10 tips on being on point on the day of the On Purpose interviews

As Associates, we’re often asked for advice about the interviews by candidates, so here’s a short guide for your interview day.

1) Understand the structure of the day.

what do i do
You will have:

  • 2 x personal experience interviews (30mins each) with OnP Associates or Fellows
  • 1 x case study interview (50 mins) with OnP Core Team (or Fellow)

2) Know what On Purpose is looking for and what you’re being assessed on.
Study the key traits we’re looking for (if you need a reminder, you can find them in our Application Instructions on page 3) and make sure that you can point to specific examples that highlight these.

3) Do your research.
On On Purpose, on social enterprise, on placement hosts. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, On Purpose website. Unleash your inner Sherlock.

4) Listen to the question!


Make sure that you listen carefully to what is being asked of you. The interviewers are there to help you display the best you!

5) There’s no ‘I’ in team, but there is in ‘nailing that interview’.
The interviewers will want to know in the examples that you give your specific role and contribution. After all, we’re interviewing you, not your team; so please do make everything about you.

6) Don’t be put off if it feels like the interview jumps around a little
The interviews are designed to assess certain traits and so if we feel like we have enough information, we will move on. So relax, and go with the flow.

7) Don’t overthink!
Especially for the case study interview:
“No one comes out of that interview perfect! Talk through your thinking with your interviewer and if you’re going down the wrong route, your interviewer will steer you back. Listen to their questions and prompts carefully. It’s okay to make mistakes; don’t dwell on it too much and concentrate on the next question.”
— Alex Robinson, Apr 16 Associate

“If you’re going completely blank, take a step back, breathe, summarise what you know so far or what you’ve assumed. Ask the interviewer to rephrase the question if necessary. Sometimes the simplest solution is the right one. Trust your logic and your intuition; the case study is not there to trip you up!”

— Eloise Sobczyk, Oct 16 Associate

8) Practice, Practice, Practice…and Perform!

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  • Practice your mental arithmetic
  • Practice working through a problem out loud
  • Practice working through a problem out loud and under timed conditions
  • Perform a sanity check before you deliver the final answer to your interviewer. During timed pressures AND with someone watching you, it’s easy to forget a 0 or move the decimal point to the wrong place

9) Bring whatever you need to keep you on your A-game.

Sustenance is important, morally and physically. It will help you remain focused and energetic. So bring chocolate, water, coffee, kale: whatever helps you.

10) Try to enjoy the experience! Good Luck!