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Your chance to shine: tips for a successful interview

An interview can be a daunting prospect. But with the right preparation and practise you can give yourself the best shot at landing your dream job at Credit Suisse. And we are here to show you how.

Whether you are an experienced professional looking to climb the career ladder or a graduate starting an exciting new future with us: these tips and expert information will help you ace your interview with confidence and composure.

Before your in-person interview

The key to a smooth, successful interview is in the preparation. Do your homework:

  • Research Credit Suisse – follow us on social media and browse our website
  • Get to know us – what are our values and how do we work? Check out our ethical and professional standards page to find out more.
  • Read the job specification thoroughly – be clear about what the role entails, and the skills required.
  • Make a list of the key competencies required, and then make a list of your experiences. Match these to the first list.
  • Prepare answers to the standard questions (see below) and practise saying them out loud.
  • How can you demonstrate skills that could help the team overcome any recent challenges?
  • Scope out the interview location so you are confident about finding the right place.
  • Arrive five minutes early.

During the interview

  • Take your CV and a notebook.
  • Give direct examples with your responses.
  • Use the PTA recipe: Pause – Think – Answer. This gives you time to provide the best answer, and to recall the necessary evidence and examples to back up what you are saying.
  • Ask your own questions (read on for examples) – this helps the interviewer build a picture of what is important to you, and shows you are thinking deeply about the role.
  • If you are struggling to answer a question, ask if you can come back to it.
  • Wear smart but comfortable clothes – you want to give a professional impression, but you don't want to feel restricted or be fidgeting with clothing.

After the interview

  • Send a follow-up note to the recruiter or interviewer, but avoid LinkedIn requests.
  • Reflect – what went well? What could you improve on?

There are different kinds of interviews, but most big companies like us use a range of techniques and situations. Here is what you need to know about the most likely interview scenarios aside from in-person interviews.

Over the phone

  • Make sure you are in a quiet place with no interruptions.
  • Switch off other devices.
  • Use a wired earphone, not speakerphone or bluetooth devices.
  • Keep the microphone at a good distance from your mouth so you are not breathing into it.
  • Have your CV and notebook at hand.
  • Don't put the interviewer on hold or check your messages.

Over video

  • Use a laptop or desktop computer rather than a mobile phone.
  • Wear solid colors, not stripes.
  • Avoid virtual or cluttered backgrounds – sitting against a plain wall is best.
  • Use a wired earphone, not speakerphone or bluetooth devices.

What kind of questions will you be asked?

We tend to use a combination of traditional interview techniques and questions based on the Structured Behaviour Interview technique. Traditional questions are more open-ended, for example: "Where do you see yourself in five years?", whereas Structured Behaviour questions are more focused on specific actions. These questions often start with phrases like: "Tell me about …" or "Describe a situation when …".

It is crucial to prepare for these structured questions. You need to have two to three examples for each possible scenario. Remember, most interviewers will focus on skills like leadership, problem solving, performance under pressure, conflict resolution, communication, adaptability, planning and initiative. Go back to the job description and establish which of these areas will be especially relevant to the role you are applying for. Then match up real-life actions and behaviours that show you can deliver on them. Think about what someone successful in that role would do well.

For each of these aspects, find specific behaviours to demonstrate your answer. Maybe a major project, a challenge you overcame or positive feedback from an appraisal. Focus on your individual achievements rather than your team's. While it is good to acknowledge being a team player, it is you we are interviewing, not them. Use quantitative examples and direct evidence; take credit for your own achievements.

A useful method to use in Structured Behaviour Interviews is the STAR method. In outline this means:

SITUATION – briefly describe a recent event or scenario
TASK – concisely describe what you did
ACTION – in more detail, outline specific, impactful behaviours and actions you took to deal with that situation and to succeed
RESULT – pick two to three key successes to show the outcome

Example standard questions you might be asked

  • Tell me about yourself. Tell me something that is not on your résumé.
  • Can you give an example of something you consider innovative?
  • Can you give an example of something you are proud of?
  • Can you give an example of something you failed at? What did you learn?
  • Tell us about your strengths and your development areas.
  • What is your leadership style?
  • What situations bring out the best/worst in you?
  • Why should we hire you? Why should we not hire you?

Questions you could ask:

  • What are your future plans for the team/region/function/company?
  • How did this role come about: replacement/growth etc.?
  • How would you evaluate someone's performance in this role?
  • How would you describe the culture of the team/company?
  • What are the immediate priorities/projects you would like the new hire to focus on?
  • What feedback do you have for me based on our interview?

Follow our advice and you will be on track for a stellar interview that really showcases your skills and achievements. Stay up-to-date with career opportunities at Credit Suisse and take the next step with us.

Credit Suisse is committed to providing a professional and inclusive work environment where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Credit Suisse is an equal opportunity employer.

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