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Westpac Group

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  • #5 in Banking & financial services
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Westpac Student Application Survival: Interview guide

Preparing for an interview will allow you to shape your responses, prepare relevant questions you want answering and generally help you feel confident in making a positive impression.

1. What is the purpose of an interview?

For Candidates, an interview is an opportunity to determine if a role clearly aligns with your interests and career goals. This is also the perfect time to showcase your personality, skills and abilities to the Hiring Manager. For Hiring Managers, an interview is a platform to ensure you personality and experience aligns with that of the team, as well as determining your motivation for the role.

TOP TIPS

  • Interviews should be approached as a conversation, not an interrogation. It is your chance to ‘interview’ the Hiring Manager to make sure the role would be the right fit for you.
  • You will give yourself the best chance by preparing - don’t think you can ‘wing it’!

2. Preparation guide

Preparing for an interview will allow you to shape your responses, prepare relevant questions you want answering and generally help you feel confident in making a positive impression.

RESEARCH

  • Ensure to read the organisation’s website and familiarise yourself with the company vision, values and strategy.
  • Keep up to date with the organisation’s presence in the news and on social media platforms. • Research the particular business area you’re interested in, and how it contributes to organisational strategy.

BRAINSTORM

  • It’s important to determine why you want to work at the organisation for that particular business area.
  • Anticipate the type of questions you’ll be asked and plan responses by aligning your skills and experiences linked to the role requirements

PRACTICE

  • It’s important to practice articulating your responses to enhance your confidence. Conduct ‘mock interviews’ with colleagues, family or friends and have them assess your body language and response structure.

TOP TIP

  • Don’t ‘over-rehearse’ responses. An interview should be an authentic conversation, not a presentation of pre-planned answers!

3. Pre-Empting Interview Questions

When preparing for your interview, be proactive and think about the types of questions you could be asked.

4. The ‘STAR’ technique

Whilst there are many types of interview styles, most interviewers are conducted using a ‘behavioural based’ format: these tend to start with ‘tell me about a time when’. These questions are a great tool for Hiring Managers to understand your approach to problem-solving, but also a fantastic way for you to structure your examples. The key to a good answer is context, clarity, relevance and highlighting your contributions: using the STAR Technique is an excellent way to structure your responses and provide a competent, detailed response. It goes like this –

5. Dealing with Curve-Ball Questions

Not all questions may adhere to a standard interview format, and you may encounter situations where a curve-ball question comes your way. Do Not Panic! If this happens, consider these three steps to regain balance:

  • Ask for a repeat of the question.
  • Ask clarifying questions, or ask the interviewer to offer some context
  • Take your time! There’s no need to ramble – you will only distract yourself.
  • Back yourself! Remember – you wouldn’t be there unless you were a genuine contender. Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts and then proceed with your response.

6. Interview etiquette

You now know what to expect, you are fully prepared and ready for the interview! Here are some worthy considerations to set yourself up for success and showcase your best self.

  • A good first impression is crucial, so ensure to be fully rested and professionally dressed on the day.
  • Be on time! Research the location and prepare to arrive ahead of your allocated time with the interviewer.
  • Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake.
  • During the interview, maintain regular eye contact and maintain a friendly, sincere and approachable tone – this goes a long way in establishing a rapport.
  • Ensure to express interest in the business unit and emphasize your motivation in wanting to join the organisation.
  • Be genuine – authenticity goes a long way!
  • Try and contextualise each of your responses with relevant examples that showcase your skills and experience.
  • Make sure to ask questions that reflect preparation and logical thinking. • Please remember to thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to meet with them.

7. How to Close an Interview

The last few minutes of an interview are extremely important. The better you prepare for closing an interview, the more you will stand out as a confident and professional candidate. Ensure you leave a lasting impression by considering the following:

  • Asking questions that show you’ve done your research, show you’ve been listening through the interview and show that you’re genuinely interested in the role.
  • Without going overboard, take the opportunity to remind your interviewer what you have to offer, and bring the conversation back to your strengths. You want to remind them about what you’ve already mentioned throughout the process – so they’ll go away thinking about the good points.
  • Always end on a polite and positive note. Everyone likes to be treated with courtesy, so this kind of etiquette goes a long way!

8. Example Questions to ask

  • Can you describe a typical day in this role please?
  • Who is the main customer, and how does the team contribute to them?
  • What can I expect from the first 3 months in the role?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a team member?
  • How is this job important to the team – how does it contribute?
  • What are the business unit goals and priorities for this year?
  • What does career progression look like in this position?
  • What does success look like in the role?

To learn more on this watch this video.