Performing well in interviews

Two people in an office looking at papersInterviews allow employers to meet you in person and find out more about how you can do the job. You may be interviewed by just one person or several people at the same time. Remember, it is also your chance to meet the employer and find out more about them.

Being a bit nervous at an interview is perfectly normal. Employers often expect job applicants to be nervous. In fact, some employers consider this to be a sign that you are keen to win the job. You may even choose to tell your potential employer that you’re feeling nervous. Doing so may actually help calm you down.

Some other interview tips to consider

  • When arriving at an interview, introduce yourself
  • When you enter the interview room, shake hands with the person or people doing the interview
  • An interview starts from the first moment of contact. Be alert to what you’re saying during the ‘small talk’ (such as in the foyer or in the lift) that often happens before the interview questions begin
  • If you are not sure how to answer a question, take a moment to think about it (this shows you think things through and don’t panic under pressure)
  • If you are still unsure how to answer the question, ask the interviewer to explain or clarify it (this shows that you’re not afraid to ask questions to get things right)
  • Be confident in your responses. Avoid saying “I might…”' or “I guess…”
  • When the interview is over, thank the interviewers for their time and shake hands again.

Explaining gaps in employment history

It is not uncommon for people with disability to have periods of time when they were not employed. If you have gaps in your work history, you can respond to questions about these periods in a number of ways. If you were unable to work because of your disability, be honest about this, but be clear that you are capable of working now. Mention any study, volunteer work or other activities you did during these periods. Emphasise your eagerness to work now. Describe your future career goals and how the job fits into this path.

After the interview

Don’t be too negative about how you performed in the interview.

Each interview you attend builds confidence and gives you a chance to improve. Make some notes about what happened. Think about things you could do better next time. If you don't get the job, ask the person from the company for feedback. Ask if there were particular reasons why you didn’t get the job. This will help you prepare for future interviews.

And remember, if you miss out on one job, that employer could be still thinking of you for a different, more suitable position.

Some handy tips while you’re still looking for work

  • Keep notes or a diary of the jobs that you have interviewed for. Write down how you think you performed. You might be able to refer to these notes when interviewing for a similar job in the future
  • Keep a list of the organisations you have been to for interviews. Make sure you have a contact name for each organisation. You may wish to contact them again in the future.

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