Connecting people and work

Interview Preparation

Shine in your interview

We understand that interviews can be nerve-racking here are some tips and advice on how to bring out the best side of you and shine in your interview.

Walking into an interview unprepared is never a good idea. To help you for the daunting interview stage, we at ASTAR Recruitment have provided you with some of our top job interview tips to help place you in that shortlist of potential candidates.

Interview Guide

It is important to remember that you can never be too prepared for an interview!

  • Do Your Homework.
  • Know the content in your resume.
  • Research the company you are going to the interview for.
  • Write down answers to commonly asked interview questions.
  • Prepare The Questions That You Want To Ask In The Interview.

Questions

Researching the company beforehand helps you to prepare intelligent questions that you may ask in the interview. By asking questions, you can learn more about the company and the position that you applied for. Here are a few questions that you can prepare responses for.

  • Is this a new position in your company, or are you replacing someone that used to be in this position?
  • If I were successful, who would I report to?
  • Can you explain the organisational structure?
  • Can you explain the organisational structure?
  • What attributes would you hope a successful candidate will bring to the position?
  • Think of your strengths and what you could bring to the company

During an interview, you must demonstrate how you can be an asset to the company. Based on the research you do of the company, you can decide how you would like to present your strengths to the interviewer.

Avoid using ambiguous terms and clichés. For example, if the job criteria asks about your communication skills instead of saying, ‘I get along with everyone’ say something that is more measurable.

This could be ‘By visiting the Finance Department regularly and exchanging ideas, we were able to work together. This resulted in saving the company thousands of dollars per quarter’.

Prepare Answers To Difficult Questions

Be equipped

In addition to asking questions, you need to prepare yourself to answer the difficult questions they may ask you. You can not predict every question that you will be asked during the interview, but by preparing answers to the most common questions you will be better equipped for the interview.

Please refer to the ‘commonly asked job interview questions’ section.

Practise Out Loud

Record yourself to review 

Start this process by writing a few notes on how you want to introduce yourself, what you want to ask the interviewer and what you would answer to common questions the interviewer may ask you.

When talking out loud, you can even record yourself to review what you said and modify it where necessary.

Additional Tips

What sets you apart from the other candidates

  • Ask the interviewer to provide you with a detailed position description and the organisational structure of the position.
  • Research the company on the internet.
  • Understand the company’s products and services, as well as their size, locations and growth potential.
  • Plan your travel, make sure you know where you are going and always be on time (even if you are 10 minutes early). It is important to know the exact place and time of the interview, the interviewer’s full name and the correct pronunciation.
  • Dress appropriately, make sure your dress and grooming are impeccable.
  • Refresh your memory on the details of your past and present employers and your work history for each. You will be expected to know a lot about the company you previously worked for.
  • Describe your most important achievements.

Be prepared to communication why the role appeals to you, why you should be considered for the role and what sets you apart from the other candidates.

Interview Preparation Checklist

Eliminate the stress of the interview day

It is normal to feel nervous the day before the interview. That is why it is helpful to prepare with the checklist provided below. This checklist can help you make sure that you have all things covered. By following this list, it will help you eliminate the stress of the interview day.

Choose your Outfit

Planning your outfit the day before your interview helps alleviate any stress that may occur on the morning of your interview. It leaves a great impression if your shoes are polished, you have stockings that do not have a ladder and that your outfit is wrinkle and stain free.

Pack Your Bag

Pack your bag with all the vital items you may need. That is, a copy of your resume and portfolio if necessary, mints, an interview cheat sheet, a phone charger, extra stockings, your wallet with an ID and any relevant tickets and deodorant to name a few.

Interview Location

Write down the interview location and contact details as a quick reference. If unsure where the interview is located, it is wise to search on the internet the day before to find out how you will get there.

Getting There

Google maps can be a life saver! Whether you are travelling by car, bus or train, it is wise to look up the company office details and plan how long you will need to travel there. That way, you can ensure that you will arrive on time for your interview. It is also wise to search for parking options.

