Job Interview Tips
Preparing for your interview
Preparing for your 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.
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 who will be interviewing you. This way you can be prepared.
Remember the following:
- Prepare and write down questions so you can refer to them during the interview.
- Dress appropriately for the interview.
- Turn off your mobile phone.
- Get to the interview on time.
- Be confident and speak clearly.
- Show you are keen by listening and paying attention.
- Ask specific questions.
- Leave the interview on a positive note by thanking them again for their time.
During the interview, if you're not sure about a question the interviewer is asking, ask them to explain or clarify that question. 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.
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.
Always have some questions of your own to ask.
Some 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.
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 thankyou email shows that you are available and 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?
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.
An interview portfolio is a small, to-the-point selection of items from your career portfolio, tailored to the specific job. It may include official documents like certificates or examples of your work. Find out more about creating your career portfolio.
An interview portfolio is a useful thing to take to an interview. It reminds you of information you might otherwise forget to tell the employer. Organise your portfolio in plenty of time for the interview, just in case you need to obtain any items from past employers or official bodies.
Things to include in your portfolio:
- Read through the employer's advertisement or job description. Make a list of every soft skill they want, in order of importance.
- Next, assess what you can offer this particular employer in terms of strengths, skills and abilities.
- Think about your past experience. What have you done in past jobs that demonstrate you have these skills?
- Now select the items from your career portfolio that will go into this interview portfolio.
- Put the items in order, reflecting the importance to the employer of your skills and qualities.
Your interview portfolio is likely to be different for each interview.
Each time you compile it you will go through a similar process:
- gathering samples of your work or reminders of your learning. Don't forget photographs
- thinking about what you've done, workwise and lifewise, what you want to continue to do, and what you want to improve
- selecting different items from your career portfolio that represent you and your abilities.