How to use your DofE skills in interviews

You may not yet realise it, but when you complete your DofE award, you acquire skills which can be used in a variety of situations to provide real benefits. This blog post will focus on a scenario which you are likely to face in the near future – interviews. Whether it be for a Saturday or part-time job, an apprenticeship or university application, the interview process is generally the same and achieving your DofE can give you a real advantage over other applicants.

In an interview you will generally be asked questions about different scenarios – and will be marked or assessed on both the detail given in your answer and how much the example you provide answers the question asked.

Below is an example of how you can use your DofE work to your advantage – we will post more in the coming weeks. The following question is used regularly by all interviewers;

Tell us about a time when you were faced with a problem you had to overcome. What was the problem and how did you overcome it?

Here, the interviewers are looking for something YOU have done yourself, so don’t answer with a team-based example from your expedition. Think about the solo elements of your DofE – so look at Skills, Physical & Volunteering. A great way to give a good answer is to structure it using the STAR method.

S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action
R - Result

If you have completed the Soakster DofE Skills course, think about a recipe which you struggled to master. For example, you may have found that when you made soap, it started to solidify quickly and was difficult to pour. By giving backstory and a good explanation, you can provide an excellent answer at interviews. A good response to the question would be along the lines of;

As part of my Duke of Edinburgh award, I completed a bath bomb & soap making course. I had never done anything like this before, so it was a real challenge to master some of the techniques required to make the products. For example, when I was making soap, the method required the soap base to be melted until it was liquid, before the fragrance and colour are added. However, I found that by the time I had added them, the soap had started to change from a liquid into something more solid and it couldn’t be poured. (you have just described the SITUATION)

I hadn’t appreciated how quickly I needed to work, so I went back over my notes and realised that the process of melting the soap base could be repeated once the fragrance and colour had been added, if the soap had started to solidify. (you have just described the TASK)

I therefore re-melted the soap base until it was a liquid again and poured it into the moulds. (you have just described the ACTION)

The end result was that the soap formed perfectly in the silicone moulds and had a fantastic smooth finish – it looked like a proper soap bar, which would not have happened if I had tried to pour it when it was lumpy. (you have just described the RESULT).

Whilst this may not seem like a detailed example, the interviewers are looking for you to demonstrate you can think about problems in a logical way and find solutions which you are then able to action. They do not necessarily need a 20-minute explanation – if you are able to articulate yourself in a concise way, they will be impressed!

You do not need to specifically use examples from you Soakster course, you could use any situation from volunteering or physical sections, where you have had to overcome a problem. Sometimes it is helpful to have two or three possible answers, then at the interview use the one you are most confident with, or which may tie into other questions asked.