Prepare for your interview
It’s your chance to convince the employer that you’re the best person for the job. Interviews also give you the opportunity to see if the job is a good fit for you.
There are several types of interviews including one-on-one interviews, panel interviews, behavioural interviews, group interviews, telephone screening interviews and case-study interviews. An employer might choose any form of interview, or just an informal chat.
No matter what form the interview takes, with some preparation, you can be ready for anything.
Practice your interviews with the video service Interview Stream. Record an interview and review your answers online with the most-used video interviewing platform in over 120 countries!
You can also use the online interview simulator to practise your interview technique with questions selected by leading hiring managers. You can record your mock interview and then compare your responses against the video advice from actual employers, who explain the difference between strong and weak answers. It’s a great way to get confident for job interviews.
Large companies and government departments often use behavioural questions to try to predict how you would behave in their workplace. You’ll be able to spot a behavioural-style question when an employer asks you to provide an example of your past behaviour. They often start with phrases like, “Tell us about a time when…”.
The STAR technique is one way you can tackle behavioural questions. Describe the Situation and/or Task, the Action (what you did), and the Result or outcome.
Try preparing recent examples that will be easier to recall in detail. Use examples from a range of experiences: work experience, academic work and extra-curricular activities. Be specific and don’t generalise. If using group activities as examples, be prepared to talk about what you contributed to the group. Examples of these are:
Can you think of any projects or activities you initiated on your own? Tell us about them.
Tell us about a time when you had to act quickly in a crisis. What happened?
We all miss deadlines from time to time. Can you give us an example of when you missed a deadline? What were the causes and how did you deal with the situation?
Think about your employability skills (and plan how you will demonstrate them at the interview).
You’ll need to research the organisation, and think about what questions you could ask the employer. You should also prepare a portfolio of relevant documents that you need to take to the interview.
Other types of questions
If a question’s not behavioural – that is, not asking you to describe a past example of your behaviour - there’s no correct format for answers. The best preparation for these is to rely on your research and your motivations in applying for this job. Examples of other questions you might be asked are:
- What interests you in this job?
- What do you think are the major challenges for our industry right now?
- How would you describe your approach to project-based work?
- If the interview is in person, arrive ten mintues early. If it’s a video interview (recorded, or in real time), make sure you won’t be disturbed and that your technology setup is working.
- Greet the interviewer with a smile. If the interview is in person, shake their hand and wait to be offered a chair before sitting down.
- Maintain good eye contact.
- Keep your breathing regular to help stay calm and allow for a good pace when speaking.
- Be attentive, listen and be aware of good non-verbal communication skills. If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification rather than rushing your answer. Silence while you think about your response is fine.
- Be energetic, positive and friendly.
Questions you might ask the employer
- Can you tell me about the company culture?
- How has the organisation worked with recent industry changes?
- When might I expect to hear if I have been selected for the job?
- How is the role situated within the organisation? How does it interact with other teams? Will I have my own client base?
- What are the team’s goals for the next 12 months?
- Not enough revelant detail in your answers – enough detail helps them imagine you in the job
- Any criticism of past colleagues – never blame others in answers
- The employer is left wondering whether you really want the job; make the strongest impression you can by always demonstrating and telling the employer that this job is for you.