Preparing for an Interview

Preparing for an Interview

Doing some ground work before a job interview is essential to making a good impression on an employer. Researching the company/organisation and the role itself will help you answer the employer's questions, and show you're keen for the job.

The interview is your chance to present your skills, experience, personal qualities and other strengths as they relate to the position you are applying for. It is also an opportunity to get more information about the organisation or position. This will help you decide if it is the right job for you.

Research the organisation

  • What is the public profile of the company? Are you aware of its products and services?
  • Use the Internet, business or industry magazines and brochures to find out information.
  • Think about your networks: do you know anyone who works/has worked there?

Visit the workplace

It is very useful to visit the place of work before the interview. It is best to do this openly. Call the person who arranged the interview and ask to make an appointment to visit. You might say something like:

‘I have been asked to come in for a job interview at your company. My interview is next Friday. I’m going to be in the area today, and I wondered if I could come in for a few minutes to have a look around, and ask a few questions to help me prepare.’

Even if a visit is refused, it shows you are keen and enthusiastic. Have some questions prepared, present yourself well, and do not outstay your welcome.

A visit gives you some useful information for the interview, including:

  • the size of the organisation
  • what products/ services are offered by the organisation
  • what the key markets are
  • the dress code
  • work place language / jargon
  • location for the interview.

Job interviews in New Zealand

Going for an interview in New Zealand might differ a little or a lot from interviews in your home country. Following the advice below should help you to prepare.

What will the interview be like?
Interviews in New Zealand can differ depending on the type of job and employer. Before you go to an interview, ask the employer what the interview will involve so that you can prepare yourself.

For example, you may want to ask how many people will interview you, or whether you will have to pass any selection tests. Be prepared for a formal interview but remember the employer wants to get to know you, so having a joke or talking about non-work topics is fine.

Who will interview me?

  • The number of people interviewing could range from one to three or four.
  • You could be interviewed by a member of the opposite sex.

How should I prepare?
There’s several things you can do to make a good impression when you go to an interview, such as dressing smartly and being on time. Preparing before you go to the interview can also help.

Practise answering interview questions with a friend.

  • Find out about the employer. Check if the employer/organisation has a website – this often has background information lets you find out more about what the employer or organisation does.
  • Use this knowledge to prepare some questions that you can ask the employer at the end of your interview.
  • Identify skills that may be needed in the job, then think of examples of when you have used these skills. What did you do and what was the outcome?
  • Be ready to highlight your skills and what you can do for the company.
  • Find out in advance where the interview will be held. Then you can plan your journey.

Tips for the interview

  • Be positive and friendly. The employer wants to find out if you will fit in with the organisation.
  • Show your knowledge of the employer’s business.

Where can I get help with interviews?

  • In New Zealand, you are entitled to take a family member or friend along to a job interview for support.
  • If you would like to learn more about job interviewing and practice your skills, there are a variety of community organisations that can help you.
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