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The Interview – presenting yourself in person

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1 The Interview – presenting yourself in person
Career Services Workshop #5

2 Congratulations! You’ve been asked to come
for a job interview! This is an achievement. They liked what they read – now they want to see you in person!

3 Who are ‘they’? ‘They’ are the Selection Panel – a group of 3–4
people who will interview you. Panel members get together beforehand to read the applications, choose the applicants they want to interview and eliminate applicants who do not meet the selection criteria for the position. They decide on the questions they want to ask and allocate the questions to different panel members.

4 First things first …. Don’t panic! Be happy!
Nervous? Me? Of course not!!

5 Nervous? Being nervous is no help at all. ‘Excited’ is helpful to you, ‘nervous’ is not. The Selection Panel are looking at you as a potential workmate – they don’t want you to be nervous at work, so they don’t want you to be nervous at the interview. A nervous interviewee makes the Panel members feel uncomfortable. Be kind to them and make sure you feel relaxed. This really makes a difference to how the Panel see you. They are not the enemy … Think of the interview as a professional conversation between intelligent, respectful and educated people.

6 Be prepared … Study the Selection Criteria – usually, interviews are based on the criteria for the position and your answers to them. Re-read them. Change your written responses into oral ones. Practise saying them out loud. Study the Position Description – make sure you know what the position entails, the duties, the times, any extra things of interest. This can give you material for the interview. Research the work of the company or the organisation, its history, its annual report etc.

7 How long is an interview?
Depends on the job and the position …. A professional interview that is going well could last for 30 minutes. This is another reason to relax – 30 minutes is quite a long time. The more relaxed you are, the better you will be able to listen to the questions and compose an answer. (If you do not hear or understand the question the first time, it is OK to ask the person to repeat it.)

8 Your Personal Presentation …
Dress well – better to be formally dressed than too casual. No T-shirts, tight/low tops, short skirts etc. Good grooming – haircut, make-up, jewellry, perfume? Speech – polite, relaxed tone; speak clearly, no slang words! Don’t speak for too long when answering a question. Posture – sit up, walk tall; look at the panel members (especially the one who is asking the question) individually from time to time.

9 Key feature of an interview?
Your communication skills!! Panel members can hear you and see you. You are talking with them but they are also paying attention to your non-verbal communication. Be relaxed, show some enthusiasm, show that you are interested in what you are saying to them. It is OK to smile, to be positive about what you have studied, what you have done and what you want to do. They want to have a good idea of you as a person. They are looking for someone they can work with!

10 Behavioural questions
These questions focus on your conduct or behaviour in the past. Past behaviour predicts future behaviour. Used particularly in graduate interviews, where the graduate is not expected to have a professional work history. ‘Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge in your life and how you met that challenge.’ ‘Describe a time when you were under pressure. What strategies did you use to get organised and carry out your tasks?’ Remember the STAR method of answering Selection Criteria? Use the same method here.

11 Non-behavioural questions
These questions are about your skills, contributions, attitudes etc. ‘What do you think is your best communication skill?’ ‘My research and writing skills are probably my strong point. I love language and writing and find I am good at taking information or data and putting it into a readable format so other people can absorb and use that information. I am good at writing for an audience.’

12 Things to think about …. Your strengths – what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing in a work-type situation? ‘I enjoy helping people find out information that they need to accomplish their tasks. I get a sense of satisfaction from doing this.’ Your weaknesses – things you are not so good at, things you know about your self that you work to improve. ‘I’m not the organised person I would like to be, I’m afraid. At university, I had to plan things carefully to make sure I knew all my assignment deadlines ahead of time. I like to keep lists to organise my study life and I will continue to do this to help me at work.’

13 Things to think about cont
Think back through your school and university history for interesting things you did or achieved. Travel, sport, community work etc is all part of your life and experience. See what useful points you can draw from this experience for possible use in an interview. Having a variety of experiences to talk about means you do not have to refer to one single example for different interview questions.

14 Ending the Interview The leading Panel Member will indicate that the interview is nearly over. He or she will ask you if you have any questions for the Panel. It is considered ‘a good thing’ for the nterviewee to ask a question or two about the work of the company or the position. Do not, however, ask about salary or holidays at this point!! Take a moment to thank the panel members for their time. Give everyone a last smile and exit. If the Panel assesses you as the most desirable applicant, then you will hear from them, usually by telephone.

15 ‘I didn’t get the job!’ Neither did most of the people who were interviewed! One job = one person! Not getting the job is not a failure on your part. It could mean that more-qualified or more-experienced applicants also applied. If you know the interview went badly, then go back and think about it, and work out how to do better in the future. Job interviews are a way of life – there will be more! With practice you will become better. This is a skill in itself.

16 Next Week’s Workshop .. . Graduate Recruitment Programs Private Sector
Public Sector Wednesday 21 October Room 2B4 1.30pm

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