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Copyright 2007

Interview Tips

You researched for job positions and sent off the appropriate letter and resume. So what's next?

It varies between companies and positions, but some of the main interview strategies are listed below:

Personal Interview

This is the most common technique for assessing applicants for a job.

In an interview, you will be questioned in regards to your capacity to fill the job. You may be interviewed by one or more person, although rarely more than three, and it may be in a formal panel arrangement or more informal.

During an interview, they will assess your presentation, your ability to answer, your attitudes and whether you would suit their company. You also have the opportunity to question them about the job and the company, although researching them beforehand is a wise move.

To increase your chances of succeeding in an interview

  • dress neatly and conservatively

  • consider questions they may ask (some possibilities can be found here)

  • smile and make eye contact

  • remember interviewer's names and use them

  • know about the company before hand, but be prepared with specific questions you may have

  • take along all documents that may be requested, even if you included them with the resume

Phone Interview

This is most likely only used when distance prevents a personal interview.

Obviously, you have the advantage of being in a familiar environment, having notes with you and not being looked at. As you can't respond to the interviewer's body language, make sure that you are speaking slowly and clearly, and keep smiling so that you sound relaxed.

Remember to introduce yourself at the beginning of he call and make sure that you can be heard at the other end.


In some situations, you will be expected to undergo one or more tests before the interview process is complete. In most cases, these are not tests you need to study for as they are either personality and aptitude tests or are checking skills such as typing speed. If more intensive testing is required, it is likely that you be informed of this prior to sending in applications and being interviewed.

Often, agencies will implement these tests before adding you to their lists so they can be sure they are making good recommendations to clients.

If you undergo tests, ask for copies of results that can be used elsewhere - eg a certificate of typing speed could be useful later.

Situation Interviews

Not a common practice, but employers do sometimes observe applicants in situations other than an interview. It is more common in senior management and sales positions or for groups of graduates.

Such interviews are conducted over a meal or entertainment venue, and thus have a less formal look. Such interview processes are looking beyond your words to see how you interact with other people, how you maintain professionalism in public and your general demeanour.

The important criteria to remember are

  • good manners at all times

  • be friendly and pleasant

  • remain professional - have a drink, but don't get drunk; chat and interact rather than watch the game; don't become rowdy or obnoxious.

  • initiate conversation, as well as answering questions

Group Interviews

Again, this is not common but it does happen with targeted groups such as graduates.

These can be done in a number of ways and will test you on how you behave in a group; they may be looking for leadership abilities or team players, or even demonstration of both. If they are looking for a group of new employees, they may actually be choosing those that get along well in that situation, rather than just going on individual traits.

Group interviews may take the form of group activities (such as team building exercises or role playing problem saving,) presentations, quiz formats, discussions or may not be much more than an information session.

These interviews can be less intimidating than facing the interviewer(s) alone, but their unknown characteristics cause their own tensions. Ideally, relax into the situation and be as friendly and co-operative as possible.

Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com






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