How to nail an interview

If you’re an individual semi-finalist, in three weeks, you’ll be sitting in front of your judging panel at the Semi-finalist Judging Day.

Here are five tips to help you steady the nerves and nail your interview.

1. Be prepared

Knowing your stuff!

  • You know that your interview questions are going to be based on the selection criteria for your category. Read through your application over the next few weeks, know what you’ve already told the judging panel and how you can expand on that. Read through the selection criteria again and think about anything you’ve achieved since you submitted your application or other examples you hadn’t put in.
  • You also have a list of sample questions in your interview preparation pack that you can practise with. Write up some responses to the sample questions and practice them out aloud a few times. Get family, friends or colleagues to practice with you.
  • Student semi-finalists have access to a mentor to assist you – get in contact with them to help you prepare, practice and put the polish on your interview.
  • Bring your notes – if there are a few points you don’t want to forget, write them down and bring them with you.
Book and highlighters

If you prepare for your interview questons, you’ll be great on interview day!

Being prepared for your interview is not just about the questions you’ll be asked, it’s also about the logistics.

  • Know how to get there – look up the location at least the day before. If you’re driving, be realistic about how long it will take you to get there. Plan where you’re going to park. If you’re taking the train – know what time you need to be at the station so you arrive on time for your interview.
  • What are you going to wear? Make sure you’ve picked your outfit the day before so you’re not going through your wardrobe on interview day trying to decide.

If you plan all of these things in advance, you’ll be much calmer and clear-headed going into your interview.

2. Be relevant

Make sure you are answering the question that is asked of you, not trailing off on a tangent. Think about it in the context of your award category and your training pathway. All the questions are relative to the selection criteria and they aim to help the judging panel discover who the best ambassador for training is in your category.

3. Use positive body language

The panel want to see your confidence, that you have what it takes to be an ambassador for training in Western Australia. You can show them through simple positive body language.

  • Pay attention to your posture – sit up straight with pride in your achievements.
  • Try not to fidget – don’t stress, the panel expects you may be a little nervous but take a few deep breaths and try to relax your fingers and knees; these seem to be the fidgety culprits in interviews.
  • Make eye contact with your panel – look at the panel members when you’re answering your interview questions to establish a connection with each of them.
  • Uncross those arms – crossed arms are a standard defence mechanism and a form of comfort when you’re feeling under pressure. In this interview you have nothing to be defensive about. The judges want you to succeed and they’re privileged to have the opportunity to hear your story. So uncross those arms and let the panel see you.

4. Know your story

At your interview, you want to stand out from the rest. What’s your training story? What makes you different to the other semi-finalists? How has your training made an impact on your life? Why is it that you do what you do? Do you have a mission? What do you want to leave the judges thinking about when you walk out of the interview room.

This is the easiest part of all because there’s no wrong way to do it. No one knows your story better than you do so go in there and tell it!

5. Be yourself

The most important thing you can do in any interview is to be yourself. Show the panel who you really are. Don’t show them what you think they want to see or tell them what you think they want to hear. Just be yourself. Remember you’ve been chosen for a reason, think about what that might be and let it shine.

If you have any questions about the Semi-finalist Judging Day, don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone on 6551 5608 or email at


What to expect at the Semi-finalist Judging Day

Congratulations to this year’s individual semi-finalists! You should all be very proud of yourself for making it through to this stage of the WA Training Awards competition.

You will have received an interview preparation pack via mail and email with important information about the Semi-finalist Judging Day, when you’ll be interviewed by your judging panel.

So what can you expect from the Semi-finalist Judging Day?

There are three things that you’ll do at the Semi-finalist Judging Day:

  1. You’ll have your 35 minute interview with your category’s judging panel – that’s the main thing!
  2. You’ll have a professional photo taken.
  3. You’ll do a short film shoot.


judging panel cartoon

On your interview day, you have a head start. 15 minutes before your interview you’ll be handed your interview questions and given some quiet time to read over them and prepare responses. You’ve also got a list of sample questions in your interview preparation pack, so if you plan some responses to those questions, you’ll have a good idea of what’s coming on the day and how you might respond. Your interview questions are also based on the selection criteria you’ve already answered in your application. So for students, you can expect to be asked about your:

  • career and study achievements;
  • communication, team and leadership skills;
  • ability to represent the training system at a broader level; and
  • other pursuits outside of your training.

For trainer semi-finalists, you can expect to be asked about your:

  • excellence and innovation in your training practices;
  • student focus and outcomes;
  • professionalism and commitment to VET teaching and learning; and
  • links with industry and/or the community to improve training for your students.

So walking into your interview you’ll know exactly what you’re going to be asked; no surprises.

Professional photo

Last year's photo shoots

Last year’s professional photos.

