Successful Interview Techniques



The key to a successful interview is preparation. The more prepared you are, the more equipped and comfortable you will feel in the interview, enabling you to secure the job you’ve been waiting for.

There are a number of things to consider in the preparation. Firstly, you need to review your resume and if you were required to submit one, your response to the selection criteria. The interviewer will be looking at how your experience and expertise matches the job, and will be asking questions based on your resume or selection criteria response.

Consequently, it’s a good idea to thoroughly review the written information you have submitted and likewise, ask yourself how your background matches the job. Work your experience in with the employer’s needs and make notes on this to review just prior to your interview. From these notes think about possible questions you might be asked and how you will answer them.

TIP – Achievements

When put on the spot in an interview it’s hard to think about your achievements. To ensure you are well prepared, write down all your major achievements over your working life and the benefit of these to your employer. You may have saved time or money, you may have streamlined a process or made money.

Next you will need to do some research on the organisation. You can do this by asking people who work there or who have had some dealings with the business, gather information from the internet, or read company publications. Some things to research include: 

  • What are the firm’s products and services? 
  • Who do they sell to and who are their clients? 
  • What are their goals and how do they get there? 
  • What are the firm’s values?

Make sure you have all the details on the interview, where it will be held, the time, and if there is anything else you need to bring. If you do not know the address and/or how long it takes to get there, do a dry run beforehand. Give yourself plenty of time on the day.


Just as important is your presentation. Within the first few seconds of an interview, as you are being introduced, you convey some very important impressions which often leads the interviewer to subconsciously reach a conclusion about you. In fact we all do this when we first meet someone, and tend to put people in boxes based on our first impressions.

Consequently it is important that you are dressed appropriately, you are well groomed, you are aware of your deportment, the way you show your nervousness, and you understand gestures and non-verbal communication.

Generally your dress for an interview should be conservative if the job is in an office or in a ‘white collar’ environment. If it’s working outside or in a ‘blue collar’ area, your dress can be good casual, generally with long pants, collared shirt, and covered in shoes.


TIP – Health and Safety

For jobs that have an outside base, organisations will have strict health and safety practices regarding dress. It is not appropriate to wear your high vis vest to an interview, but ensure your legs, arms and feet are covered. Having a regard for health and safety will go in your favour.

Whatever the code, your dress should be neat and tidy with ironed matching clothes, matching accessories and polished shoes. Do not wear excessive jewellery. And importantly, wear something you feel comfortable in. Get a family member or friend to check your intended dress beforehand. Other things to consider include: 

  • Pay attention to personal hygiene and grooming
  • Make sure your posture is upright, slouching makes you look disinterested
  • Smile when you meet people in the firm, it relaxes you and the interviewer
  • Offer a firm handshake, not too soft or too hard
  • Don’t fiddle your thumbs or click your pen

Types of Interviews

There are two different types of interview situations, the private sector interview, and the public sector interview. The private sector interview is based on whether the candidate has the skills to do the job, has the right attitude to carry out the job, and will fit in with the culture and the other people in the organisation. 

The public sector interview is generally based only on whether the candidate has the skills to do the job. This interview is more structured and questions are constructed from a selection criteria statement that the applicant has already responded to and sent to the government employer.

There are advantages and disadvantages for both these scenarios. In the private sector interview there is the opportunity for you to compete on a number of levels, not just on job skills. The interview is a lot more personal.

The public sector interview bases its question around job skills only and each candidate selected for an interview is asked exactly the same set of questions. This interview is seen to be fair and leaves no room for discrimination.

With both the public and private sector interviews you could be selected to attend one of the following interview formats:

  • One on one interview
  • Panel interview – usually 3 interviewers
  • Group interview – several candidates interviewed at the same time
  • Telephone or video conferencing interview
  • Presentation interview
  • Social interview

Successful Interview Techniques Workbook

Continue with Successful Interview Techniques by purchasing the full workbook on this topic. Learn the many interview techniques that have been simplified, what to do after the interview, how to negotiate, and respond to the job offer.  The workbook is packed with lots more tips and activities to help you get through the interview successfully. Sharpen your Interview Techniques further by engaging your own private Coach.  Contact Us!  In its original state the workbook can be used by facilitators for short workshop presentations.



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