Why the Best People for the Job Don’t Just Talk About Themselves

Interviews are sometimes daunting and it can be difficult to know exactly what an employer wants. Ben Gledhill, Head of Resourcing at Yodel, shares his thoughts on how to perform well.

The key is to remain as calm as possible. You can prepare well for interviews, but if you are not relaxed then all the hard work goes to waste. Your answer will not be clear, relevant or concise. Instead you will appear to lack confidence in your ability.

If you have got this far in the job application process, then the interviewer probably already accepts that as a Service leaver you are likely to have little to no commercial experience. This means they have a flexible idea of what skills and experiences they expect from the successful candidate. However, you still need to demonstrate that you are suitable for the role.

As a recruiter, I know I will never find someone who can do 100% of the job from day one. Therefore, I look for candidates who can grow into a role quickly. I want people hungry to learn and develop, who adapt to the changing work environment. Traditionally, employers focused almost exclusively on skills and experiences, but increasingly they are interested in a person’s behaviours and cognitive abilities.

Never speak negatively about previous employers or roles. Instead, focus on why the new roles appeals to you. Also avoid using the word ‘we’ when talking about your achievements in the Armed Forces, because the employer wants to know what you as an individual can contribute to the organisation.

An interview is a conversation, so be yourself and honest. Be inquisitive and demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the role. Try to steer the conversation so you can discuss your strengths, linking them to tangible experiences that demonstrate why you are an excellent candidate. On the other hand, do not be scared to talk about areas you struggle in, because you will appear authentic and humble. You can then describe what steps you are taking to overcome these challenges.

Listen properly to questions, and ask the interviewer to repeat if necessary. You can also ask questions yourself such as “I have read the job description, but is there anything else you are looking for?” This then gives you the opportunity to prove how you meet these additional criteria.

Finally, remember that you are not there to talk about yourself, but to show why you are the best person for the job.

Ask the Expert
You can read Ben’s answer, as well as other industry leaders, in the latest issue of Pathfinder Magazine – the monthly magazine for Service leavers. The OA edits a regular article called ‘Ask the Expert’, where career questions are answered by a panel of experts. Read the full article.


Do you know how LinkedIn can lead to an interview?

The social media consultant, Lincoln Coutts, is running two LinkedIn workshops, where you will learn how to create a profile that shines to employers and your network contacts. Click the links below for more information and to register.

Friday 13th September – London

Wednesday 18th September – Catterick