What to do when you’ve got THE interview

That very first job interview can be daunting. We asked CQUni alumni participants of the 30 Minutes a Month program to give us their best piece of advice when it comes to preparing for the big day.

Looking for a job? CQUni Careers provides a wide range of careers and employment services for students to find the right career path.

Know the ethos of the organisation

Do your homework… Consume as much information about the organisation, the role, and the work environment as you can. Educate yourself on the organisation you are hoping to enter so you can target your interview pitch where you think you will provide value to the organisation.

– Christopher Burgess (Master of Project Management, 2019)

Have a look for the people that work in the company on LinkedIn and gather information about the person that is conducting the interview. Usually, you receive an email with the name of the person that will conduct the interview, so it can be useful to do professional research on that person.

– Daniela Galofre (Master of Human Resource Management, 2016)

‘Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. Don’t try and wing it.’

Interviews often test your knowledge, not only related to the position you are applying for but also the company you want to work with. Learn the company’s values, beliefs and ethos. Understand your role’s governing documents. Be prepared!

– Levan Lomidze (Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, 2019)

For introverts, interviews can be extremely difficult, while extroverts love them. Either way, they are a part of the job seeking process that can be managed well, if you know how to approach them!

If given a day or two to prepare for the interview itself, ensure that you dedicate time to studying the company website – specifically for their values and history. This process can ease your mind mid-interview if a company-values-themed question is raised, and it shows that you have an interest in the position that you have applied for.

– Daniel Griffin (Bachelor of Digital Media, 2018)

Not sure what kind of organisation suits your career goals? Make an appointment to speak with a Career Specialist via CQUni CareerHub to find your direction.

Organisation is key

Do a practice drive! Make sure you know where the interview will be taking place, where you can easily get a park and how long it will take you to get there – then add an extra 20 minutes to your time. Don’t go in 20 minutes earlier than you should but be in the area and ready to roll.

– Angela Lawson (Bachelor of Laws, 2020)

Check the time of the interview, the exact address and the person’s name who you need to ask for at the front desk. Ensure you arrive at least 10 minutes early.

– Bronwyn Turner (Master of Business Administration, 2019)

Make sure your resume is in order, reads well without any grammatical errors. One thing I see quite often is candidates list their experience from oldest to newest. Often the interviewer is reading a number of resumes quickly and at first glance it can suggest that you may have not worked or had experience for some years so always start with you most recent position.

– Guy McEntyre (Bachelor of Laws, 2019)

Consider what questions you might be asked and make notes on how you might respond to those. It can be helpful to have a list of questions that you have been asked in other interviews to refer to.

– Luke Giles (Bachelor of Health Promotion, 2010)

Be sure you have relevant experience – this doesn’t necessarily mean previous work in a similar role. It could be part time work in retail or on a farm. Refer to the relevant skills you would have developed from that experience for example, working as part of a team, taking instructions, and working with customers.

– Jessica Dennien (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Diploma of Professional Practice (Co-op Engineering), 2015)

Want extra preparation for that first interview? Have a resume critique or mock interview with a CQUniversity alumnus via CQUni Career Connection.

Make the most of the day

Eat a good breakfast. Our brains are wired for happy and positive thinking, so we turn to foods to seek the positive feelings they bring energy.

‘Eating a good breakfast can help have the brain in the right mind, allowing to focus and answer the right questions.’

– Christopher Tuffield (Bachelor of Business Administration, 2004)

Prepare your outfit, ensure it all matches, shoes are clean, and clothes are wrinkle free. Appearance is pretty important; you have to look the part to get the part.

– Fiona Bazeley (Bachelor of Environmental Science, 2019)

Breathe and don’t overthink the process. Ensure you are dressed well (brushed teeth and hair!). I find that when I am more excited for the interview compared to nervous; the better I tend to do and the more likely I am to get the job.

– Talia Fiyen (Bachelor of Psychological Science, 2019)

Stick to a ‘normal routine’ as much as possible. Do your usual self-care or try incorporating a healthy breakfast, exercise, and mindfulness into your daily routine beforehand

– Sharon Malliband (Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), 2016)

Relax, take a deep breath and be yourself. Do your research and get the facts about your potential new employer. You should be well prepared to compete against several other applicants.

‘Sometimes there are one or two other applicants, sometimes there are 80 or even more.’

You’ve got to put some effort in if you really want that position, but don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out as you hoped for. There is always another opportunity, maybe an even better one.

– Stefan Holweg (Bachelor of Public Health, 2019)

The CQUni Careers team can make sure you’re on track in preparation for applying for that dream job. They offer resume, covering letter, and/or selection criteria reviews.

Want to give your advice to incoming students? Alumni can sign up to the 30 Minutes a Month program and complete monthly tasks to earn rewards while assisting future students in preparing for the learning journey ahead.

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