The job interview is your opportunity to talk about how your skills, knowledge, experience and interests align with the role and the organisation.
The purpose of a resume is to win an interview, and the purpose of an interview is to win the job! The interviewer will be gauging if you have the potential to do the job, the motivation to perform well, and the ability to fit into the organisational culture. You’ll be finding out about the responsibilities of the role and if the organisation is the right fit for you.
There is no single interview format that all interviewers follow, as it will depend on the industry, role and type of employment.
These are preliminary discussions which assess the candidate’s suitability to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process. They will focus on your ability to communicate, your motivation and interest in the role and your ability to answer basic interview questions. Common screening methods include telephone interviews and video interviews.
These interviews usually involve an unstructured conversation with the employer and are commonly used by small businesses like cafes, bars or independent retail stores. The interviewer may ask you some questions relating to the position but these are generally not standardised and your answers are not scored in a formal way. While an informal interview can feel like a friendly chat, remember that you’re being assessed for your suitability for the job.
Formal interviews are structured with carefully-chosen questions that examine your suitability for the role. All candidates are usually asked the same set of questions. There are several sub-categories of formal interview:
The interviewer(s) meet with several candidates at the same time. This can be either a screening method or a final interview depending on the employer’s needs. It’s essential to speak up, while also being respectful of your fellow interviewees by not talking over others or dominating the conversation.
The key to successful performance at an interview is preparation. You will feel a lot more confident if you understand the organisation and can anticipate questions based on the role description. Here are some key tips for preparing for your next interview.
You will probably be given an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview, so think about what you'd genuinely like to know. Asking a considered question can show your interest in the job and the organisation. Things you might ask about are:
Make sure that all your questions are not about the benefits such as travel, leave entitlements and promotions. Don’t ask questions about information you’ve already been given, although you can ask for clarification. Read our tips on salary negotiation when considering whether it is an appropriate query at this stage.
Don’t forget to follow up the interview with a thank you email to the interviewer. Use this as an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the role. Make a note of any questions you struggled with and think of possible alternative answers so you’re better prepared next time. If you’re not successful at landing the role, ask for feedback to identify areas for improvement.
Here are some common job interview questions to guide your practice. Research your industry and review the job ad or job description to determine which questions are most relevant to the role you’re seeking.