How to prepare an interview

For any job you want, remember that generally employers want their staff in place yesterday. They want someone who can do the job now. You have one opportunity, to understand the client’s expectations and to pitch yourself for the role.

We all know there are uncertainties as to what questions your prospective employer may ask and what exactly you should prepare beforehand. What do you need to do to ensure you can do that in this small window of opportunity:

rowena windowGeneral tips for before interview 

Plan ahead. Know where to go and how to get there with plenty of time before the interview.

Ensure you are well rested to be alert at interview.

Be yourself, they want to know you, and you both want to ensure it’s the right fit.

Be strategic, utilise your resources such as the advertisement you applied through, or the Position Description. Also consider websites related to the organisation.

 Key areas to consider for interview preparation

Do your research on the organisation and the position. Match your research with your key strengths to emphasise the value you will provide them.

Reflect on your past work experience. Prepare a brief summary of your career to provide an overview of your relevant employment. Categorise the KPIs you had in each job relevant to the role you are interviewing for.

Understand the key accountabilities and the selection criteria for the role. Focus on 3-4 key areas and prepare key examples for each. Know your transferrable skills.


How to structure your examples for interview

Framework for developing your examples

  • When was a time that you felt most proud or received recognition for your work?
  • What skills did you use? Were you challenged?
  • Were there positive results? Does this story exemplify a key skill/qualification that this position requires?


The STAR method is a strategy for answering interview questions that provides context, highlights your skills, and quantifies your experiences to provide clear examples.

It provides organised information with attention to detail to demonstrate your value.

S – Situation (Describe the situation that you were in)

T – Task (Outline what KPI were you working toward)

A – Action (Describe what actions you took to address the situation)

R – Result (Describe the outcome of your actions and quantify the results)

Use the STAR model to articulate the experience and bring the story full-circle

Employers love to evaluate candidate’s accomplishments and using numbers enhances your experiences. It demonstrates your ability more concisely and directly, giving you more credibility. When considering the tasks that you are responsible for, quantify your examples with volume, value and frequency. When structuring your examples, ask yourself these three questions.

Volume – how many?
Value – how much?
Frequency – how often?


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General tips for during the interview

  • Always wear professional attire.
  • Organise materials that you have taken so you know where to find it when you need it.
  • Ask for and write down the names of all individuals on the interview panel.
  • Maintain regular eye contact.
  • Show enthusiasm and energy by the tone of your voice; smile when talking.
  • Resist being too casual in your language.
  • Good closing, summarising your experience and reiterating interest in the position; thanking panel for their time.
  • Have some questions ready to ask the panel such as; Is there anything else that I can expand upon to give you a better idea of my fit? What are the next steps in the interview process?

Following any interview, you should thank your prospective employer. Preparing for interviews takes time and practice! And remember, if not successful this time, imagine how better prepared you will be for the next time.


Rowena Carter – Recruitment Consultant.

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One Response to How to prepare an interview

  1. David Monday 05th September 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    It is the simple advice that is most effective when preparing for interviews however many people forget to prepare accordingly.

    Thanks for sharing! Good pointers there.


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