Preparing for an interview
Do your research. Find out as much as you can about Monash and the job field. This research can be general, such as our achievements or rankings, or more specific like trends in your field. Referencing this information in an interview highlights your understanding of the strategic direction of the organisation. It will also help you communicate how your role fits into the University’s strategy and direction.
Note the knowledge and professional behaviours that are relevant to the job, and recall recent examples of how you’ve used these skills in your area. Review the key selection criteria, as the selection panel will focus on these.
Think about significant events or achievements in your life and how you’ve learnt from them. You should also be able to communicate how these experiences relate to the key selection criteria.
Tips for the interview
- Be authentic, enthusiastic and passionate – it is appealing to the selection panel to see an engaged candidate, as this could be a new chapter in your professional life.
- Prepare to demonstrate your abilities without hesitation and with clear examples as to why you are the most suitable candidate.
- Prepare to talk about why you are the right person for the job.
- Confirm the time and date of the interview, and make a note in your calendar. First impressions are vital – the last thing you want is to be late, so plan to be early.
- Make sure you know which campus/building you need to go to, as well as specific directions and parking/public transport information (refer to Monash University website for individual campus maps).
- Note the name of the interviewer/s and address them by name when you first meet.
- Dress the part – suffice to say, no denim or thongs, you should dress to suit the role and look professional. The way you present yourself reflects commitment to the selection process.
- If you’re asked to bring identification or qualifications, it’s a good idea to pack them the night before.
- Turn off your phone.
Non-verbals, like body language and tone of voice
- A solid handshake is essential – it denotes confidence.
- Keep eye contact with the interviewer, and if there’s more than one, move your glance between them.
- Be aware of your body language – do not shift in your seat or fidget.
- Sit up straight and be mindful of your posture.
- Pronounce your words clearly, and in an audible voice and tone.
- Be mindful that crossed arms and legs can denote defensiveness.
- Be authentic. Your facial expressions will highlight your degree of interest and involvement in the situation – they are a mirror of your emotions.
How should I respond to interview questions?
- With honesty – just tell your story – nobody knows your background as well as you do.
- Reference experiences that have happened recently (usually no more than the last 18 – 24 months).
- Choose examples where you had a positive impact – it is helpful to talk about team activity but the interviewer will want to know how you contributed.
- Talk about the situation, the background, the steps you took and the outcome (STAR: situation, task, action, result).
- Be prepared for questions – the interviewer is likely to want to know more.
- If you can’t think of a work-related example, check with the interviewer about using a personal experience, like a sporting achievement.
- Don’t make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers; be professional at all times
- Avoid yes or no closed responses.
- It is fine to pause if you need to gather your thoughts.
- Don't be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question.
At the end of the interview, take the opportunity to ask questions and concentrate on issues that are important to you.
Helpful topics to discuss are:
- management styles
- objectives and responsibilities of the position, such as expected achievements in the first year.
- day-to-day responsibilities. For example, “What is an average day in the role of a Research Assistant like?”
Finally, be sure to thank the interviewers for their time and for the opportunity. You might also like to send a thank you email to follow up – it adds to the message that you are a professional person.
Types of interview questions
It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for different types of interview questions because regardless of the type of interview, you’ll most likely experience a range of questions.
Here is a brief overview:
These are the ‘icebreaker’ questions – they will help ease you into the interview, and they are an opportunity for the selection committee to connect with you a little more. They are also a great way for you to showcase your communication skills from the start.
Example: “Tell us about your recent role and your achievements?”
These are questions to understand technical skills that are specific to the requirements of the role.
Example: “Tell us about where you have been successful in using Recruitment Management Systems and where you have delivered a Management System?”
These questions place you in a hypothetical situation, where you’re given a scenario and asked how you would respond to it. It can be a way of gauging your problem solving skills.
Example: “Describe how you would handle a situation where you present a new idea or policy to your team and you’re met with resistance?”
These questions are designed to explore your preferred work environment and potentially your drive and motivation.
Example: “Tell us about what motivates you at work?”
These questions explore your previous experiences in workplace-based situations. They might also explore how you’d resolve a workplace problem by presenting you with a situation that you’re likely to face in the new role.
Example: “A collaborative approach is a key requirement of the position. Describe a time where you have worked collaboratively with a colleague to achieve a goal.”
You can expect to be guided by your interviewer/s on when to elaborate or provide further information, but the best guide to answering a behavioural question is by following this method: Give a brief outline of the situation, talk through the key steps you took to resolve/manage it, and summarise the outcome.