"This is your main chance to sell yourself. So you must do that. It might seem uncomfortable... but no one is going to do this for you. You have to take responsibility for it."

The job application is complete, you have tailored your CV to the company and now you have been invited for an interview. How do you ensure you make a positive impression on a potential employer, even when you are a bag of nerves?

Lisa Jones from the Officers' Association has the following advice:


Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. Make sure you can answer these questions: What do you want from a job? What are your strengths? What areas do you need to develop? What does the employer want? How can you demonstrate you can do the job?


Do your homework. Look into the background of the company and demonstrate your knowledge in the interview. Find a common connection with your potential employer. Look them up on Linked In. Did they go to the same university as you? Do they share a forces background?

Remote Interviews

Phone or Skype interviews are usually the first stage of the process. This is where recruiters will eliminate candidates. But you should treat them exactly the same as a face to face interview. One important tip is to remember to smile. 

The Questions

Be prepared for different question styles, like open, closed, hypothetical and competency questions. The interviewer may ask personal, topical and technical questions.

Sell Yourself

This might feel uncomfortable, but you have to do it. No one else is going to do this for you. Don't leave the interview with any regrets. 

Final Tips

Relax and smile. 

Every week, Forces Radio BFBS Catterick's Chris Kaye discusses a different aspect of starting a new career after leaving the Armed Forces with an OA Career Consultant. Upcoming topics include coping with the challenge of transition; preparing for interviews and networking.

Ernie Rowe, Head of Forces Radio BFBS UK, said:

“BFBS is committed to giving Service personnel the information they need. For those leaving the Armed Forces, that means having access to relevant career advice. The weekly interviews by the OA will help them to be job-ready in a civilian environment.”

Liz Stevens, Head of Employment Services at the OA, said:

“The interviews give our Career Consultants the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with a wider audience. They have supported thousands of Servicemen and women into new careers.”

The interviews are part of the OA’s aim to support transitioning and former officers to achieve a new fulfilling and sustainable career. The charity has a regional office in York, providing confidential, impartial and practical advice on all aspects of transition and employment to the local officer community. Service leavers can access jobs and training opportunities, including employment symposiums, networking events and weekly webinars.

Picture: Tim Gouw

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