Review Questions

If you have planned answers to possible questions that the interviewer may ask as well as questions that you wish to ask the interviewer, it is good to review these answers before the interview.

Company Research

Make sure you know the names of the individual(s) that will be interviewing you and what their title is in the company. If unsure, look at their LinkedIn profile!

Plan Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Always consider what you will be having for breakfast and/or lunch, depending on what time of day the interview is scheduled.

Set An Alarm

It won’t hurt to have an extra reminder!

Common Interview Questions

Guide to help you answer 5 of the most common interview questions.

At ASTAR Recruitment, we want to help you through the nerves of an interview. Often nerves can get the better of you, so we have created a guide to help you answer 5 of the most common interview questions. These are:

  • To answer this question, focus on the match between your skills and experience to that of the company and position you are applying for
  • Honestly is the best policy. So be honest and upfront about your motivations and explain why you are passionate about the role. This will help you impress the interview rather than simply trying to tell them what you think they want to hear.
  • Show that you have researched the company thoroughly and have good reasons for your motivation to work there.
  • For example: ‘I am excited about the possibilities of future success and growth in the company, and I want to assist in that growth’.
  • Refer to the specific requirements of the role, emphasis what you can offer your potential employer rather than what they can do for you.
  • Set yourself apart from the rest. Choose two of your most unique qualities and use them as influential reasons to employ you.
  • For example: ‘This job is perfectly matched to my main abilities. I really feel like your company is the ideal fit for my interest, qualifications and passions’.
  • There is no point in reeling off a list of strengths that are not relevant to the actual role in question. Think about the types of skills your potential employer is looking for from the job advertisement and then select your list of strengths. This will illustrate to the employer how you are the ideal candidate.
  • Elaborate on your named strengths and demonstrate how they are useful in action by using real examples from your experience. Make sure you highlight the actual benefits of each strength in ways that are relevant to the job you applied for.
  • Example: ‘I am organised, efficient and take great pride in doing the best work possible, exceeding all expectations…’.
  • This is a tricky question, however your best tactic is to not state weaknesses that will greatly impact your ability to do the job. Rather present some minor weaknesses.
  • Alternatively, mention areas that you were once slightly weaker in, but you have successfully been working on improving.
  • You could also mention tasks that you know are part of the role that you are applying for which you may want or require some further training or support on. This may include for example, a software program.
  • With any weakness that you mention, emphasise your awareness, willingness and efforts to improve.
  • For example, ‘I know that public speaking is the number one phobia for most people, and I’d say that is the main area that I would like to work on. Especially now as I know that it is part of the job description for this role’.
  • Whatever your reason for leaving your last job, resist the urge to bad mouth your previous employer as it can appear unprofessional and disloyal.
  • Focus on the future and ensure that you sound positive and optimistic as you elaborate on you chosen career goals.
  • Example 1: ‘I found myself ‘stuck’ and decided that I need new challenges that weren’t readily available in my previous role’.
  • Example 2: ‘I am interested in a position with greater responsibility and feel that a role like this would provide that kind of opportunity for me’.

Questions to Practice With

Prepare answers to these common questions and be super ready for your interview. 

  • About Yourself
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Team Skills
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Organisational Skills
  • Decision Making Skills
  • Flexibility/ Adaptibity
  • Influencing Skills
  • Initiative
  • Leadership Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Management Skills
  • Personal Drive/ Resilience
  • Integrity/ Ethics

What To Wear – A Guide To Dress For Success

A Guide to Dress for Success

If you read clothing guides on what to wear to a job interview, you will most likely be told to wear a suit/skirt for the best chance of interview success.

However, it is as simple as that. Progressively more and more employers are allowing casual dress – especially in the creative industries. Yet in saying that, you would not want to turn up for an interview dressed in a t-shirt and runners (no matter how casual the dress code is).

