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How to prepare for an Interview

Preparing for and attending interviews is a very important part of getting a job. Being prepared means you will feel more confident about going into an interview.
Attending job interviews can be a daunting task. The following information provides tips and advice on preparing for and attending interviews:

Preparing for your interview
Role playing is a great way to practice how you will respond to common interview questions. Practice how you will answer any questions by role playing with a friend or a family member
During an interview you are likely to be asked common questions about why you should be chosen for the job. Prepare an answer to possible questions by thinking about how you see the job, what the job needs and how your skills, abilities and qualities will meet those needs.

Don't forget that you can ask questions during an interview, so take time to find out about the job you are being interviewed for and the organisation. Show that you are really interested in the job!

How to explain gaps in your employment history
If you have gaps in your employment history, here are some ways you can respond to questions about this:

  • Note any study, volunteer work or other activities you completed during this period
  • Emphasise your keenness to work
  • Describe your future career goals and how the job fits into this path.
  • You may have been travelling

Plan your travel to the interview
It’s a good idea to plan your trip to the interview well in advance. Do a practice run so you know where you are going and how long it will take you. Make sure you allow time for traffic and transport delays.

Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early, so that you have some time to collect yourself and compose your thoughts. Arriving early also shows the employer that you are keen.
Most employers are usually very busy people and generally find applicants who are late a substantial annoyance. If you are running late, phone the employer and tell them that you are running late. Please give a substantial reason.
You may be late because;

  • Public Transport delay
  • Car broke down
  • Family emergency
  • Personal sickness
  • Accident

All employers will accept a suitable legitimate reason and may reallocate a suitable time

Attending the interview
Interviews provide employers with an opportunity to find out about you and what you know. They may involve one interviewer or several people, known as a panel interview.
Being a bit nervous at an interview is normal so do your best to appear calm, friendly and confident and consider the following tips:

  • An interview starts from the first moment of contact so be aware of ‘small talk’
  • When arriving at an interview, introduce yourself
  • Shake hands with the interviewer or each panel member when you enter the room
  • If you are asked a questions that you are not sure about, ask the interviewer to explain or clarify the question as this shows that you are not afraid to ask questions to get things right
  • Do not try to control the interview and or continually speak over or interrupt the interviewer.
  • If you are not sure of how to answer a question, take a moment to think about it—pausing is perfectly OK and shows you don’t panic under pressure
  • Be sure in your responses and avoid using 'I might' or 'I guess'
  • When the interview is over, thank the interviewers for their time and shake hands again.
  • Carefully and accurately outline your qualifications and experience
  • Refrain from introducing personal or family matter in the interview. The interviewer is not interested in your personal family problems.

Even if you think the interview has been a disaster, be polite as it may not have been as bad as you think! If you miss out on one job, the employer could still be thinking of you for another more suitable position in the future.

After the interview
After the interview you should think about how you went at the interview, make some notes about what happened and think about how you can improve. For example, perhaps you were asked a really tough question and want to have an answer ready if you are asked that question again.

Ask your interviewer for feedback, if you don't get the job. Ask what you could improve on, as well as if they thought your work skills and experience were lacking in any area. This will help you with future interviews.

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