Preparing for an interview

Job interviews can be daunting, but the better prepared you are, the better your chance of creating a good impression.

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Find tips on preparing for commonly asked questions, or practice your skills on our interview simulator.

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A job interview helps employers assess more than just your skills and experience: it also tests whether your values and working style align with the organisation’s culture.

Practice and preparation are key to help you gain confidence and perform at your best.

Before your interview:

  • Study the company website
  • Show your interest by getting in touch with the listed contact for the role and asking exploratory questions
  • Re-read your application and be prepared to talk about your key strengths
  • Review the selection criteria and make sure you can speak to interesting examples where you’ve demonstrated the skills they’re looking for
  • Prepare a few questions to ask at the end of the interview.

Types of interviews

  • Behavioural interviews

    Behavioural interview questions ask you to reflect on your experience and share examples that demonstrate your skills.

    Behavioural questions generally begin with phrases like:

    • Tell me about a time when...
    • Give me an example of...
    • Describe a situation when you...

    Employers consider how you’ve used your skills in the past so they can predict how you might perform in a potential role.

  • Phone interviews

    Phone interviews are used by employers to screen potential new hires. This allows companies to sort through a larger number of candidates without committing to the expense and time required for in-person interviews.

    Phone interviews are generally arranged so that you’re expecting the call. Sometimes for screening interviews, you may be contacted without warning.

    If you’re not available to speak professionally, for example, if you're on a noisy tram, it is reasonable to request another time.

  • Video interviews

    Video interviews are widely used by employers to speed up the recruitment process. There are two basic types of video interviews:

    • Live interviews are increasingly popular as hiring becomes more global. This type of interview means you talk to the interviewer or panel over video in real-time.
    • Taped interviews are often used by employers prior to in-person interviews. Generally, the employer will send you a link to the interview platform and give you a timeframe to record video responses to specific questions.

    Plan your recording

    Have everything ready before you begin recording:

    • Test your equipment and set up in advance: make sure your microphone works and your camera is at eye level.
    • Proper lighting is essential for high-quality video, so take time to adjust your lights, monitor, and window shades accordingly.
    • Be mindful of your space. Make sure your surroundings are clean, comfortable, and quiet to avoid being distracted throughout the interview.
    • Dress professionally. Wear the same interview attire you would for an in-person interview.
  • Assessment centres

    Assessment centres help employers gauge your skills, experience, and personal qualities through a series of different activities. Knowing what to expect is the key to performing well.

    They will vary in structure, but they typically include:

    • Several candidates will be present for a full or half day of assessment.
    • Some exercises will involve other candidates, some will be done on your own.
    • You are assessed against a number of key competencies (skills) required to do the job.
    • You are not being assessed against other candidates, however your interactions and attitude are key.

    Some of the selection activities may include:

    • Aptitude and personality tests
    • Motivation questionnaires
    • Case study exercises
    • Behavioural interviews

    Prepare for all possible scenarios via our EmployMe Assessment Centre Tool.

  • Psychometric testing

    Psychometric assessments help employers gather objective information. The results are considered in addition to your resume, interview responses, and referee comments.

    Most psychometric tests are completed online. The organisation will send you a link for the test and a deadline to complete it. You may also complete a psychometric test at an assessment centre or when you are interviewed.

    Aptitude tests

    Aptitude tests assess whether you can complete numerical and written tasks at a basic level. They’re often used at the first stage of a graduate recruitment process, so employers can reduce their applicant pool by eliminating scores below a certain level.

    Tests may include:

    • Verbal reasoning (critical evaluation of written information)
    • Numerical reasoning (analysis of numerical data)
    • Abstract reasoning (often involve diagram sequences)

    Personality questionnaires

    Questionnaires help employers get a better idea of how you might fit in the role, team or organisation. They may also be used to flesh out questions for a final-round interview.

    The best advice for personality questionnaires is to go with your first answer, as this is generally a true reflection of your style.

    Try some practice tests before your assessment

Practice your interview technique

Our team of career advisers offer expert advice on preparing for interviews. Book into a virtual Careers and Employability Studio appointment for tailored advice from a careers adviser.

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