When it comes to interviews, preparation is key. And knowing what to expect can take a lot of the stress out of the experience.
For us, the interview is about getting to know you; we’re not trying to catch you out. It’s a chance to express yourself, and talk about your experiences, passions and motivations. So the first thing to say would be – relax, and be yourself.
There are two types of interview, which you might encounter. The first is a video interview, and the second is a face-to-face interview which you’ll do, if you’re invited to an Assessment Centre.
Advice for your video interview
This will be a one-way recording, not a live video interview. You’ll be recording responses to around 10 questions on your phone, tablet or computer. Altogether, it should take you around 20 minutes to complete.
Once a question is asked, you’ll have a minute to think about your answer (which can be up to two minutes long). If something goes wrong you can always re-record before moving on to the next one. You can also pause between questions if you need to.
The questions will focus on your strengths and motivations. They’re designed to find out why you want to join us: why RBS, why this programme, how does it tie in with your passions, talents and values? What makes us a great fit?
- Do your research. Find out about our business, our values, and the programme and show us what interests you about them
- Think carefully about your strengths and motivations, and why this is the programme for you
- Try to be specific in your answers, and avoid generalities and clichés
- Practice recording and listening back to answers to likely interview questions
- Choose somewhere quiet, with a good internet connection, where you won’t be disturbed
Advice for the face-to-face interview
If you’re invited to an Assessment Centre, one part of the day will involve a face-to-face interview.
The interview will be ‘competency based’, which means the questions will focus on how you’ve dealt with certain types of situations in the past. There could also be questions that ask you to explore how you’d approach a hypothetical situation.
The typical form of a competency based question runs – ‘could you tell us about a time when you’ve. . . ?’
When it comes to preparing and giving your answers to these kinds of questions, keep the STAR technique in mind.
- Situation – Briefly set the scene so that your interviewer understands the context
- Task – What did you need to achieve?
- Action – What did you actually do? This should make up the core of your answer
- Result – What was the outcome? Make sure it’s appropriate to the question
It’s best to stick with one concrete example per question. You could draw your examples from education, work, or other areas of life. The key is to make sure your examples are relevant and that you stay focused on what you did.
It can be easy to drift off topic, so practicing a few of these kind of answers in advance would be a good idea. Pick things you’re proud of, passionate about, and keen to discuss.
It might also help to familiarise yourself with the programme description. Look at the skills and qualities we mention there, and think about the things you’ve done, which demonstrate these.
There’s a popular article on our careers blog about interview tips and advice, which is definitely worth a read. And here are just a few more general things to consider:
It maybe goes without saying that you should dress in a smart and professional way for an interview, but it can often be overlooked.
Also, be honest, and be yourself. We want to find out about you, not an imagined version of the ideal graduate or intern. Let your personality and experiences speak for themselves, they’ve got you this far, so you must be doing something right.
Be friendly and personable
It’s entirely natural to feel a bit nervous and there’s no need to worry about that. The important thing is to be attentive, open and friendly. Greet your interviewer with a handshake and a smile – it’s a simple thing that can help to make a positive first impression.
It’s good to smile, make eye contact, and build rapport – but don’t feel you have to force these things.
Take your time to answer questions, and don’t be afraid to say that you’re just taking a moment to think through your answer.
Our Standards are the common assessment criteria that we use across the bank, and, in one shape or form, you’ll come across them in your interview.
There are 8 competency areas:
- Focus on customers
- Build trust
- Help others to succeed
- Act with integrity
- Make sound decisions
- Learn and adapt
- Deliver lasting results
It might be helpful to consider these when you’re preparing for your interview, doing practice questions and reflecting on how your values and ours could be linked.