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How to prepare for your government job interview

There are a few things you can do before your government job interview to ensure that things go smoothly. Preparing ahead of time will also mean you’ll enter the job interview feeling much calmer and confident.

Review your resume

The first thing to do is to review your resume. It is an outline of your career so far and is a potential basis for questions in the interview. Be prepared to provide details and expand upon the key points. Try to map out some potential interview questions using the STAR format—this is the format preferred by most government organisations.

Do your research

Do your research on the role in question. In particular, find the answers to the following questions:

  • Who will be on the interview panel?
  • What sort of organsation are they and what do they do?
  • What exactly will the job involve?
  • What sort of person do you think they want?
  • How can you best fit your skills to match the job?

Check out the relevant website

You’ll be able to find a lot of information on the website of the department or ministry where the job is based. This will tell you a lot about the work culture and expectations. (To check you’re looking at a government website, check to see if it the URL ends with .govt.nz ) The Statement of Intent and the Annual Report can be particularly useful. You should also be able to get a good idea of the structure of the department and the services it provides.

If you still aren’t certain about something before you enter the interview, ask your recruitment consultant! They’re a specialist in government jobs and they’ll be able to help you out with any concerns.

Make a good first impression

On the day, use a firm handshake, smile and direct eye contact. First impressions count. Try not to be nervous. Remember: the first thing they want to do is like you. Bring extra copies of your CV, letters of recommendation, references, performance evaluations, etc. Make sure your paperwork is organised and complete. Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview. These questions will always be dependent on the sort of job you are going for, so if possible ask questions that demonstrate that you have done the research on the role, and prove you have an interest and knowledge of government.