Interview preparation video series

Welcome to the professional development video series.

These videos will assist individual candidates to prepare for their NSW Training Awards interviews.

The interview process can be daunting, so we created these videos to equip shortlisted candidates with the necessary tools to shine in the interview process and be their best selves.

Topics include everything from settling nerves and bringing energy to the interview, to storytelling and communication skills, and even overcoming imposter syndrome.

Watch the tips and tricks video to learn how to stand out from the crowd and impress the interview panel.

We recommend you watch the videos in sequence to ensure the best outcome possible.

Welcome to the NSW Training Awards.

Eduardo Carrera - NSW Training Awards Program Manager

Welcome to the NSW Training Awards. If you’re watching this it means you made it to the interview process, so congratulations. My name is Eduardo, and I’m the manager of the New South Wales Training Awards.

This video series will provide tips and recommendations based on evidence and real growth research to help you prepare for your New South Wales Training Awards interview. As daunting as the word “interview” is, please be aware that panel members want the best possible outcome for you and they will treat the interaction as a chat. Remember, no one knows your story better than you.

Each year we have been fortunate to attract many applicants who have inspiring stories. Individuals who truly embody what it is to thrive from vocational education and training.

In addition to the official criteria we’re also looking for a set of personal qualities in each of you that have set our previous winners apart from the rest. We’ll be talking about this in three of the videos in this series.

To help you stand out, make sure you demonstrate these personal qualities through your interview responses and in each of your interactions during the remainder of the selection process.

This series will also focus on storytelling, the STAR method, and why it is important to be aware of the so-called Imposter Syndrome. My top tip I would like to give you is to do your research. This means researching everything about the New South Wales training awards.

Take the time to learn about our objectives, values and goals and even success stories from our current ambassadors. This will not only show that you are interested and engaged, but it will also give you a better understanding of what the panel members are looking for.

Now, I would like to pass on to our professionals. Life Coach and Author, Tammi Kirkness, and Producer and Media Coach Amie Morris.

Lastly, believe in yourself. You made it this far and you are capable of achieving great things.

Best of luck.

Settling nerves and bringing energy to your interview.

Tammi Kirkness - Life coach and author

When we care deeply about achieving a certain outcome sometimes we can get nervous and unsettled. If there is a chance that might be how you feel before your interview, here are 3 ways to help centre yourself.

1. Acknowledge your feelings

By acknowledging emotions, it allows feelings to pass through and create space to show up as your most confident self.

An effective way to do this is to say something to yourself like: “I'm about to walk into an interview that's really important to me and I feel anxious and excited, but, I'm willing to put that to the side so I can focus on sharing my story”.

2. Breathe deeply

When we are nervous, many of us hold our breath. To counterbalance this, slow deep breathing helps to oxygenate our brains and send a message to our body that we're safe.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to breathe in for 4 counts and out for 6 counts. If you do at least three rounds of this before your interview, your mind and body will be more focused and ready to go.

3. Ground your energy

There is often a quick dispersal of tension or frazzled nerves when we connect with nature. The morning of your interview, you could walk barefoot, you could take a minute to look up at the sky, or, my favourite is to briefly close your eyes and visualise tree roots coming out of your feet tethering you to the earth.

This can all help you to feel centred and ready to go.

Authenticity and communications skills.

Tammi Kirkness - Life coach and author

There are a handful of personal qualities that will help you stand out during the remainder of the training awards selection process. In this video we're looking at the personal qualities of both authenticity and communication skills.


Individuals who demonstrate strong authenticity are genuine and honest in how they carry themselves, and are clear about what lights them up, and when they share their excitement it feels real.

Those selected as winners are down-to-earth, naturally inspire the people around them, and they love what they study or teach.

To best demonstrate this, make sure you tell panel members about times when you’ve acted with honesty, integrity, and transparency.

Examples to share might look like times when you did the right thing even when it was difficult to do so.

Or when you’ve been generous in sharing your knowledge or experience with others. If you've been a mentor or have been recognised by your community for having a strong and positive character these would also be great to share within your examples.

During all of these conversations and interview responses the panel members will also be looking to see how easily and authentically you speak about your passions.

Communication skills

Individuals who demonstrate strong communication skills can articulate themselves and their story with warmth and inspiration. To best demonstrate this, make sure you share examples of when you have easily connected with people from different backgrounds and in different settings.