To add to the confusion further, dress codes are often cultural. They shift with the seasons and change over time. Therefore, the best way you can resolve your interview attire dilemma is to simply ask the interviewer beforehand.

Email or call the employer’s HR manager before your interview and ask them about the appropriate dress code for the interview. It is a simple strategy and can help you avoid overdressing or under-dressing and will do wonders for your confidence going right into the interview.

You may also wish to do some company research on LinkedIn or Facebook. Check out the employer profiles and office photos to see how they dress and present themselves.

What to Wear to an Interview

ASTAR Recruitment has prepared 8 key points to help you decide what to wear to a job interview. Please note that this is a guide only.

  1. Interview preparation should include getting your interview attire laid out and ready the night before. Make sure everything is clean and ironed as ti will make you look professional.
  2. Wear colours that suit you and choose breathable fabrics that will keep you cool and dry.
  3. For women, avoid clothes that are too revealing and keep heels at a sensible height.
  4. Avoid shoes that squeak, overly patterned outfits and shiny suits
  5. It is about more than your clothes. Make sure that you are well groomed overall, with fresh breath, clean hair and fingernails.
  6. Avoid covering yourself in perfume or aftershave. Less is more in this department!
  7. Bear in mind that flashy jewelry can be distracting.
  8. Express yourself and be you! Especially if the role is partly about who you are as a ‘brand’. Avoid clothing styles that are too ‘out there’ as they could distract, alienate or confuse your employer.

References/ Referees

Well done you’ve been shortlist

Always get consent from your referee’s before listing them on your resume. Your referees would generally only be contacted if your application progresses and you are placed on a shortlist.

If you prefer, you can leave this section blank on your resume and state, ‘Reference available upon request’.

Alternatively, if you are asked to include references on your resume or application, include former managers or people in position of responsibility. Provide their:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers

Extra Bits

Stand out from the rest

Extra information can be included in your resume if they help reinforce your application. These are not necessary, but if applicable they may be useful to demonstrate your suitability to the role advertised. These include:

  • Affiliations and Memberships with Professional Entities
  • Licences and Accreditations
  • Ability to speak a foreign language.
  • Publications
  • Interests

Resume Templates

Writing a resume from scratch can be quite daunting so ASTAR Recruitment wanted to help you.

Use the tips from the resume writing tips section and apply them to the free templates below to write your best resume and stand out from the crowd.

Resume Don’ts

What to leave out

At ASTAR Recruitment, we believe that it is just as important what you decide to leave out of your resume, as what you decide put in. Below is a list of things that should never be included in your resume.

A bad photo is never good

Adding a photo of yourself on your resume is entirely your choice, however when you decide which photo to add make sure it is good.

  • High resolution
  • Professional looking and current
  • Presentable
  • This photo can be used on your LinkedIn profile as well

Never include a grainy image from your last holiday or from a night out. It will not leave a great impression on your prospective employer.

A current work number or email address

If you are sending out your resume to potential employers, ensure that you create a professional sounding email address.

Do not list your current company email address or your office number as it may create issues if anyone in your current workplace grasps that you are applying for a different job.

Never be negative

Your resume is a marketing document that demonstrates your skills in a positive way. That means, that you must stay positive.

Never mention anything in your resume that is unpleasant. Even if you had a difficult manager, you should never write their name down on your resume. In saying that, if you get further along the interview process and are shortlisted for the position, you can briefly explain to the interviewer why you will not be providing a reference for your last manager.

Leave out the unnecessary details

Irrelevant job experiences can be left out of your resume as it may distract from your more relevant recent employment history.

Your resume should market yourself and your experiences based on the job that you are applying for.

Attempt to be clear, concise and current.

Career objectives

Your career objective is generally indicated by the fact that you applied for the job, so it is unnecessary to include it in your resume.

In saying that however, you may wish to add a brief personal statement for the reader to give them a better idea of your interests, passions and goals for the future.