If you’re through to the interview stage - well done! 

Whether you are now, or hope to be in the future, it’s worth starting to prepare.  

Interview formats can vary. Some employers will just want a ‘coffee and a chat’. Some will have a question-based interview. Others will have tasks and questions to go through. In this lesson, we’ll help you to know what to expect and how to prepare.


  • Know how to complete company research
  • Be able to prepare for interview questions
  • Prepare questions to ask
  • Know what else you’ll need for interview

Read time:

11 mins

Chapter 1

Read the job post

Read time:

1 min

Why this is important

The job post has so much information once you look at the detail. To make the most of this, you’ll need to be familiar with how to spot it. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to prepare. This leaves you with more chance of feeling confident and calm in your interview.

Looking at the detail can help you understand the qualities the employer is looking for. You can then use this to show you have these qualities throughout your application.

Interviews often involve the employer asking you questions to check you can meet their requirements. The more you know about these requirements before you interview, the better.

Looking back at the job needs will also tell you a lot about the company. Their culture, values and whether you’ll be the right person for their company.


Here are the areas of the job post to be familiar with:

  • About us – Tells you what the company do, how they do it and their values
  • Role/job overview – Tells you what the company expects you to do
  • Key responsibilities – This provides specific details of what the main aspects of the role will be
  • What we’re looking for – This provides details of the qualities the employer is looking for


You’ll find each job you see has a different layout. So, try to find each of these aspects in each job post, no matter the layout.

Chapter 2

Company research

Read time:

2 mins

What do you need to know?

All companies are different, they have different structures and ways of working. Finding out more about the company will help you decide if you’ll be a good fit. The employer might even test what you know and that you’ve taken effort to research in your interview.

Spend some time before the interview getting to know more about the company. This shows an employer you care about their company and really want to work for them.


Here’s a few things to look at or research:

  • Company website – They’ll have a section called ‘About us’
  • Company history – How long have they been trading? How many employees do they have?
  • Company mission statement and values – Think about how you can show you are passionate about them and share their values
  • Company social media – Look on the company’s social media to see what they are doing 
  • Industry news – Have they made any recent press releases?

Chapter 3

Prepare to be asked questions

Read time:

6 mins

Being prepared

During your interview, you can expect to be asked questions by the employer. They’ll often ask questions about yourself, your career, goals and personal qualities.

Looking at common interview questions is a good starting point. You can use these to draft some pre-prepared answers for you to practise. Think about your skills and successes and how you can weave in a broad range of examples. Try not to use the same example over and over.

Another tip is to make sure you don’t overuse the answers you’ve prepared, make sure you answering questions you don’t expect. It’s possible to pre-prepare and have none of them answer the question. So, you need to practise thinking in the moment. This makes sure you never leave the question unanswered or answered by something that isn’t relevant.


Common interview questions:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


Answering questions with clear results

The employer likes to be able to see clear examples or evidence of your skills and experiences. It should be easy for them to pick out your proof points.

One technique you can use to achieve this is called STAR.


What does STAR mean?

  • Situation – Help them understand the context of your experience. When did it happen, what led to the task?
  • Task – Describe what needed to be done and why. What was the outcome you needed to achieve?
  • Action – What did you do? How? Make sure you show your personal actions and skills
  • Result – Explain the results. This helps them understand in real terms the kinds of outcomes your skills can bring to the role


How to prepare to use STAR:

  1. Read the job post again
  2. Highlight the skills and experience needed for the role
  3. Review your skills, experience and results
  4. Write a star for each of the role requirements based on your skills and experiences
  5. Practice speaking these examples out loud


Example answer using STAR

  • While I was working in Customer Services, our team became aware that our customers weren’t interacting with our new service.

  • I was challenged to understand why and try to find a solution.

  • I started by doing some customer research in one of our hubs. This allowed me to understand the issues with the current service and create a list of recommendations for re-design. I engaged various stakeholders and team members to carry out these changes.

  • This resulted in a prioritised list of improvements for my team to design and carry out. We have already seen a 30% uplift in customer interactions.

Chapter 4

Questions to ask

Read time:

1 min

How to prepare

Your interview is also an opportunity for you to find out more about the company. At the end of the interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions.

This is your opportunity to find out more about the team and role beyond the job post. It will help you consider whether this is the right job for you.


Common interview questions to ask:

  • How would you describe the company's culture?
  • Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
  • What are the biggest challenges the company is facing right now?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What are the opportunities for training and progression in the company?
  • What is your timeline and what are the next steps?
  • Are there any other important aspects of the job we haven't covered?


These are just a few of many questions you might come across. To set yourself up with the best chance of success research lots of common interview questions to ask. It’s always a good idea to ask at least one question, as it shows you are interested and engaged.

Chapter 5

Personal preparation

Read time:

1 min

What to consider

With most of your preparations complete, it’s easy to overlook some other aspects. Let’s talk about these first, then finish this lesson with some hints and tips.


Other things to think about:

  • What to wear – Wear clothing appropriate to your interview
  • Travel plans – Allow more time to travel than you need. Check for travel delays and know where to go
  • Virtual – Make sure you know how to access the platform and how to use it
  • What to take – Remember anything you need to take with you, for example, a copy of your CV
  • Attitude check – Think about being the best possible version of yourself on the day

Let’s recap!

  • Check the interview details
  • Dress appropriately
  • Research the company
  • Prepare for the questions you’ll be asked
  • Prepare your questions to ask


Bank of Scotland Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Bank of Scotland does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 23rd February 2024.