Get ready for an interview
Start planning now so you can go into your next interview with confidence.
You'll perform your best at an interview and be less nervous if you're well-prepared. Find out about the company, review your application and have some answers ready for common interview questions.
Start with your research of the job
Research everything you can about the organisation and the job. Write down key words and phrases about the job and the organisation. Then review your job application and responses to the selection criteria to help you prepare some answers to common interview questions.
Prepare for common interview questions
There are some common questions asked in interviews. You’ll likely get asked questions like these, so take the time to prepare some responses for them:
- what attracted you to the position?
- what is your understanding of the role you have applied for?
- how would you respond to a difficult customer?
- what makes you a good team member?
- how would others describe you?
- tell me about a time when you have managed competing priorities?
- what would you identify as personal areas of improvement you need to work on?
Get your responses ready
Start writing down examples of your knowledge, skills and experiences that you can draw on to answer questions. The interview is your chance to show you understand the job and can make a valuable contribution, so stay focused on the skills and experience the employer is looking for.
Practise by saying your responses aloud or asking someone to be the interviewer for you. It’s also a good to think through whether you have any questions to take to the interview. You can ask about tasks or projects you’d like to know more about, who your colleagues are or what the organisation will be like to work for.
Depending on the job, you may also want to bring some examples of your work to show to the interview panel.
You can feel confident and prepared for interviews by practising online using a tool called InterviewStream. InterviewStream lets you try out and record your interviews as many times as you like to review your verbal responses and body language. You can choose from more than 7,000 questions and select sets of questions relevant for your industry. You can even get expert advice and feedback on how you went.
InterviewStream is free for Charles Sturt University students. You'll just need to register using your student details. Then you can practise your interview techniques and get feedback as many times as you like.
Other ways to get ready for an interview
Practise with your friends, in front of a mirror or get dressed up and conduct a mock interview.
The important things to be mindful of include:
- researching common interview questions and rehearse your responses
- paying attention to your body language
- maintaining good eye contact
- continuing to practise until you feel confident.
Interviews are a great chance for you to show you’re a good fit for the role and organisation. You want go into any interview with the goal of making a good first impression on your future employer. Here’s how you can get off to a great start!
What to do before for the interview
You’ve done your research on the employer and rehearsed your answers to common interview questions. Now you need to:
- ask ahead of time who will be interviewing and write down their name/s
- prepare any materials you wish to bring to the interview, such as a notepad, pen, questions to ask the panel or a copy of your resume
- dress professionally for the interview
- arrive at the interview location at least 10 minutes before you start
- turn off your mobile phone
- greet the interview panel by their name/s with confidence and a firm handshake
- stay positive, smile and be ready to put enthusiasm into your responses.
During the interview
Keep in mind your body language and voice during the interview as employers will be taking note. You’ll need to be confident, attentive and personable.
You can do this by:
- relaxing and thinking through each question when you answer
- maintaining good eye contact
- take your time and ask the interviewer to repeat a question if you need to
- keeping a confident posture
- smiling to stay confident and keep a positive tone in your voice.
When the interview ends
As the interview starts to wrap-up, make sure you ask any questions you had and reaffirm your enthusiasm to work in the role and organisation. Get a sense of when you might hear back about an outcome or if there’s anything else you need to do after the interview. Thank the panel for their time and for giving you the opportunity meet with them.
During the process for applying for a role, you may be asked to complete some job selection tests. Job selection tests give employers a profile of you and an insight into how you fit into a role and their team. There are many different types of job selection tests, including psychological, personality, aptitude, cognitive, literacy, numeracy, simulation tests or role play assessments.
How to prepare
Treat a job selection test like an exam – you’ll need to prepare and find out as much as you can about the test/s. Go back over what the employer was looking for to find the right applicant. Make notes about whether the employer was looking for a team player, problem solving abilities, certain business skills or qualities in an employee. Then think of how you would answer questions or show your knowledge to give evidence of these attributes in a test.
Practise for the tests
Practising will help improve your performance in the test. There are practise tests online if you know the kind of test you’re looking for.
When taking a test:
- carefully read or listen to the test instructions
- take note of the start and finish times
- calculate how much time you have to answer each question and stick to this
- attempt the easiest questions first and then move on to the harder ones
- maintain your confidence and positivity.