Job Interview Skills

When you receive news of being invited to attend an interview, confirm that you will attend.

Before the Interview

  • Plan what you will wear.
  • Plan your travel so that you will arrive early.
  • Research the business.
  • Research the job you are applying for.
  • Anticipate the questions the employer might ask and practise your answers to these questions.
  • Prepare some questions to ask the interviewers. A good technique is to prepare questions that will show the employer that you have done some research into their business or organisation.

At the Interview

  • Arrive early.
  • You may wish to read thorough your job application materials while waiting to be invited into the interview room.
  • Shake hands with interviewers.
  • Make eye contact with the interviewer or interviewers.
  • Avoid fidgeting.

Interview Questions

1. The Interviewer’s Questions

The first questions you will be asked will be general in nature and should help you feel at ease. The next questions will be more specific. The interviewer will be trying to establish whether you will fit into the job role and the business or organisation. The questions are likely to focus on your skills for the job and statements you have made in your résumé.

Behavioural Questions. These days many employers ask behavioural questions in a job interview. An example of a behavioural question is: “Can you give me an example of when you have shown good teamwork skills?”

If you are asked these types of questions, you need to draw upon examples of what you have actually done that shows that you have the skills the employer is looking for. A good way to answer these questions is to use the STAR technique. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results.

  • Situation – Describe the situation
  • Task – Describe the task involved
  • Action – Describe the action you took
  • Results – Describe the results or outcomes

For example:

Interviewer: “Can you give me an example of when you have shown good teamwork skills?”

Interviewee: “My History class (situation) was given a group assignment (task). We had planned what each person in the group was going to do, but the day before the assignment was due Billy ended up in hospital with appendicitis. I went to Billy’s house, got his notes and finished off his part of the assignment (action). The group got the assignment in on the due date and we achieved a B for our work (result).”

2. Your Questions

You will be invited to ask questions you have for the interviewer.

End of the Interview

  • The interviewer will most likely discuss topics such as when you will be notified if you have been offered a job and other issues around terms of employment.
  • Thank the interviewer and reiterate your key points relevant to the job.

Throughout the Interview

  • Be polite, courteous and confident.
  • Speak clearly, using correct grammar.
  • Demonstrate genuine interest in the position and the interviewer.
  • Listen carefully to questions asked and give relevant information when answering questions. Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question.
  • Be truthful in your responses.
  • Market your achievements, skills, qualifications and attitudes relevant to the job.
  • Use non-verbal communication skills to create a favourable impression, e.g.
  • Sit up straight and lean slightly forward (an interested and attentive posture).
  • Smile occasionally to indicate you are friendly, co-operative and cheerful.
  • Make frequent eye contact with the interviewer or interviewers.
  • Convince the interviewer(s) that you can do the job and will enjoy doing it.

After the Interview

Consider following up with a ‘thank you’ email.

Interview Preparation Tools

Information and worksheets on how to present yourself at a job interview.

Read an article on what to research before a job interview.

Read about how to research employers.

Find out what’s involved in the job you are applying for by searching for a related occupation on the myfuture website. Sign up or login. Do a keyword search in the Occupations menu for the name of the job you are being interviewed for and read about that tasks and duties involved in the occupation.

Practise answering job interview questions. Go to the jobactive Youtube channel. Click on the Interview practice playlist and choose practice interview video clip related to the job you are applying for. A real employer will ask you a series of typical interview questions for their industry. You will have time to say and answer and record it on your phone or webcam. At the end the interviewer explains what they would expect from a candidate in a job interview and gives tips for answering interview questions.