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Curtin University of Technology
University Life

Interviews

Here are some Interview Hints to complement the Interview Clinics

The Obvious
Sometimes the simplest things can trip you up when it comes to interviews.
Make sure you confirm the date, time and location of the interview well in advance.
Allow yourself plenty of time to find the correct address and locate parking
There is nothing more distracting than arriving late or flustered.
There is nothing more distracting than arriving late or flustered.
Try and find out the names of the people you will meet and the expected length of the interview.

Research the Organisation and the Industry
Research the company extensively - understand as much as possible about what they do, how they do it and what their mission is. There are a number of online sources that have current industry information.

Try the company website for their background details or search online for a copy of their last annual report. Use the information you have gathered during the recruitment process. Contact the company directly if you still have unanswered questions.

Investigate the culture of their business - what do they value? This will give you a clue to the personal qualities they are seeking and the kind of person they are looking to recruit - someone who will be a perfect 'fit' for their current team. Think about some questions you would like to ask them.

Be prepared to talk about yourself
*** Establish the employer’s needs and how your skills fit into this.
*** Know the skills you have to offer an employer.
*** Be ready to give examples of how you've demonstrated these skills, rather than a yes/no answer.
*** Be able to identify what the situation was, what you did, what the outcome was.
*** If you do not have much professional work experience, think of examples from your major university projects, volunteer work or social activities. Take evidence of your work and education with you in a presentable format.


Anticipate their questions
Have answers ready for possible questions based on the selection criteria and spend some time practicing the delivery of these answers. These will usually require you to put the answer into a recent work context - give an actual example of a situation and how you handled it.
Ensure you are mentally prepared - spend some time calming your nerves and visualising the interview running smoothly.

Appearance
Remember first impressions count, so your standard of dress for the interview should be professional, tidy and leaning towards conservative. Avoid extremes of fashion. Clean your shoes. Do not go overboard with aftershave, perfume or makeup.

Finally
Smile. Shake hands firmly. Be enthusiastic. Be polite to everyone you have contact with at the organisation. Be punctual. Do not smoke or accept refreshments even if offered, nothing is worse than trying to answer a question with your mouth full! Thank the interviewer for their time. If you are interested in the position restate your interest and ask about the next step. Make a follow up call if you have not heard from them in the timeframe discussed at interview.

Other hints
Do not lie or exaggerate your abilities, answer questions truthfully and as close to the point as possible.
Avoid the appearance of being aggressive, conceited or a know it all.
Make sure your mobile phone is switched off.
Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the positio that you are discussing.
Greet the interviewer by name, if unsure of pronunciation, ask the person to repeat their name.
Do not forget about body language or non-verbal communication. Be alert, look people in the eye and maintain a good posture.

Common Interview Questions

Q. Tell me about yourself?
A. Do not give your entire life history. This question is used to build rapport. If they are interested in specific personal information they will ask. Start with your degree, mention your work experience, or the key subjects that you've studied and also the kind of interests you have outside of work.

Q. What are your strengths?
A. Identify at least 3. You should have some technical strengths as well as skills in generic areas like communication, teamwork or problem solving.

Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. Try and focus on those you are doing something about and give it a context, so your answer sounds more positive. Make it clear that none of your weaknesses will in any way affect your ability to do the job successfully.

Q. Why do you wish to work for our organisation? Or What interests you about our products/services?
A. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the work it is doing.

Q. In what technical areas do you consider yourself proficient?
A. Know what you are good at. Is it sales, design, data analysis, customer service, programming?

Q. What sort of people do you like to work with?
A. This is looking at your likely fit with existing team members. Focus on positive attributes such as positive, energetic, enthusiastic, committed or competent.

Q. What sort of person do you like to be supervised by? Or what style of management gets the best from you?
A. Focus on positive attributes such as efficient, supportive, forward thinking. Do not mention, unless asked, attributes you do not like.

Q. Tell me about a group project on which you've worked? How did you allocate responsibilities?
A. This type of question is seeking details about your team skills and leadership ability. If you do not have a lot of work experience use group projects from university.

Q. How do you stay aware of developments in your field?
A. Employers are looking for staff who are genuinely interested in their field and committed to ongoing professional development. Mention professional memberships or subscriptions you may have.

Q. Tell me about a situation that didn't turn out as you expected?
A. This type of question is designed to see how you handle difficult situations and what you have learned from the experience. Outline the situation, your response and why, in retrospect, you would do things differently.

Q. Do you have any questions?
A. Try and have one or two prepared, but not on something they may potentially cover in the normal interview process. For example, "What new areas of growth do you see for your company in the future?" or "What kind of professional development opportunities might I have in this position?"