Selection of staff ZAA 102 & 103

So you have looked at the position description of what you need for the organisation, you have advertised the position and now you are ready to interview. How do you come up with the interview questions? Please watch the following which will provide you with some tips on some of the generic interview questions that you could ask and also if you are the one preparing for an interview how you might answer them.

Job Interview Questions and Answers | 4:28 mins

If you are responsible for structuring an interview the following clip provides some tips on how to conduct a performance based interview.

In my previous role I chaired many interview panels, these consisted of anywhere between 2-4 people on the panel. I usually allowed around one hour for interviews depending on how many questions we had but generally speaking most interviews went for around forty-five minutes.

This then allowed the panel fifteen minutes before the next interview to discuss the applicant and how the panel felt the interview went, what strengths did the applicant have and were there any challenges the applicant would have fulfilling this position. Some interviews I have been involved in had a rating system but most did not, it is really up to each organisation how they run their interviews.

I provide the following as an example of how I went about structuring interviews, but please make your own judgments as to whether this would work for you or not.

  • As Chair I would go to reception to collect the applicant and direct them to the interview room.
  • I did this so that I could provide some small talk on the way to the interview room to try and gauge how the applicant was feeling. If they were nervous I tried to be chatty and ask a few questions to get them talking so they felt more at ease.
  • Introduction of the applicant to the panel
  • Once we arrived at the interview room, I would introduce the applicant to the other panel members and give them an understanding of the position the panel members held within the organisation and how that would interact with the position they were applying for.
  • Explanation of the interview process
  • I would then explain how the interview was structured, that we wanted it to be informal, that we were interested in the applicant’s responses and having a meaningful dialogue throughout the interview.
  • I would explain that there were a number of questions covering a range of topics we wished to ask and panel members would take it in turns to ask questions and the panel members would be taking notes during the interview.
  • I would explain that if they needed any explanation of a question or didn’t quite understand what we were asking just to let us know.
  • I would explain that the applicant would be given an opportunity at the end of the interview to ask any questions that weren’t covered off during the interview.
  • Explanation of the municipality
  • Due to the position being in Local Government I would give a brief rundown of the municipality, such as population size, key economic drivers etc.
  • Explanation of the position
  • I would explain the organisational structure and where this position fit into that structure.
  • Ask interview questions
  • I would always start with an easy question such as, what was your motivation for applying for this position. As I had been doing most of the talking up until this point, this sort of question eased them into the interview. At the conclusion of the interview I would ask the applicant if they had any questions of the panel.
  • Explanation of the process from here
  • I would explain when the interviewing process would be concluded and the time frame we would be making our decision within.
  • I would ask the applicant, if they were successful what would be their proposed start date.
  • I would thank the applicant and escort them to the nearest exit
  • I did this so that the applicant didn’t go back past the reception area where the next potential applicant would be waiting.

If however, you are the one undertaking an interview rather than being on the panel, in preparing for an interview the following clip will introduce STAR as a technique for how you can provide examples when being interviewed to ensure you make an impact. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Activity and Result.

Please watch the following clip which provides a light hearted look at Chandler preparing and participating in an interview. As you watch, start to think about what Chandler could have done to improve his interview.

Friends | Chandler’s Job Interview | 4.29 mins

Controlling your nerves in an interview can be difficult but here are some great tips to help.

Interview Tips | Calm Your Nerves | Stop at 3.00 mins

Making a job offer

When making a job offer make sure you have researched the industry standard for the position in regards to remuneration so that you have in your mind a range that can be negotiated with the successful applicant. Also be prepared for what a successful applicant may want to negotiate as part of their employment contract as I am sure they will have done their research as well. This can include things like relocation expenses, extra time off during the year, working from home, so be prepared to not only negotiate the salary but other components that may be more important to the successful applicant.

I have included the link to the 2017 Australian Salary Guide to give you an idea of what sort of information you can look at before making a job offer.

Now we look at the other side, as the successful applicant, you have just received the phone call that you got the job, now what do you do? Do you accept blindly whatever they are offering you or do you negotiate? Well essentially that will be up to you but if you want to negotiate then please watch the following video that can give you some tips on how to go about the negotiating conversation.

What is a contract of employment? According to the Australian Human Resource Institute, ‘An employment contract is a type of contract that gives rise to rights and obligations that are enforceable or recognized by law. As with any contract, the law requires certain conditions to be met before it will recognize an employment contract. This conditions are:

Employment Contract

  1. There must be an offer of employment which is accepted by the prospective employee;
  2. Each party must provide consideration in return for the obligations undertaken by the other party (sometimes known as mutuality of obligation)
  3. The parties must have intended to enter into a legal relationship; and
  4. The agreement must be certain and complete (for example, it is difficult for the law to recognize an employment contract where an essential term such as the rate of remuneration had not been agreed)’.

There are different types of employment contracts depending on whether applicants are full time, part time, casual, fixed term or flexible. This clip shows the different types of employment contracts in Australia.

Types of Employment Contracts in Australia | 1:56 mins

As an employment contract is a legal document it is always recommended that organisations have someone review the contract with the appropriate skills to make sure that is complies with employment law. Workplace responsibilities under Fair Work Australia will be covered in week 6.

In every employment contract there will also be a probationary period, a lot of organisations put three months but just a tip from my previous experience is that for any permanent continuing positions I always put in the employment contract a probationary period of six months. The reason for this was that I found three months sometimes wasn’t long enough to evaluate whether the new employee was suitable for the position. You need to allow yourself an out if things don’t work out. I have had both experiences where someone performed extremely well in an interview and then found when they were given the position they struggled to perform the requirements of the position. Then I have had people perform really well at interviews and it also translated to them being great at the position. So give yourself some breathing space and opt for six months.

However, if you are the one receiving an employment contract as the successful applicant for a new position, this following clip provides some tips for what to look for in your employment contract before signing it.

Employment Contract | 1.10 mins

As another example, here is the table of contents from my previous employment contract

Most people jump to the Schedule page as this gives you the summary version of what your entitlements are and the responsibilities of the position.

However, as you can see there is quite a bit of information included in your employment contract because it is a legal contract between you and the organisation, so make sure you read all of it carefully before signing. Quite often the level of information in an employment contract needs to be as detailed as possible because the contract will be used to resolve any disputes between the two parties if they arise.

Learning Activity

Please complete the following quiz before moving onto week three materials.


Recruitment and Selection – Interview Techniques

Recruitment and Selection – Conducting an Effective Interview


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