Interviews are a two-way process. They are an opportunity for you to find out more about your future employer and the role you have applied for, while the employer gets the chance to find out more about you.

It is a competitive environment and preparation is the first essential step towards a successful interview. Your role is to demonstrate that you are the most suitable person.

The interview with the employer will enable them learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and your attitudes, motivation, and maturity.

Behavioural or competency based interviews

Structured interviews are designed to make you feel comfortable and obtain real information from you. They are not designed to catch you out.

  • Practice your responses to questions that are likely to be asked – prepare examples

  • If you’re interviewing for a position that requires a skill that you haven’t used for a while, take the time to brush up your knowledge

  • Understand your key strengths and areas for development

  • Be prepared to talk about specific job-related experiences to demonstrate your approach relevant to the competencies

  • Prepare questions that you may want to ask at the interview

Most of the questions will focus on providing examples demonstrating your competence in the role.

Refer to the position description to identify the competencies/key accountabilities for the role and provide specific examples/situations that reflect your expertise in those areas. Feel free to takes notes with you to the interview to remind yourself of examples you’ve prepared earlier.

Remember to structure your answer using the following:

Situation - Briefly describe the situation you faced?

Task - What specifically did you have to do?

Action - What action did you take and why?

Result - What was the outcome of the situation you faced?

Here are some dos

  • Greet the interviewer by their first name, and clarify the pronunciation if needed

  • Think about your body language - shake hands firmly, use good eye contact, sit upright in your chair, face the interviewer, look alert and interested at all times, smile and be positive

  • Be a good listener as well as a good talker - take your time to understand the question being asked

  • Research the organisation and the details of the job you’ve applied for

− visit the company website, read position description, talk to people you know who have, or are working for the organisation

− spend time reflecting on your work history, your achievements that you can use to demonstrate your experience. Remember to use “I” as opposed to “We” when giving these examples

  • Make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner

  • Prepare the questions you will ask during the interview.

Remember that an interview is a “two-way street”. Our team will try to determine through questioning if you have the skills and qualities necessary to do the job. You must determine, through questioning, whether the role will give you the opportunity for the growth and development you seek

Probing questions you might ask

  • Why the position has become available

  • Culture of the team

  • The future expectations of this position

  • What the working style is like in the department (i.e. showing your willingness to be adaptable)

Here are some don’ts

  • Answer questions with just yes or no - explain wherever possible

  • Make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies

  • ‘Over answer’ questions or over talk – they will probe further if more detail is needed

  • Lie - answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly

  • Offer up overly personal information

Things to be mindful of

During the interview, our team will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes.

The following points are some negative factors that may lead to rejection.

  • Poor personal appearance. Dress appropriately

  • Overbearing, aggressive manner – being a “know-it-all”

  • Inability to express thoughts clearly

  • Lack of planning for a career. No purpose or goals

  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm, being passive or indifferent

  • Lack of confidence, nervousness

  • Over-emphasis on money, appearing interested only in remuneration

  • Lack of tact, maturity or courtesy

  • Failure to look the interviewer in the eye

  • A persistent attitude of ‘what can you do for me?’

  • Lack of preparation for the interview, failure to seek information about the company, resulting in inability to ask questions

Wrapping up

If you get the impression that the interview is not going well, don’t let your discouragement show – it might be going better than you think!

Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you. Leave a lasting impression by confirming your interest in the position.

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