Job Hunting Tips

Essential Interview Tips for Landing Your First Job in Australia

Posted by John
min read

From someone who moved to Australia to study, finished her bachelor degree and then decided to stay and find a job in Australia, I can tell you it isn't easy. Not only did I lack connections to get started, but also having to compete with thousands of other graduates to get a job post-studying was pretty daunting. When you finally land yourself a job interview, before you do your victory dance, there are a few things that you need to prepare if you want to score your first full time job and stay in Australia. Here are some tips that will help you get started:

Before the interview: preparation

1. Research, research, research. Find out as much information as you can about the company, such as who they are, when they were launched, and what their vision, mission and values as a company are. Did they get any awards from their industry? Or are there any specific charities that they support? Highlighting these in the interview will make you stand out from other candidates, as it indicates that you want to know more about the company that you are potentially going to work for and that you're not just in it for the money. 

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Prepare your answers to the ten most common questions that every interviewer asks. Google is your best friend. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you prepare answers to common interview questions, such as 'Tell me about yourself.' Please note, the interviewer here is not looking for answers such as what you like to do on the weekend or when you got your first tattoo.Also highlight your achievements as much as you can in your previous or current employment as this shows that you are going the extra mile when you are at work and this is what every employer wants. 

3. Practice in front of a friend, relative or a mirror. Once you are well prepared for your interview, the final step is to have a friend, a family member or a relative practice the interview with you. This way, they can give you tips when you start to stutter or get slightly off track. Then you can use these tips to improve yourself before the interview. If you are like me and are more comfortable rehearsing in front of a mirror, then I would recommend you pay attention to the way you speak and how you come across in the interview, so you can change some aspects that you don't like.

During the interview: take a deep breath, don’t be nervous.

Now you are a step closer to getting that job. Relax, take a deep breath, and don't be nervous, as otherwise you might forget certain points that you want to highlight during the interview. I've had my mind go completely blank a couple of times. The more you have practiced, the less nervous you will be in the interview, because you are already well prepared with what to say next, and you know exactly when it's time to move to the next point. 1. Pay attention to your body language. According to Bloomberg, Only a small percentage of communication involves actual words: 7%, to be exact. In fact, 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice). (Source) With that being said, let's go through each point and understand why they are important:

Make regular eye contact with your interviewer. This will indicate that you are a confident speaker and what you said can be trusted. In some cultures, making and maintaining eye contact is not as important during interaction; however, to get a job in Australia and to leave your interviewer with a good impression, eye contact is especially important.

Speak with a steady, calm voice, and do not rush. If English is not your first language like me, I would suggest that you speak slower and pronounce every word clearly. If you have an accent, this is fine as long as people can still understand you. To check, try and pause every now and then after you speak to see if people are still following you.

Have open body language. Do not cross your arms during the interview, as this indicates that you're not comfortable with yourself or you aren't confident. Instead, put your arms on the table. Feel free to use your hands to express or illustrate your point, but do not overdo it. You are not trying to win a place on a sitcom here!

2. Thank the interviewer for their time and shake their hand. When the interview has finally concluded, thank the interviewer for their time, and shake their hand before you leave. Ask for the next step in the process, as there potentially could be a couple more interviews after this initial one, where you will be meeting different people in the company. And get their business card if you haven't already been given it at the start of the interview. You could also mention that you will follow up with them with a thank you note.

After the interview

You are relieved that the interview is finally over, but your work here is not done yet. Write a thank you note to your interviewer within 24 hours of having the interview to leave a good impression. To start off, I would suggest using one of the thank you letter templates that is available for free online, and make sure that you edit the template, so your interviewer will know that you've put a bit more thought and effort into getting this job. You can mention your skills and achievements again in the letter to recap what you had said during the interview. If you do this final step, it usually will separate you from the other good candidates, and it will leave the interviewer with a stronger impression. Good luck in your interview, and happy job hunting! Visit Beatrix's blog, Local Culture Guide, for more of her tips and posts.