DE&S Interview Tips
Congratulations, you’ve aced your CV application and have now been invited for an interview.
We’re really looking forward to talking with you, so please take the opportunity to prepare and highlight why you are the perfect person for the role.
Your interview will be a formal discussion lasting approximately one hour, where you’ll be assessed against the following:
- CV review (a discussion of key achievements, relevant experience, and applied skills and knowledge)
- Core behaviours (as stated in the job advert)
- Technical Competences (as stated in the job advert)
Find out more about the DE&S Behaviours and Technical Competences aligned to each job profile. You can use the Behaviour and Technical Competencies booklets to align your previous experiences against these criteria, and demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate for the job.
Preparation is important
- Most interviews are now taking place remotely, via Skype (voice calls) and Microsoft Teams (video calls). There are two ways to access the call, either via a link provided in a calendar invite, or via a telephone number and conference code provided in your confirmation email. If you require assistance or reasonable adjustments, please let your recruiter know in advance.
- Be ready early to avoid stress and ensure your device is working correctly.
- Have a copy of your CV with you – this will help to remind you of topics you want to discuss.
- Have a mock interview – ask a friend or family member to pretend to interview you so you have a chance to practise what you want to say
- Understand the job description and the key skills and experiences being asked for. Think of examples of when you have delivered in these key areas, especially focusing on achievements and successes. Consider using the STARR technique, explained below, to ensure the panel really understands your efforts and recognises the outcomes you achieved.
- Be sure to get enough sleep the night before. You will feel less nervous and more confident if you are refreshed and rested.
- Eat a good breakfast or lunch. Great interviews start with a great meal, and no one can provide good answers on an empty stomach.
- Give yourself a motivational talk. Remember to be confident and to remind yourself why you are a great fit for the role you have applied for.
- Most importantly – relax and be yourself.
- The difference between a good interview and a great interview can be showing that you have researched the organisation. Search our website to find out more about the work we do supporting the UK’s armed forces.
- We will be looking for you to display how you fit in with our behaviours, consider these when explaining your experience:
- We work as one team with our customer
- We support one another
- We are professional in everything we do
- We are committed to getting better
- We deliver on our promises – no excuses.
Your interview will begin with a CV review. The questions you’re asked will be based around the evidence provided in your CV. We’ll be trying to ascertain not only your experience, but also that you have the right skills and how you have achieved past goals.
You’ll then be asked two questions relating to the behaviours specified on the job advert, followed by two technical competence questions. When responding, consider your skills and previous experiences and how these may tie in with the DE&S Behaviours and those asked for in the job advert. We recommend preparing examples for each of the Core Behaviours and Technical Competences on the advert.
The STARR technique
When answering questions in your interview, using the STARR technique is a great way to ensure you present your examples with structure, context and depth. STARR stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result, Reflect.
Here’s how to use the STARR technique:
- Situation: Set the scene, giving a brief background of the situation. Try to be specific where possible – this helps give your answer credibility and helps your interviewer understand the context.
- Task: Based on the situation you’ve outlined, what was the specific task you had to undertake? What was the goal? Include any constraints you were faced with.
- Action: What did you actually have to do to resolve the situation? What was your approach? Outline the steps you took to achieve a successful outcome. It’s great to talk about how you collaborated with other stakeholders to help achieve the end result, but ensure you focus on specific actions that you carried out.
- Result: What was the outcome? Ensure you quantify the results as much as possible – back up what you achieved with facts and figures.
- Reflect: It’s good to discuss what you learned from the experience, too. Perhaps the end result wasn’t exactly what you’d envisaged, so tell us what happened and how it’s impacted your approach moving forward.
Use the STARR technique as a guide to help you feel prepared, but make sure your responses flow naturally. Keep it conversational and concise, and this method will help you to showcase the valuable experience you are bringing to the table.
Final top tips: display interest and ask questions
- We equip and support our armed forces, ensuring they have everything they need to do their job and remain safe, while protecting the nation. Our employees are passionate about the work we do and why we do it. Why do you want to work for DE&S? Consider how you will get this across.
- Ask questions – ensure you go to your interview prepared with questions you want answered. Great questions will enable you to show further interest, understand the challenges of the role and sell other areas of strength accordingly.
If you have any questions ahead of your interview, contact your recruiter who will be happy to answer any further queries you may have.
View our Interview Preparation advice as an easy-to-download document.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most interviews take place remotely, via Skype or Microsoft Teams, and can be accessed either via a link provided or a telephone number and conference code.
- The interview will last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- You’ll be invited to discuss your CV (including key achievements, relevant experience and applied skills and knowledge) and to establish whether you demonstrate the DE&S Behaviours.
- During the interview you will be asked questions and assessed around the Core Civil Service Behaviours and the Technical Competences stated in the job advert.
- If you have any technical problems, e.g. losing connection, then you can re-join the call using the same link or telephone number provided.
- If you require any assistance or reasonable adjustments, please let your recruiter know.
For virtual interviews, we recommend having a copy of your CV in front of you, to help remind you of key experiences and achievements you would like to highlight. We also recommend having a notepad to hand for any quotes or questions. Most paperwork is now shared digitally, however if there is any requirement for you to bring in documentation in person, your recruiter will advise you of this in advance.
Yes. Post interview stage, you will receive an email notification informing you whether you’ve been successful and you will also be provided with interview feedback.