How to prepare for an interview
An interview gives you the opportunity to provide detailed information about your skills and experience and demonstrate that you are the right person for the position.
A good interview technique is very important in getting the position and is a skill that can be learned and practised. The interview is also an opportunity for you to see if the role and the company are right for you.
How should I prepare for an interview?
Prior to the interview there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of success.
- Review your resume- understand your key skills and achievements
- Review the role- know how your key skills can apply to the role
- Think about questions you might be asked as well as any questions that you can ask in the interview
- Research the company; understand what they do
- Take extra care with you appearance; dress appropriately
- Make sure you know whom you will be meeting, where and at what time. Ask for directions and work out how long it will take you to get there
- When you get to the interview be confident and smile- first impressions always count
What types of questions will be asked during an interview?
Every interview will be different and every interviewer will have a different approach. Ultimately the interviewer will want to know if you have the skills to do the job, if you want the job and if you will fit into the team. To do this an interviewer will ask you a lot of different questions, some of which will likely be around the key competencies for the job.
Key competencies are the skills and abilities required to be successful in the position. To assess these key competencies, the interviewer will ask you for specific examples of how you have tackled situations in previous jobs that you are likely to face in this role. You should be able to demonstrate your ability by describing the situation, how you handled it and what the outcome was.
Your interview will likely be in the form of a behavioural interview. This type of interview is based on the idea that the best predictor of future performance is past behaviour.
Examples of some behavioural questions are:
- “Give me an example of a time when you used good judgement and logic in solving a problem.”
- “Describe a time in which you faced a change at work and how you coped with the effects of that change.”
- “Give me an example of a project you have managed and the process you went through.”
How should I respond to questions in the interview?
When answering a question in an interview you will need to describe your capabilities in a concise and informative way.
It is likely that an interviewer will use behavioural questions to assess you against the position’s key competencies. When answering these types of questions you should talk through your personal involvement in a specific situation rather than hypothetical examples. If you can’t think of relevant work-related situations, you can use non-work related examples to demonstrate your capability such as experience in community groups, sporting clubs and charities. Listen carefully to the question and ask for clarification if required.
Some things to think about when answering a behavioural question are:
- Situation – Describe the situation and explain what happened
- Task – Outline the task you had to complete and describe your responsibilities
- Action – Explain the steps that you took or the decisions you made
- Result – Explain the outcomes of your actions and what you learnt from the experience
Remember that a behavioural interview is designed to understand your past behaviours. If the interviewer probes your answers further, they are simply assisting you to answer the question more thoroughly.
What else can I do during the interview?
- Speak clearly
- Have a firm handshake
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer/s
- Take an extra couple of seconds to think about your answer before responding
- Maintain appropriate body language (e.g. arms uncrossed, good posture)
- Avoid making negative comments about your previous employers and try not to make things personal
- Ask questions to help you understand more about the position and the organisation
- If you are interested in the role let your interviewer know and thank your interviewer for taking the time to meet with you
What should I do after the interview?
- If you have been asked to send further information, make sure you do this quickly and efficiently.
- Think about how you performed in the interview; if there was something you struggled with think about what you would do differently.
- If you were unsuccessful, use your interview as a valuable learning tool and be prepared for the next time.
- You can also seek feedback on areas where you may have been lacking so that you know how to improve your skills to meet the requirements of the role.
- Remember not all roles you interview for will be right for you, so stay positive.
If you are keen to be considered for future roles, register your profile and submit your resume.