This is the easiest part of the day. It will only take a couple of minutes, we’ll have a professional photographer on site to take your photo, seated against a backdrop. This photo will be used for promotional purposes should you be selected as a finalist in your category. All you have to do is sit and smile.

Film shoot

Film shoot at last year's Semi-finalist judging day

Film shoot at last year’s Semi-finalist judging day

Our video team will be set up in a quiet room ready to have a quick chat with you about your training journey. You don’t have to prepare anything in advance for the video. The interviewer will ask you a couple of questions about what training you’ve done, why you decided to do it and what it’s meant to you. There’s no need to be nervous, you won’t be doing your video infront of anyone but the video team and you are certainly not being judged on it. The video will be used at the presentation dinner if you are selected as a finalist in your category and in further Awards promotion if you are selected as a winner.

If you have any questions about the Semi-finalist Judging Day, don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone on 6551 5608 or email at

WA Training Awards winner opens John Butler studio

In 2014 the WA Training Initiative Award was presented to Fairbridge Western Australia Inc, celebrating the organisation’s achievements and dedication to training, education and personal development for at-risk young people.

2015 has been an equally exciting and momentous year for Fairbridge, with the opening of a brand new recording studio, named after internationally-renowned musician John Butler.

(From left to right) Fairbridge CEO Mark Anderson, Mama Kin, John Butler and Elicia Petite - Pirate 88

(From left to right) Fairbridge CEO Mark Anderson, Mama Kin, John Butler and Elicia Petite – Pirate 88

The John Butler Studio was built by participants in the Aboriginal Construction Training Initiative, a program that has been running for over 15 years and sees young people graduate with a traineeship in building maintenance or apprenticeships in carpentry or painting.

Fairbridge CEO Mark Anderson said the organisation is committed to sustaining change in the lives of children through a range of formal partnerships and government funding.

“We are passionate about the long term development of young people and see music as a tool to inspire and enrich the lives of young people to help them reach their full potential,” Mark said.

“This studio is a celebration of the achievements of those involved in building it and also a celebration of John’s life, his music and what he has brought to us.”

On 10 April 2015, John Butler and a bevy of talented local musicians, including Raksha (winners of the 2014 ‘The Quest’ youth song writing competition), Grace Barbé and Mama Kin, put on a show to celebrate the launch and naming of the studio at Fairbridge Village in Pinjarra. A recording of the performances was broadcast live on Pirate 88 FM Radio.

Inside John Butler Studio

Inside John Butler Studio

Mark Anderson said Fairbridge historically names their buildings after people who have made a significant contribution and inspired others to follow their passion.

“John shares his heart and soul through his music and inspires others”, said Mark.

“He has a deep respect for Australian history and a shared appreciation of reconnecting with land, which aligns with what we do at Fairbridge.”

Although John Butler was born in California, he and his family moved to Pinjarra in Western Australia when he was 10 years old. At the studio launch, John shared his memories of playing on the banks of the Murray River and forming a close friendship with a local Aboriginal family who shared stories with him about the land and shaped how he sees the world today.

“It is extremely humbling to be standing here today,” said John.

“It’s a bit surreal. To come here and see the studio named after myself, I can’t even put that into words. It is a massive honour and privilege. I’m very proud to be involved. This is awesome.”

What happens next for organisation applicants?

Congratulations to all our organisation applicants! Putting together an application for an Awards program as prestigious as the WA Training Awards does require a significant body of work and we’d just like to acknowledge all the hard work you’ve put in to get to this point.

For many of our winners and finalists, writing the application is one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

“When we were putting this application together we had to look really closely at what we did and how we do it. It was a great opportunity to show how our long term strategic planning has produced high quality outcomes for Aboriginal people though partnerships that have allowed us to focus on our most important clients; the students and the community.” Marr Mooditj, WA Small Training Provider of the Year 2014.

Marr Mooditj 1_compressed

So what happens next?


Shortlisting is now underway for all categories. Applications will be assessed against the selection criteria for each category and panels will select up to three finalists for each Award.

When will we be notified if our organisation has been shortlisted?

By Monday 29 June, all organisation applicants will be notified in writing (letter and email) and by phone as to whether they have been selected as a finalist in their category.

What happens next if our organisation is selected as a finalist?

If you’re selected as a finalist, your judging panel’s executive officer will contact you to organise a site visit at your organisation between 13 and 31 July. You will be given a suggested outline for your site visit. You may wish to give your panel a tour of the facilities, give a presentation and then there will be question time from your panel.

WA Employer of the Year 2014 Main Roads staff in training.

WA Employer of the Year 2014 Main Roads staff in training.

What if our organisation is regionally located?

The Department will fund travel and accommodation where required for two panel members to conduct a site visit at your organisation.

For more information on the WA Training Awards process visit our website or contact the WA Training Awards team by email at to help you with any enquiries.