Skip to content

Toolbox

Interviews

Being as prepared as possible is the key to a successful interview. But your ability to confidently convey your interest in the organisation and enthusiasm for the role you are after when nervous is not easy. Extensive research and preparation beforehand will help you feel more confident on the big day.

To prepare well you should:

  • Research the organisation. Find out about their size, company structure, key customers and new developments. Research the industry more broadly and know how the organisation fits within it. Use newspapers, professional journals, annual reports, blogs, professional contacts, and the internet.
  • If you have been given the names of the interviewer/s, find out about them so you understand their roles and backgrounds. Memorise their names.
  • Read the job ad and/or position description so you are very clear on the responsibilities, tasks and the skills required for the job. Think of interesting examples that demonstrate these skills. Brainstorm any potential challenges and opportunities involved.
  • Soothe pre-interview nerves by role-playing with a friend or family, or alternatively, practice speaking in front of the mirror. This will help you determine if you are speaking too loud, too quickly or if your answers are difficult to understand. Also be aware of your body language.
  • Prepare a tailored 60-second answer to respond to the question “Tell me about yourself.”
  • Prepare questions about the role or the employer to ask at the end of the interview.

On the day of the interview remember - dress to impress. If you're not sure, dress conservatively - dark blue or black are safe colours. Avoid visual distractions such as heavy jewellery, bright socks, loud ties and chipped nail polish. Keep away from heavy make-up, overpowering fragrances, unwashed hair, or hair that hangs in your eyes. Too much cleavage or leg should also be avoided.

Check your clothes for stains, stray threads and loose buttons. Ensure your clothes are clean and ironed. Knowing you look good will build your confidence.

On the way to the interview, be aware of your posture and don't forget to smile.

Your response during the interview is not the only way you will be assessed. How you present yourself, how you speak, your ability to bond with the interviewer and punctuality are also considerations.

Here are some tips that might help:

  • Know where you are going and how you will get there. Allow plenty of time. Don't be late.
  • Use the names of the people you're introduced to. Shake hands firmly and make eye contact.
  • Try to relax - slow down and take a few deep breaths to compose yourself.
  • Be aware of your body language - don't let it detract from what you have to say.
  • Don't say anything negative about a past employer.
  • Listen carefully but don't be afraid to ask for the question to be repeated or better explained.
  • Don't interrupt anyone.
  • Keep your responses relatively brief and to the point without using just "yes" or "no." Speak clearly and confidently.
  • Don't revert to informal language or slang no matter how relaxed the interview is. And no matter how much you know about the interviewer, never be too familiar.
  • Take along copies of any documents you were requested to bring.
  • Look at the interviewer/s when speaking to them.
  • Avoid bringing up the subject of money at the first interview.
  • Have a couple of solid questions ready to ask.
  • Thank the interviewer/s for their time.