Updating Results

Interviews

Well done. You have made it to the next stage of the process. Now you need to prepare.

A job interview allows a potential employer to determine what – and how – you could contribute to their organisation. It is also an opportunity for you to discover what to expect if you get the job, and work out if it is the right position for you. With this in mind, consider your interview a mutually beneficial exchange. Preparation is key to ensuring your potential employer understands why you would be a valuable asset.

Types of interview

Interviews come in all shapes and sizes. Finding out which method you’ll be faced with will put you in the best position to adequately prepare. Popular methods include:

  • Face-to-face – with one person or a panel
  • Via telephone – often used as a screening tool for initial contact
  • Via video – increasingly popular, so pay special attention to how your surroundings will look on screen.

The structure of an interview will depend on the role you are applying for, the employer and the industry they exist in. Some employers hold three rounds of 30–60 minute face-to-face interviews, while others progress from a telephone call, to a video interview, a face-to-face meet up and finally, an assessment day. 

Types of questions

During your interview there are many different types of questions you could be asked. These include:

‘Get to know you’ questions: 

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Why do you want this position? How do you think you could add value?

Situational questions:

  • You are asked by two different superiors to immediately complete two high-priority tasks. What action do you take?
  • How would you respond to feedback from a disappointed client?

Technical questions

  • Do you know how to use software [X] and software [Y]? Which do you prefer?
  • Can you describe three different methods of curing concrete?

Industry questions:

  • What are some recent developments in the market that may affect our business?
  • Who are the major players in our industry and how do we differ?

Many interviews also involve behavioural or competency-based questions, which are designed to elicit specific examples of how you handled situations in the past. These provide insight into your behaviour and can be used to determine how you might handle similar situations in the future. 

Examples include: 

  • Tell us about a time when you solved a problem at your part-time job.
  • Describe a time when you had to make an unpopular decision. How did you implement this and how effective were you?

Some sectors conduct very specific types of interviews. Consultancy firms for example, frequently use case studies designed to test your ability to process and analyse information, and come up with solutions. These can be conducted individually or in a group. Case studies are typically related to the kind of scenarios you would face in the role, but can also include brainteasers, such as ‘How many people are using Facebook in Sydney at 2.30 pm on a Friday?’

If you are applying for an academically-related position – including interviewing for further study or research – you can also expect questions to focus on your discipline of study. 

In all cases, if you make it through to a second or third round interview, be prepared to meet with managers, partners or similarly senior staff. If they test you with some hard-hitting questions, remember: keep your cool, analyse what they are trying to learn about you, and answer clearly and concisely.

How to prepare 

Having detailed knowledge about an employer and the industry they work in, and being ready to answer an array of questions, is key to acing your interview.

  • To maximise your chances of success, make use of the following resources:
  • University career centres and career centre staff
  • Career websites such as GradAustralia.com.au, which not only provide general advice about interviews but tips and insights from recent grads who have successfully landed jobs
  • Employer websites (study them inside and out!)
  • Student and graduate blogs 
  • Industry experts, found on LinkedIn or at networking events.