Prepare for job interviews

The interview process can be a daunting one but if you take the time to prepare you will increase your chances of success. Preparing will also help calm your nerves and allow you to present your best self.

You might not be successful at every interview, but each interview will help you prepare for the one you do win!

Closeup of a businessman holding a resume and offering a handshake.

Things to do

Prepare some interview questions and answers

It is helpful to take the time to prepare some questions and answers that you think might be in the interview. Use the relevant selection criteria and position descriptions as a guide. Try and summarise the answers using key themes with keywords to trigger your memory. Write these answers down so you can study them and refer to them during the interview. Remember an employer will be pleased to see how prepared you are.

Some example questions might be:

Background questions:

  • Tell us about yourself?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are you goals both long term and short term?
  • What do you see yourself doing in five years from now?

Career interests:

  • What has attracted you to apply for this positions?
  • What interests you about this industry?
  • Why should we consider you for this position?
  • What skills would you like to develop in the future?

Education:

  • What do you like most about your area of study?
  • What do you think is most relevant?
  • Do you plan to continue studying to advance your career?

Work place questions:

  • How do you cope with pressure at work?
  • How would you deal with a problem you had not encountered before?
  • Describe a situation where you have been required to perform as part of team.
  • What is your definition of excellent customer service?

Before the interview

Be prepared:

  • Research the organisation you are being interviewed for and include your research in your interview responses.
  • Ask relevant questions to make sure you have a full understanding of the position you are being interviewed for. If you are not sure then use the interview process to find out.
  • Be aware of your skills and talk about how those skills could contribute to the organisation.

Have your documents ready:

  • Create a folder with all the documentation supporting your application. For example: your resume, transcripts and certificates (originals with copies if required).
  • Have a copy of your original application to read over before the interview and refer to these documents during the interview.
  • Bring proof of your identity, such as a driver’s licence, birth certificate or passport.

Be punctual and have a good appearance:

  • Arrive early for the interview and allow yourself time to mentally prepare and compose yourself.
  • Grooming matters so make sure your clothes are clean and ironed and your personal appearance and hygiene are at their best. For example: clean nails, tidy hair, deodorant and fresh breath.

During and after the interview

Remain calm, honest and engaged:

  • Being nervous at a job interview is expected and most employers will factor that into your responses.
  • Be truthful about your skills, abilities and experience. Do not misrepresent yourself to the employer as this can backfire.
  • During all communication it is important to make eye contact, smile and maintain good posture.
  • Remember to breathe!

Don’t post it on Facebook or social media:

  • Employers use social media as a vetting process, so be mindful of what you post.

Don’t give up:

  • If you are unsuccessful in getting the job, try not to get too discouraged.
  • Ask for feedback about how you can improve, take the advice and start preparing for the next interview.