Answered a question on the Guardian Forum regarding Interviews. Here is my reply:
Interviewers will often ask questions about how you dealt with a particular situation and what they want is a specific reply, using STAR (Situation, Task, Activity and Result). I’m sure there have been situations they could have lead to conflict at work, but because you smoothed things over you are downplaying what you did or said. The example you provide has to be your own, but it could be along the lines of ‘Working in a team we don’t always agree with something and occasionally this can lead to disagreement. It could be easy to argue but I don’t think that is helpful. On one particular occasion … and describe how you were able to deal effectively with conflict perhaps through working in collaboration or through compromise. You may find it helpful to read up on different means of dealing with conflict to help you develop your answer, for example see – https://www.amazingpeople.co.uk/thomaskilmann.htm
Think also about a time when you have been under pressure. Rather than think generally about how you ‘just get on and do it’ think about how exactly you get on and do things. Again think of a specific time when there has been a deadline and how you delivered. It may be that you stress your organisational skills, or your ability to focus and willingness to stay late to meet a business objective.
Finally you asked about what will impress people. If we are thinking about what will impress the interviewer it will include being prompt, dressing smartly, being well prepared, which includes thinking through answers to probable questions and providing specific examples, like I’ve suggested above. Also demonstrate that you have done your homework and have researched the company and have developed some questions to ask at the end of the interview.
Finally, developing your self confidence is important, if you go into the interview thinking that you are rubbish at interview that is likely to have a negative impact. Do your prep and tell yourself why you are right for the job and that you are going to do great.