Being interviewed for a role you really want by people you’ve (usually) never met before can be nerve-wracking. Here are some tips to help you prepare for success.
When you think of traditional job interview, a one-on-one type interview usually comes to mind. In this scenario you are invited to meet with one person—perhaps a human resources manager, a recruitment consultant or the manager of the position you are applying for—to talk about your qualifications and how you might benefit the company.
The interview may be highly structured, where set questions will be asked, or it could be a more informal situation where the interviewer tries to get to know you and your skills.
Tips for one-on-one interviews
- In addition to discussing your various skills and qualifications, it’s important to build a good rapport with the interviewer. Remember that you may be working directly with this person if you get the job. Getting along with the interviewer can also show that your personality is compatible with those of other team members.
- Before the interview ends, reflect briefly on what you haven’t been asked about and actively offer information to make sure you’ve conveyed all key points about what you can bring to the role.
- Be sure to prepare and ask your own questions about the job, the organisation, and the selection process.
Panel interviews are very common in larger organisations. You’re likely to experience one if you apply for the Public Service, graduate recruitment programs, and for positions in health, welfare, educational institutions and professional associations. Panels can consist of between three and five people, usually a line manager, a HR representative, a team member, or even a person from another department. Usually each person is assigned certain questions which they ask of all candidates while the others observe and take notes. Employers use panel interviews to help them make the best decision by getting a range of people to assess candidates, rather than relying on a single individual. While it can be daunting to face a number of interviewers, it is an effective technique that can benefit you because personal bias can be countered and different perspectives are brought to bear on the decision about whether you are the right person for the job.
Tips for panel interviews
- During the interview, make initial eye contact with the person who has asked the question, then include the other panel members in your answer. Scan from one face to the next, pausing briefly on each. Focus on speaking to each individual and then, as you finish your answer, return your focus to the person who asked the interview question.
- Panel members are likely to take notes during your interview—don’t be intimidated by this. Use it as a reminder that you need to speak clearly and concisely.
- Prepare and bring along a list of questions to ask the panel at the end of the interview. It’s a good idea to address the questions to different members of the panel based on their organisational role (e.g. human resources, line management and technical). For example, you could address a question about company culture to the human resources officer and a question about the priorities of the position to the line manager.
Questions you might ask at an interview
- What would a typical day in this role look like?
- Why has this position become available?
- How would you describe your organisational culture?
- What induction and training programmes does the organisation offer?
- Can you tell me about the reporting structure for this position?
- How would my performance be measured and by whom?
- What are the main priorities in this job?
- Are there any particular qualities and skills you especially value in this team/organisation?
- How is the company positioned against its competitors?
- What are the most challenging aspects of this position?
- What is the next step in the process?
- What outcomes would I need to achieve in the first three months in this job?