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Interview Tips

Different types of job interviews

There are a number of different types of job interviews and these include 1:1, panel interviews, telephone interviews and online interviews.

One- to-one interviews with an employer can be either very formal or more informal depending on the business or organisation you will be meeting with. One to one interviews are common for jobs in small businesses/sole trader, with community organisations and government departments.

Panel Interviews are more common in larger organisations and the public service (local, state and federal).

Telephone interviews are commonly used by recruitment companies and Job Services Australia. Telephone interviews may also be used by businesses and government organisations if there is more than one level of interview.

Online interviews are also becoming more common for regional, interstate or overseas companies and where decisions for positions are made elsewhere.

At Assessment Centre interviews you attend a location to undertake a range of tasks to evaluate skills specific and suitability for the position. This could include testing maths and english skills, demonstration of skills for trades, inter-personal skills and problem solving.

What to do before you go for an interview?

Find out about the organisation, search the internet, visit their website, and if possible visit beforehand. You can talk to the person organising the interview. It will be important to ask what type of interview you will be undertaking. For example a tradesperson may ask you to visit them on a job and ask you a few questions. A larger organisation may ask you to come in for a formal interview, with a manager and ask you a range of questions, provide you with case studies or even a panel interview. If in doubt call the person who is listed on the job application, or speak to someone in Human Resources for a larger organisation.

During an interview you may be asked to demonstrate your skills, such a trade, or technical skill. Sometime you may be asked to bring in samples of previous work, such a portfolio.

Practice before you go for an interview. You can role play with a friend, you can work with a TAFE Counsellor, or if you are with a Job Service Provider, you can access their resources. Please see your local TAFE Counsellor for more information.

Getting ready for the interview

Work out how to get to the interview. Double check the location, room and time. If driving allow extra time, especially if you are travelling in peak traffic, you need to find parking and you are unfamiliar with the area. If you are travelling by public transport, you can contact, http://www.transportnsw.info/ or call 131 500, and you can find all the public transport options to your interview.

Presentation is important, ensure you dress appropriately for the interview. If the interview is for a trade or small business, smart casual is fine. If it is a large business or public service, business attire is more suited, such as dress pants and a collared shirt, sometime a tie a coat might be appropriate. For women, dress pants or a skirt below the knee, a blouse and/or jacket is suitable. If unsure you can visit the workplace to see how people dress in that organisation. There are place to get expert advice, including the Clothing Pond at Mt Druitt College or Dress for Success Sydney.

Grooming is also important, especially personal hygiene, wash, shower and use antiperspirant, for men should shave or have neat facial hair. It may be appropriate for women to use light make-up and have neat and tidy hair.

TIPS:

  • When entering the room, don’t turn your back to the interviewers
  • Try to wear cotton so you can wipe your perspiring palms on your trousers prior to shaking the interviewer’s hands, or have a handkerchief handy
  • Ensure you give the interviewers a firm hand shake as opposed to a soft – non-confident hand shake.
  • Always maintain comfortable eye contact.

What you may feel before and during an interview:

Physical symptoms: queasy feeling in the stomach, light headed and sweaty palms. A bit of nervous tension is good, this can help you focus.

Psychological symptoms: not being able to recall information, feeling overwhelmed, anxious and not being able to think on your feet.

Physical and psychological symptoms are perfectly normal and the person interviewing you is aware of how you may be feeling or reacting. If you find that these symptoms are stopping you from getting a job you can see a TAFE Counsellor for tips, advice and practice on how to overcome these symptoms.

Useful Techniques for Interview Questions:

Good preparation is the key to any successful interview. Some interview questions can be tricky or throw you off guard, so it is really helpful to think about what those questions might be and how an employer might like you to answer them. Check out this interesting video to get you started.

Two commonly used techniques which will help you illustrate your answers are the STAR and PAR techniques.

The Interview STAR technique

When presented with a question, scenario or case study you may use the following technique:

Situation – set the background for your story.
Task – what was required of you.
Activity – what you actually did, including steps and your contribution.
Result – how well did the situation played out, success, failure, improvements etc...
For an example of how to use the STAR approach check out this video.

The Interview PAR Technique

This is a slightly different interview technique with less steps:

Problem: What was the situation or problem that had to be sorted?
Action: What skills or tools did you use to address the issue?
Result: What was the result of your behaviour, did you succeed?
For an example on who to use the PAR technique check out this link.

Leaving a good impression

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them, for example you may not be clear on the following:

“When do you plan on making a decision for the position?”. This important if you have to give notice to your current employer.

“Is the position under an award or an individual contract?”

"Is the position permanent or temporary?”

At the end of interview it is important to thank the interviewer and/or panel. You should firmly shake each person’s hand, look them in the eye and say “thank you” or whatever farewell phrase you use.

After the Interview

It is always a good to get feedback from the interviewer and/or panel. You can contact the person who ran the interview and ask that you are seeking feedback on how you went, what you did well and areas you can improve on. This completes the interview process and will allow you improve on your next interview.