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Interviewing tips from First Choice Coffee

22 May 2009 by

How do you find the right person for the job? Most people have been in the position where someone looks great on paper and they live up to expectations in the interview, but when it comes to the actual job, they're not quite up to scratch. So, how does this happen?

Laura Turrell, HR and training manager at First Choice Coffee, explains: "The key is in the interviewing. By using competency-based questions, it will force the candidate to think of examples of demonstrating a particular skill, so they provide you with evidence, rather than telling you what they think you want to hear.

Here are some examples of competency-based questions:


- What appeals to you about this position? 4. How does this position fit in with your long-term career plans? Working under pressure

  • Tell me about a time when you have had too many tasks to do and have had to prioritise
  • What, in a work environment puts you under pressure?

Customer care

  • Tell me about a time when you have had to deal with an angry co-worker
  • Describe a time when you could not meet a commitment to a customer. How did you handle it?

Team work

  • Describe your understanding of a team
  • Tell me about a project for which you were responsible, but had to get help from others to complete the task. What did you do?


  • Describe a situation where you were very effective in getting your point across and convinced others to change their position
  • Tell me about a time when you suggested an improvement to your employer


  • Give me an example of when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem
  • Give me an example of when you went above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done


  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way
  • Give me a specific time when you have had to conform to a policy that you didn't agree with

Once you have the right person on board, it's crucial to make sure that they feel part of the team from day one.

A thorough induction will not only make the employee aware of all the policies and procedures but will also give them a sense of belonging, particularly if the process involves interaction with other team members.

"The key to any successful business is to nurture your staff; they are undoubtedly your most valuable asset," Turell concludes.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


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