Job interview preparation and tips for success

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The job interview is probably the most important step you will take in your job seeking journey. It is your chance to make a great first impression and show a potential employer that you are the best person for the job.

Key points:

  • Preparation is key and will help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible
  • If you need adjustments or have access requirements, request these before your interview
  • Maintaining eye contact, smiling, good posture and a firm handshake will show confidence during an interview
  • Asking for feedback will help you with your next application or interview

Meeting and talking with a hiring manager or other team members will also give you an idea of whether the workplace is right for you.

Here are some job interview tips for before, during and after.

Before the interview

Investigate the location’s accessibility

What to look for will depend on your disability, but you will need to make sure you can easily get into the property and interview room. Things you might want to check include:

  • Is the building wheelchair accessible?
  • How far is the interview room from the carpark?
  • Do they have disabled parking spaces?
  • Is there an accessible bathroom?
  • Are guide dogs welcome?

The employer should let you know about all of these things ahead of the day, but if they don’t, make sure you ask.

If you need adjustments or access requirements to complete your job interview process, it’s best to request them beforehand.

Read more about requesting adjustments and sharing disability information during the recruitment process in our article, ‘Reasonable adjustments in the workplace‘.

Plan your route

Planning how you will get to the interview in advance will help reduce stress on the day. You can use apps like Google Maps to plan your route and, if you are driving or catching public transport, do a test run before the day.

If you need support to get to your interview, ask your support worker, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan manager or employment consultant about what assistance they can provide.

Do some research about the company and role

Knowing about the company before your interview can help you understand what the organisation does and the type of person they are looking for.

Some of the things you may want to research before heading into your interview include:

  • The company’s recent achievements and news
  • The company’s culture, mission, and values
  • The person interviewing you
  • Key people in the company
  • Whether the company has a workplace adjustment policy
  • The company’s policies and stance on accessibility and inclusion

Most of a company’s information can be found on their website or even on the job post. If you can’t find information that you would like to know about the organisation then you can add it to your list of questions to ask during the interview, or call and ask to speak to someone in their Human Resources department.

Prepare questions for the interviewer

Generally, at some point during the interview you will be given the opportunity to ask any question you may have. If there is anything you would like to know about the company or the role, this is the perfect time to ask them.

It’s best to prepare these questions before the interview and bring them with you so that you are prepared.

Some questions that you may want to ask a potential employer include:

  • How accessible are the office facilities (including entry, exit, parking and toilets)?
  • What are my expected working hours?
  • What is the sick and annual leave policy?
  • What would a day generally look like in this position?
  • What are the next steps after our interview?

Be prepared for what the interviewer may ask you

A job interview is your opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself and what you can bring to the role for the employer. Practising answering questions for a job interview with a friend, family member or support worker is a good way to prepare what you may say.

Common interview questions include:

  • Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
  • What work have you done in the past?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What can you bring to the company/position?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

During the interview

Be prepared to talk about your resume

The interviewer will likely ask questions about your past roles or experience. Be prepared to elaborate on what you have put on your resume.

Bring an extra print out of your resume if possible, as having a copy in front of you will stop you forgetting important points.

Of course, it goes without saying that everything on there must be truthful!

Read our ‘top resume and cover letter tips‘ article for more information.

Confidence is key

Here are a few ways to show confidence during a job interview:

  • Firm handshake: shows experience and confidence, and it gives the interviewer a good first impression
  • Maintain eye contact while listening and speaking: shows you are present and engaged in the conversation. Avoiding eye contact shows nervousness and a lack of confidence
  • Open body language: think about how you sit during an interview. Keep your arms open, by your sides or on the table. Crossing your arms or folding your hands can make you seem hesitant, closed off or worried
  • Talk slowly: take your time when answering questions. To stop yourself from rambling, try to answer each question by addressing one point at a time while speaking calmly and slowly. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to clarify the question if you’re not sure what they mean
  • Don’t forget to smile! Not only does smiling show confidence, it also shows you’re relaxed and happy to be there. It’s okay to feel a bit nervous in a conversation, but try to avoid clenching your jaw, wrinkling your face or looking anxious
  • Dress to impress! It’s always better to overdress than underdress. Consider business attire

Not sure whether to disclose or share information about your disability during an interview? Read our article, ‘share details about your disability at work during job search‘.

After the interview

If you’re successful, congratulations! If you’re not offered this job, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback or talk about the process with someone whose opinion you value.

Even an unsuccessful application process will teach you valuable lessons about what you can do even better the next time around.

How do you prepare for job interviews? Share your tips in the comments below.

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If and when to share disability information at work and during your job search
Reasonable workplace adjustments