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Tips for applications and interviews

We have designed this guide to help you prepare for your interview with the ACU and encourage you to give your best on the day. We hope your interview experience with the ACU will be positive, insightful and successful.

An interview with the ACU is a two-way process between you and our interviewers. Our interviews will allow us to dig deeper and assess your suitability for the role and fit with the ACU, but it’s also an opportunity for you to get to know more about the ACU, the team that you have applied to work in and the role.

Our recruitment panels

You will normally meet three interviewers on the day. There will be a lead interview (chair of the panel) - this is usually the head of the team or the recruiting manager. The other interviewers will be from the recruiting team or another area of the ACU that you will work with, as we value the input from other teams across the organisation.


Our lead interviewer will introduce everyone and set the scene. Introduce yourself clearly and be prepared to have a general conversation with the interviewers until you are settled. This is an opportunity to build rapport and helps you to relax into the interview.

Competency interviewing

Rather than just taking your word for it that you have the skills and capabilities required for the role, or our interviewers using their gut feelings or intuition, you will be asked to provide real life examples from your past employment, education or work experience of specific situations and explain how you behaved in those circumstances.

By talking us through your examples, you will demonstrate the competencies or qualities that we have identified as necessary for success on the job.

A good way to structure your examples is to use a method called STAR:

  • Situation – the background to the example, describe a recent situation to set the context
  • Task – describe what you were trying to achieve from the situation
  • Action – explain what you did, why you did it and the alternatives
  • Results – highlight the outcome, your achievement and learnings.

Preparing for your interview

Research the role

You should be clear on the role that you have applied for. Read through the job description and be comfortable explaining what you would be doing on a day to day basis. Be prepared to tell the panel why you want the job and what appeals to you from the job description.

Why the ACU? We want to get a good understanding about why you want to work at the ACU and for the team the role is based in, and why you have chosen the role you are applying for. What specifically interests you about the ACU and the team? Do as much research as you can.

If you have applied to work for a scholarships programme, the panel will want to understand what specifically appeals and interests you about the scholarship programme. Do as much research as you can about the programme. Further information can be found at:

Tell us about yourself

We want to gain further insight into you and get a better understanding of what makes you tick. Re-read your CV and cover letter, and make sure that you can talk confidently about everything on it. Be prepared to talk about your career goals, ambitions and your motivations.

Using the job profile, think about your past experiences that are relevant and demonstrate your strengths and achievements. It is important that you support your qualifications with facts and examples about yourself. Ensure that you are able to communicate your skills, experience and achievements in a confident, structured and clear manner.

Top Tips

  • The dress code for all interviews is business smart
  • You should ensure that you arrive in good time of the interview if face-to-face. If virtual, make sure you log on at least 5 minutes before the interview and check internet connectivity. Make sure you have a way of contacting the panel if you lose connectivity
  • Keep your camera on (unless experiencing internet issues)
  • Remember who to ask for when you get to reception (if face-to-face)
  • Ask good questions at the end of the interview.

Make sure your personality comes through and we get to see the ‘real you’. Listen to the questions being asked and take your time to think of a good example. It’s key to answer the question rather than just use your most rehearsed example, as you need to make sure your example allows you to demonstrate the competency(s) that the interviewer is looking for. 

Other useful resources

  • Take a look at the ACU website
  • Some areas within the ACU have their own dedicated website. Your interview invite email will indicate if this applies for the area that you have applied for
  • Follow us on our social media

Remember - everyone on the panel wants you to do well. Good luck and we look forward to meeting you!

The ACU People Team