesn’t mean you have to pull an entirely new example out of the bag for every single question you’re asked. We know that your longer and more involved experience will be the most fertile ground to go over in interview. Good candidates had spent time working out which of their experiences best demonstrates the competencies outlined.

They communicate those experiences well

The STAR method is touted by so many Careers Services because it generally works. Great candidates go the extra mile by considering each example from the perspective of an interviewer. This means they have practised telling the story in a succinct way and are confident demonstrating the role they personally played in situations.

Strong candidates can tell a compelling, authentic story as to why they’re in that room

They’re well prepared for questions around motivation and can tell a persuasive, personal account of what lead them to choose a career in social impact.