Job interviews are right up there with sitting for your driver's licence and public speaking as life's most nerve-racking experiences. But don't let those nerves get the better of you; instead channel your energy into practice and preparation.
Time spent preparing for the interview will pay off, provided that the information you collect is used in the most effective manner.
Find out all you can about the City of Monash. If possible obtain a copy of the annual report, check our website for information. As you read through the information write down questions that come to mind. It is valuable to have a good selection of pre-determined questions.
The first point to remember is - be punctual. Research the location prior to the interview so as to avoid arriving late and flustered. If you know you are going to be late, phone ahead to ensure that your interviewer is aware of your late arrival.
Appropriate, professional attire is essential. Standards may vary according to industry type, location or company culture. Always make an effort; obtain a second opinion if possible and if in any doubt, dress conservatively.
Ensure you allow plenty of time to see the interview through and make sure you turn off your mobile phone before going into the interview.
Other points to remember include:
- Smiling, particularly on meeting the interviewer
- Shake hands firmly and maintain eye contact
- Accept tea, coffee or water if you would like some, this is a good way of relaxing the atmosphere
- If you are asked to complete an application form, do not appear irritated
- Avoid striking through areas that you feel are covered on your CV, list a brief outline instead
Answering Interview Questions
Listen to what the interviewer is asking. Answer clearly and concisely and if you are unsure of what is being asked, clarify with the interviewer what information he/she is seeking. If at any point you begin to have reservations about the position, do not show it. Never shut out an opportunity, you never know what may come up in the future within the same organization.
Employers value loyalty and look for it in potential employees, so ensure you refrain from criticizing a past or present employer.
Many questions can be anticipated in advance and it is wise to pre-prepare the answers.
Interviewers often like to open with the question 'Tell me a little bit about yourself' which offers the perfect opportunity to give a short history of your career whilst ensuring that it includes your strengths and suitability for the position.
Keep it to approximately 4-5 minutes and practice it so you are confident and thoroughly comfortable with your career history - an actor would never go on stage without rehearsing.
Frequently asked questions include:
- Why are you seeking new employment?
- What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
- What value can you add to our organisation?
- What does teamwork mean to you?
- What was the most important thing you learned from your last employer?
- What do you think determines a person's progression in an organisation?
- What have you done to show initiative in your career?
- Where do you want to be in three or five years from now?
- What are your reasons for leaving your current/last job?
- What salary are you looking for?
- What hobbies or interests do you have?
Whilst it is important to ask questions you should be careful not to end up interviewing the interviewer! However, asking questions about a position and the organisation offering it can add credibility to your application.
Here are some suggested questions:
- How has this position become available?
- What longer term advancement opportunities are there?
- What are the future plans of the organisation?
- What is the organisation's culture?
- Would my performance be measured formally? By whom? How often?
- How does the department integrate with the rest of the organisation?
Closing the Interview
Thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to interview for the role. If you are asked about your continued interest, remain positive, your evident enthusiasm can only count in your favour. Give yourself time to reflect and think about this position before giving too much away.
Establish what the next step will be.
Make notes about the interview the same day - there may be a delay before the next stage and this will help to clarify points in your mind.
If you are unsuccessful in getting the job, find out why - once you obtain feedback you can integrate what you learn into your next interview.