Interview Tips

Preparation

First impressions count. Dress appropriately for the occasion.

Some roles will require smart business attire and other roles will require smart casual attire in an office or library environment. Dressing in the same style of attire as employees in the organisation is generally appropriate for the interview.

Pitfalls to avoid:
  • not taking a copy of your resume with you. (by taking your resume, you review and refresh your memory on the material you have provided)
  • arriving late (find out the exact location and travelling time)
  • not phoning and alerting the employer you are running late
  • not finding out as much as possible about the organisation prior to your interview
  • overpowering eau de colognes or perfumes
  • slovenly dress
Handling interview questions

An interview is an exchange of information between employers and potential employees. It is your opportunity to find out more about the organisation and the position. It is the employer’s opportunity to find out if you are the person they believe is most suited to the position.

The interview is an opportunity for both parties to explore how close a fit exists between your job aspirations and work experiences to that of the job requirements. It is also your opportunity to determine whether the work environment is one that suits you.

Before the interview mentally prepare your answers to possible questions.
  • What is the most important thing you are looking for in an employer?
  • Starting with your last job, tell me about your achievements?
  • In what ways have your previous jobs helped you develop your skills?
  • How do you feel your previous supervisor/manager rated your work performance? What were some of the things they thought you could improve on?
  • How soon could you start, or how much notice do you need to gives your current employer?
Selection criteria

For some roles, particularly those with government organisations, questions are structured around precise selection criteria. Be prepared to respond to questions with real examples or situations that relate to the selection criteria.

Mention your achievements

Be conscious of speaking about what you have achieved and not just a list of tasks that you have undertaken in current and previous roles.

Difficult questions

If you are not sure how to answer a particular question, don’t understand or want clarification, say that you are unsure of the meaning of the question and ask for the question to be repeated and/or clarified.

Do you have any questions?

Asking questions is an important way to show your interest and enthusiasm. Prior to the interview prepare a list of questions. If there was something stated during the interview that you wanted to explore further, now is the time to ask for more details.

Some questions you may ask in the interview could be:
  • Could you tell me more about the role or tasks involved?
  • What would be the range of tasks in a typical day?
  • Besides having a position I believe I am suited for, what are the attractions or conditions this organisation offers to its employees?
  • What is the next stage of the selection process?
  • How long has your organisation had the vacancy? How did the vacancy arise?

Obviously, it is always polite to finish off with thanking the panel or person for their time and the opportunity to meet with them.