Frequently asked questions for candidates

How can I prepare for interviews?

I have sent my application but haven’t received any feedback. What can I expect?

The information age has brought with it the ability to mass communicate. In the recruitment world, this has resulted in companies receiving unprecedented volumes of applications, especially in response to internet recruitment advertisements.

Savvy recruitment companies will have automatic email alerts to inform you when your application has been received, and some of these alerts will go so far as to provide an assumptive closure. For example: “… if you have not heard from your recruiter within (a certain timeframe) you may assume your application in this instance has been unsuccessful”. As such, if pop-up boxes come up when you are applying online, it is important to read the information to know what to expect.

Sometimes you may not hear from your recruiter at all and this can be very disheartening. Be assured that your details do land on a database and they are kept on file (unless you select otherwise). Also, feel free to touch base with your recruiter from time-to-time to see if any roles that match your skills are becoming available.

Do I need a cover letter?

Some recruitment specialists place a degree of value on the cover letter but you do not need a cover letter if all your information (including contact details) is in your resume. Of course, if the advertisement calls for you to outline your interests or skills in a cover letter, then you should follow the company’s lead.

Remember when applying online that the ‘apply’ function allows you the opportunity to send an email and in the accompanying text box you can make reference to the role, introduce yourself, what you’re interested in and the skills (in brief) you bring. This should be no more than 2-3 lines.

What is the best length for a resume?

Again, this is subjective but the rule of thumb is three pages. One is too short and more than five will see the reader start to lose interest. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and this is usually for government or industries in the public sector such as teaching, nursing and defence, where applicants are required to respond to a number of selection criteria.

If you are responding to a private sector advertisement, you should use your resume to capture your main skills, responsibilities and achievements – but leave some room for discussion at interview.

What is the best attire for interview?

The diversity or roles, industries and companies means that the range of what’s considered appropriate dress code for an interview is broad.

When considering how to dress, do some research. What do the people in that profession wear? What do the managers wear? What is the interview setting – site or office? What is the dress code for that industry overall? Here are some tips:

  • Office: Men – shirt and pants (jacket and tie optional) with polished shoes. Ladies – shirt and pants (or skirt and stockings), jacket optional with polished shoes.
  • Site: You can’t go wrong with a polo shirt and ‘neat casual’ pants (not jeans). Too dressy and the interviewer will think you’re in the wrong place, too casual and the interviewer will think you don’t care.
  • Retail: What is the brand’s identity? Dress according to how you see other retail assistants dress.

I’m always nervous at interviews. Any tips for relaxing?

Be prepared. Knowing a little about the company, the role and person interviewing you can help put you at ease. Company websites, LinkedIn and Facebook can help you learn more. Google the company and person – you never know what you may learn.

Keep occupied as you wait to be called for interview. It might help to review your notes or, if you feel you are already prepared, take something with you – a book, your phone (but ensure it’s off during the actual interview), a newspaper, study notes, birthday cards that need to be written … anything.

The key is to take your mind away. When called for the interview, you will be pleasantly interrupted from your train of thought and will have no time for nerves. Companies will also see you as having a ‘busy mind’ so you’re already onto a winner.

Look up. When you find yourself stuck during the interview, look up. It provides a break in concentration, and you don’t feel your nerves allowing you to regain composure.

Remember – we are all human. The person who is interviewing you is a person too – just with a different role to play. If you remember ‘we were all created equal’ you don’t need to be worried about the interviewer. Relax and enjoy the experience.


Any more questions or queries? Feel free to contact Maree Herath, Principal Harvest Recruitment and Harvest Human Resources on 0438 517 085 or contact us for further information.