The Interview Process

The most effective way to ensure you enter a job interview confidently is to prepare beforehand. By preparing, you can be confident in your ability to answer any questions and highlight how your skills, knowledge and experience make you the most suitable person for the role.

Preparing for your interview

Preparing for your job interview is the key to success. Make sure you can explain everything in your resume and cover letter, including examples and explanations of your experience. Be clear about why you want the job and why you want to work for that organisation. Do as much research about the company or business as you can. Visit the company's website to find out about what they do and their mission or vision statements.

During the interview

You may be interviewed by one or two people, or by a panel. Ask the person who notifies you of your interview time and who will be interviewing you. This way you can be prepared.

During the interview, if you're not sure about a question the interviewer is asking, ask them to explain it. Sometimes it's helpful to note down the various parts of a complex question.

Be sure to keep your answers relevant to the job and why you are the best person for it.

  • Prepare and write down questions so you can refer to them during the interview
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be on time
  • Turn off your mobile phone
  • Be confident, sit up straight and speak clearly
  • Show you are keen by listening and paying attention
  • Leave the interview on a positive note by thank them for their time

The interview is not a time for:

  • true confessions
  • discussing politics, religion, race or marital status expressing anger over past jobs
  • talking about family problems
  • complaining about looking for work or the number of interviews that you have had

After the formal questions, you will be asked if you have any questions of your own. Always have at least one question ready. A good question could be about a special project you noted on their website, which shows you have done some research. Other questions could be about:

  • opportunities for further training and professional development
  • the organisational structure
  • the way performance is measured and reviewed
  • transfer policy to other sites including overseas transfers

There is no set number of questions, but generally allow five minutes for your questions to be answered. It is likely there will be other candidates waiting for interview, so keeping to time is important.

After the interview:

It is a good idea to send a follow-up email thanking the employer for the interview. This does lead to job offers. Sending a thank-you email shows that you are polite and considerate, which might be the difference between you and another candidate.

If you do not get the job you have been interviewed for, ask for feedback to help you improve your interview performance. Ask questions like:

  • Do you have any suggestions or feedback regarding my approach or attitude?
  • Do you have any hints on how I could improve my interview skills?

Good luck!

Searching for a job takes time and patience. Talk to friends who have found work and ask them what they did, or talk to people employed in industries that interest you about how they got their job.

Proper preparation will help alleviate some of the stress involved in job interviews and the more you prepare, the more comfortable and successful you are likely to be.

This video is about Emily who failed the first interview, received feedback and nailed the second interview.

This video is about Nathan, who wasn’t prepared for the first interview but after making sure he was well prepared for the second – achieved success.