Acing an interview as a first-timer

by Sep 20, 2019

Eek! You’ve been called in for a job interview and it’s your FIRST TIME! First off, congratulations this is very exciting news. Secondly, don’t worry – we’ve all had that pre-interview nervous feeling where your stomach drops to your feet, totally normal.

There are some Holy Grail pieces of interview insight you’ll need to help you smash this interview, and we’re breaking them down for you. Plus, our very own Sarah Graham, who runs the Peer Network at UTS, has given the blog the inside scoop on how you can ace a Peer Network interview – bonus!

Holy Grail interview tips

Research is key

Just because a recruiter has liked your application on paper, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook just yet. The interview is your opportunity to show them the why; why you want to work there, why you should, and why you specifically are the best person for the job.

This means having a clear understanding of the business you’re applying for, what they’re looking for in a candidate (and some idea of why), and what issues or topics are currently important to them. So, in the lead up to the interview spend some time reading through their website, social media, LinkedIn profile, their blog (if they have one), and doing a search of the news for whether they’ve made any recent press releases or there’s been any articles written about them.

Practice your answers

While you may lack the ability to predict the future, there are some questions that are almost always in an interview and you should have your answers down pat.

Google ‘common interview questions’ and have a go at preparing answers to what comes up, making sure to use specific examples from previous jobs, uni, school, hobbies, or extracurricular activities where you displayed the skill or ability they’re asking you about. Remember, you need to relate back to the selection criteria, and break your answer down using the STAR method (breaking down the situation; outlining your task in that scenario; describe what action you took to solve the issue, including the relevant skills and experience you drew on; discuss what resulted from your action).  

Be prepared on the day

The day of the interview is make or break. You can do all the practice questions and company research you want but if you’re late to the interview, dressed inappropriately or turn up to the wrong building.

The day before, plan how you’re going to get there (including rainy day options), as well as what you’re going to wear. Even if it’s a small time retail job, dressing professionally is key. Make sure your clothing is clean, ironed, not too revealing or tight, and you can sit comfortably in it.

Map out where the interview is, set up a Google Maps alert for when you need to leave, and get a good night’s sleep the night before.

Case Study: How to ace the Peer Network interview from Sarah Graham

So you have completed the Peer Network application process and been offered an interview! But how should you prepare, especially if you have never attended an interview before?

Here are the steps you can take to increase your chances of getting in to the Peer Network:

  1. Don’t be late: Make sure you register for an available interview session before the closing date, and be at least 15 minutes early! You may want to find the room the day before.
  2. The interviews are formal in nature, so arrive professionally dressed and prepared to answer questions about your skills, qualities, experience and knowledge of the Peer Network.
  3. You might wish to prepare yourself for the interview by doing some research at:

You will need to demonstrate you understand what we do, why we do it, and that you are able to do it alongside us!  


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Sarah Graham

By Sarah Graham

Community Coordinator

Sarah Graham is the Community Coordinator at UTS Careers, and loves how her role with the Peer Network allows her to cry-laugh while swapping hilarious travel stories with people from all over the world.