Preparing for interviews

Job interviews can be stressful but the better prepared you are for the interview, the better your chance of creating a good impression.

A job interview aims to further assess your skills and experience in relation to the position. Interviewers are also considering whether your values and style will be a good fit for the team or organisational culture. Practice and preparation are key as they will help you to perform better and feel more confident.

Before your interview:

  • Study the company website.
  • Re-read your application.
  • Review the most common interview questions.
  • Be prepared to talk about your key strengths and assets.
  • Review the selection criteria and ensure you can provide interesting examples to demonstrate the skills that are listed.
  • Prepare a couple of questions to ask at the end of the interview.

Example interview questions

  • Example behavioural questions

    1. Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
    2. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
    3. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
    4. Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritise your tasks.
    5. Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
    6. Tell me about a recent situation in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
    7. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
    8. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
    9. Give me an example of a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
    10. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
    11. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision.
    12. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
    13. Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation and had to demonstrate your coping skills.

  • Example general questions

    1. What have you learnt from some of the jobs you’ve held? Which did you enjoy most and why?
    2. What influenced you to study business or pursue a career in management?
    3. How do you spend your spare time? What are you involved in outside of work or study?
    4. Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
    5. What are your personal and professional goals?
    6. Why should we hire you?
    7. What interests you about this particular position? Why do you think you’d be good at it?
    8. Who has influenced your life so far?
    9. What are some of your achievements that you’re proud of?
    10. What are your three main qualities and strengths?
    11. What would you describe as your weaknesses or areas for development?

Inappropriate questions

According to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, job applicants cannot be discriminated against with regard to their race, physical, intellectual or psychological impairment, sex, marital status, parental status, or religious or political beliefs.

  • Example inappropriate interview questions

    • How old are you?
    • What is your date of birth?
    • Do you speak English at home?
    • How many sick days did you take last year?
    • Are you married?
    • Who cares for the children while you are working?
    • Are you gay?
    • Where were you born?

  • Responding to inappropriate questions

    If you are asked an inappropriate question you have a few options:

    • You can answer the question, but be aware that if you provide the information it could be held against you. While there are legal options to challenge this scenario, it is clearly not the preferred outcome for most people.
    • You can refuse to answer the question, or ask them to clarify how it is relevant to the job. However, you need to be as pleasant and professional as possible in the way that you do this.
    • You can interpret the question in the way that it was probably intended, and respond appropriately.

    For more information about anti-discrimination laws and employment, contact the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission.

    Example

    Q: "Who will look after your children?
    A: "I am able to meet the travel requirements and hours of work that have been outlined for this job"

    Q: "What country were you born in?"
    A: "I am a permanent resident of Australia therefore there are no restrictions on my ability to work for your organisation."

Practice before your interview

Interview Stream provides you with an online platform to practice and video record your responses to interview questions.

  • Using Interview Stream

    1. Create your account at Melbourne Careers Interview Stream (use your student email address only).
    2. Choose Conduct an Interview and select from the Created for me question samplers, or Custom to make up your own set of questions.
    3. Record your answers and play back to see yourself on film.

    Before you begin recording:

    • Read the User Guide from within the Resources section of the home page and check that your internet connection, webcam and audio are fit for purpose. Firefox or Safari and the most up to date Adobe Flash Player are recommended.
    • Watch some of Interview Steam's videos on their YouTube channel.
    • Read the Student Guide to Interviewing.

Types of interviews

Disability and disclosure

If you have a disability, the decision about whether or not to disclose it to a potential employer is not necessarily straightforward. You need to decide whether the disclosure of your disability supports your objective of obtaining employment. Disclosure may not be necessary unless your disability impacts on your work performance.

Support for currently enrolled students with disabilities is available via Student Equity and Disability Support at the University.