There are three typical questions are outlined below along with some advice and, where appropriate, a model answer. The model answers are written from the perspective of a 16-18 year old and can be adapted according to your own experiences.
Question 1: Give details of your main extracurricular activities and interests to date. What have you contributed and what have you got out of them?
Tip: This question is designed to assess two key elements:
- your motivation to get involved in activities outside the curriculum;
- your ability to relate your extracurricular activities to the specific skills required in the vacancy.
Model answer: I am a member of a police cadet corp. and attend weekly meetings. We work on three aspects each week; work for the community, learning about the law and drill. Outside of the meetings we also help out at local events and go on camp twice a year.
Being a member of the cadets has improved my organisational skills and my ability to work as part of a team, this is particularly important when we are working at local events as each cadet has a role to fulfil. It has improved my communication skills as I have to speak to wide variety of people; other cadets, senior officers and members of the public. I think that attending the camps has also made me more independent and responsible as we have to be self sufficient in terms of setting up camp and preparing food.
My responsible attitude, organisation, team work and communication skills are all things which I could bring to your organisation.
Question 2: What is your greatest achievement to date?
Tip: This question is similar to the previous one but you can also outline an activity in school.
You should emphasise why you consider your achievement to be ‘great’ in relation to the vacancy requirements, plus state what the experience has taught you. This may be picked up for further discussion in an interview.
Model answer: My greatest achievement to date is medalling at the county championships 400m final. I had been training for over 2 years prior to the event and this success was a result of the hard work and dedication I put in. Although it was an individual achievement it would not have been possible without the support of my training partners, we encourage and motivate one another both at training and during competitions.
Likewise my coach also played a major role. I listen to his advice and am keen to learn and improve using this advice and I believe that this mindset was crucial in achieving this success.
Question 3: What attracts you to our firm?
Tip: Show that you have a clear understanding of the organisation’s values and ethos and that they match yours. The more research you do, the better, as it demonstrates a real motivation to work for that specific organisation. Look on their website and trawl the internet to find genuine reasons for applying.
If you can visit their stand at a careers event, ask their representatives what they enjoy about working for that firm and quote them in your answer.
Model answer: This is very specific to the organisation and therefore no model answer is available for this question.