Recruitment process

The interview

We think it's important to be open about how we select and interview candidates.

When you’re invited to an interview, we’ll be clear about what will happen and whether you need to do any preparatory work. If you’re unsure, just ask.

If you need us to make any adjustments, let us know when you’re invited for an interview.

Types of interview

The interview type depends on the role, and could be conducted over the phone or face-to-face. Most interviews involve competency-based questions, and there may be ability tests, role-play or group assessments too. For face-to-face interviews, please bring your passport and address details (a bill or similar).

Our job offers are subject to satisfactory reference and pre-employment screening checks. Our screening partner, The Security Watchdog, carries out these checks.

Preparing for your interview

First, find out more about Standard Life Aberdeen

Our websites are a good place to start, particularly the one you're on right now. Find out about our products and services, and the facts and figures about our businesses. Then look a bit further – find out about our culture, markets and competitors, recent press announcements, goals and business challenges.

Then find out more about the job

Have a good idea of what you’re applying for. If you didn’t get a job description, phone the recruitment team or your agency for additional information. Speak to someone who does a similar job, or research it online as part of your preparation.

Tips for handling a phone interview

  • Find somewhere quiet to take the call – so no TV, internet, radio or other distractions - to make sure you won't be disturbed
  • Have a copy of your CV and the job description in front of you
  • Think about your answers to the questions as if it were a face-to-face interview
  • Take time to create a good answer before speaking
  • Watch your language, speak slowly and clearly
  • Dress smartly and comfortably. It might sound odd, but you’ll feel more confident than you would in your pyjamas.

Face-to-face interview tips

  • Give yourself time to get to the interview on time
  • Take time to think before you answer the questions
  • If you don't understand a question say so, and ask the interviewer to rephrase it. If you still can't answer, ask to come back to the question at the end
  • Remember the interviewer will usually do their best to put you at your ease, so try to relax and feel confident.

On the day

  • If in doubt, always go for a classic business suit
  • Bring your invite letter - it will have the name of the interviewer, their address and phone number
  • Arrive on time - ideally five minutes early. If you’re late, you might lose your interview slot
  • Leave in good time so you are prepared for traffic or late buses
  • Know where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and where to park
  • Bring an up-to-date CV and any other information you’ve been asked for, or any information you think is relevant to your application
  • Bring a pen and paper so you can take notes.

Ask questions

The interview is your chance to find out if the job is right for you.

  • Make a list of the things you want to know before the interview and make sure all your questions are answered before the interview ends
  • Ask what the job involves and what happens in a typical day and get an overview of your responsibilities
  • Find out about the training and development on offer, and about your future at Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Salary and benefits will be in your interview pack but if you need to have anything clarified then ask. Be clear about your salary expectations.

After the interview

  • You can ask your interviewer when they’ll be making a decision and when you’re likely to hear – it’s usually a week to ten days
  • We’ll always let you know if you’ve been successful or not
  • If you aren't successful you can ask for feedback about how you did.

Interview style

Interviews are mostly competency based. You'll be asked to describe a situation where you demonstrated a particular competency or behaviour. The questions will usually begin with "Tell me about a time..." or "Describe a situation where you...".

Here are a few tips for answering competency-based questions:

  • Take a moment before answering to think of the best positive answer you can give
  • Prepare and rehearse answers in advance – a lot of competency-based questions are similar so searching online will give you some examples to help develop your technique
  • Use the most recent examples you can think of
  • If you can't think of a work-related example, draw from your personal life, eg volunteer activities, or other activities like sport.

Equality and diversity

We treat everyone equally. We don't discriminate against people on the grounds of gender, colour, race, nationality, marital status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. If you need assistance during any stage of the recruitment process, let us know so we can make appropriate arrangements.

The STAR technique

The STAR technique is a useful method for answering interview questions:

  • Situation - set the scene, describe the situation
  • Task - your role, and the tasks that had to be completed
  • Action - what you did, and how you did it
  • Result - what was the outcome?

Be prepared for follow up questions such as "Tell me exactly what steps you took" or "What was the basis for that decision?"

Here are some tips for good STAR answers:

  • Focus on what you did - the interviewer will be looking for "I", even in team-working examples
  • Listen to the whole question, and answer the question that the interviewer asks, not the one you wanted them to ask
  • Before you speak, ask yourself, "Is what I’m about to say relevant and will it demonstrate my suitability for the role?"
  • Communicate clearly, be concise, avoid repetition, and don't be negative.

What we'll ask you about

As well as asking about your competencies, the interviewer will also want to know

  • Your work experience
  • Your personal goals and how you plan to achieve them
  • Your interests and things you enjoy
  • The skills, qualities and qualifications that make you right for the role
  • How you plan to develop any areas of weakness
  • Why you want to work for Standard Life Aberdeen.