Purpose of Interviews
Interviews are an opportunity for both you and the employer to evaluate each other- it’s a two way process! Through an interview you can gain valuable information which may assist you in assessing the prospective job, employer or industry.
Prepare for Interviews
- Identify your transferable skills and abilities (eg. writing and organising information, managing events, leading a group, working as a team player)
- Look at the selection criteria for the position or the job description. Make simpler headings under which you can provide examples of how your skills, abilities, qualities and experience match the employer’s requirements.
- Think about your past achievements.
- These could be problems you have overcome, critical incidents you have been involved in, issues you have resolved, or demands you have met.
- Consider your role in these achievements, the actions you took and the result of your involvement and what you have learnt from it.
- These can involve study, part-time work or extra-curricular activities.
- Research the organisation – it might sound obvious, but make sure you know about the job you are applying for and about the organisation itself.
- What internal or external influences are affecting it?
- Is it in a state of growth or decline?
- How is the market changing or developing?
- How are organisations in the sector responding?
- Keep up with current affairs, particularly local/global issues affecting the organisation. It is a good idea to listen to news programs or read good quality newspapers or relevant journals everyday in the lead up to your interview. This will impress the employer and demonstrate commitment to and interest in the organisation to which you are applying.
- Practise for the interview with family or friends – it is important to verbalise the answers to questions, not just think about them, so your explanations will run smoothly.
Be on time – check how to get there in advance by doing a practice run. Allow time for unexpected delays. Don’t be afraid to call if you are running late.
Wear what is appropriate for the role and the company – if in doubt always opt for a suit.
Be positive; try to make others feel comfortable. Greet others with a firm handshake and a smile.
Relax. Think of the interview as a conversation, not an interrogation.
Establish a rapport with the interviewer – make eye contact and answer clearly.
Be yourself – sounding too rehearsed or like someone else is off-putting for the employer.
Listen. If you are talking too much you will probably miss cues concerning what the employer feels is important.
Reflect before answering a difficult question – if unsure ask for clarification.
Be honest – it is all too easy to get caught out by exaggerating your skills or experiences.
Show you want the job – demonstrate how your skills could contribute to the company.
Avoid negative body language (eg. frequently touching your mouth, gnawing on your lip, folding your arms, etc.)
At the end of the interview, shake hands and thank them for their time.