Your interview

An interview is needed for all employment decisions in the NSW Public Service. An interview will evaluate your suitability to perform the role you have applied for. This conversation provides an important opportunity for you to discuss your relevant work experience and ask any questions you might have about the job and the organisation.

The NSW Public Service Commission outlines the different types of interview formats a hiring manager might use when recruiting a candidate. While the interview format depends on the recruitment circumstances, a common format is the panel interview, in which two or three assessors will ask each candidate a standard set of questions. Generally, the hiring manager for the position will be part of this panel.

If you are invited to interview for a position, you will usually be provided with the names and positions of the person/people who will interview you, the interview’s format and expected duration, and a date and time.

What should I do to prepare?

The interview is an opportunity to discuss how your skills and experience suit the position. Adequate preparation can help calm your nerves on the day and ensure you provide clear, concise and authentic answers.

  • Read over the position description again to make sure you understand the role’s key accountabilities.
  • Use the Capability Definition Tool to generate sample interview questions. You can use these to practice your answers relating to the role’s focus capabilities and your skills and experience.
  • Research the agency or organisation you’re interviewing with. While you don’t need to know everything about them, it’s a good idea to have a working understanding of the organisation’s purpose and function.
  • Decide on your mode of travel in advance (e.g. car, public transport) and allow plenty of time to get there.
  • Bring a copy of your resume, cover letter and the targeted questions you answered during your application. Make sure you are familiar with their content, as the interviewer/s may refer to them during the interview.

During the interview, it’s likely you will be asked behavioural questions. These questions require you to share examples of specific situations from your prior work experience e.g. Tell us about a time when you had to analyse information and make a recommendation. What kind of thought process did you go through? Was the recommendation accepted?

It’s a good idea to use the STAR method to answer these questions. If you don’t understand a question being asked – ask the interviewer to repeat it.

Successful candidates are enthusiastic candidates. Your interpersonal skills are important. During the interview, pay attention to your non-verbal communication (smiling, nodding, maintaining eye contact), and avoid unnecessary interruptions by turning off your phone.