It's important to show that you have empathy for others, that you're comfortable to learn how to speak in a public setting, and that you have the confidence to share your journey so far.

As you may guess, panel members will be looking for you to speak clearly and with confidence during your interview.

Previous winners have also demonstrated this quality by detailing how they overcame obstacles on the way to making their dreams a reality.

You could also demonstrate this quality by sharing examples of having connected and engaged with people from a large variety of backgrounds, or how you have already shared your story online or on social media.

Community minded and technical know how.

Tammi Kirkness - Life Coach and Author

Community minded and technical know how

There are a handful of personal qualities that will help you stand out during the remainder of the training awards selection process.

In this video, we're looking at the personal qualities of having a community minded approach and having strong technical know how.


Individuals who demonstrate a community minded approach genuinely care about the people around them.

They have a strong team player approach and the causes that are important to them are front of mind in both their consideration and in the actions they take. Examples to share to demonstrate this quality will most likely include times when you've helped or supported an individual group or cause. If you've completed voluntary work linked to your studies, it could be good to share details about that with the panel members too.

Heads Up for those who have applied for the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category. The panel will additionally be looking to see how you've made a positive impact on your community. The panel members are always looking for creative inspiration too, so out of the box examples are welcomed as well.

Technical know how

Individuals who demonstrate a background of strong technical know how are those who consistently do their craft well, as it is important to have a solid foundation of skill underlying your application. You will need to show clear talent within your role or field of study. Panel members will also be looking for examples of how you've stayed on top of any new developments within your field. These might include how you have implemented new techniques in your day to day, used up to the minute teaching approaches, or even been an innovator in your own right.

Being able to speak with ease and confidence about how you do what you do is of utmost importance in this area. Remembering that the panel members will not necessarily come from your technical background, being able to use everyday language to describe components and skills that you use is vital to demonstrating your technical competence

Other ways to demonstrate technical know how may include official recognition, such as having been awarded technical based scholarships or evidence of any strong links that you formed within your industry. Additionally, if you are applying for the Vet, Trainer, Teacher of the Year award, being able to demonstrate how you effectively engage with your students, use innovative teaching methods and that you are up to date with your industry's current challenges and trends is vital.

VET and changemaker.

Tammi Kirkness - Life Coach and Author

Vocational education and training and changemaker

There are a handful of personal qualities that will help you stand out during the remainder of the training awards selection process.

In this video, we're looking at the personal qualities of having a passion for vocational education and training, and that you are a changemaker.

Passion for vet

Individuals who demonstrate a passion for vocational education and training see that VET was a pivotal part of their success to date.

They recognize that their VET pathway positively changed their life, and as a result they have a drive and a willingness to promote it to others and give back.

Giving hope and purpose to those going through tough times that VET might also offer them a helpful pathway is something previous winners have found fulfilling.

Helping the panel see your passion for sharing your lived experience of success through VET will help to demonstrate this personal quality.

Perhaps you are the first in your family to complete formal training or education. Or perhaps you've found opportunities that you wouldn't have had access to without your VET pathway. By sharing these, the panel members will have a greater opportunity to identify your passion for VET.

Additionally, for those applying for the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award, if you have improved or enhanced the way your subject or program is taught in some way, we'd recommend that you share this with the panel members.


Individuals who can demonstrate that they are a changemaker have made a positive difference for themselves or others. They have used initiative to get out there and make change and they have positively impacted individuals or groups through their actions. They have led others to also make an impact by sharing their journey and their own positive decision making.

Positive decision making

Demonstrating this may include sharing examples of the courage you needed to overcome barriers to make things happen, or perhaps completing your studies even when it was difficult to do so. Maybe you secured a permanent job with your employer while still completing your VET qualification. Or perhaps you won a community service or employer award. Or you have acted as an advocate for a group or a cause.

Regardless of the examples you share, the panel members will be looking for an underlying thread of your motivation in making a positive impact on others.

What is storytelling?

Amie Morris - Producer and Media Coach

What is storytelling?

Storytelling skills are essential for interviews as they help you connect with the interviewer and make your answers much more memorable.

So what exactly is storytelling and how can this information help you?

Storytelling has actually been around since the beginning of man.

We've shared stories throughout history to pass on knowledge, express our feelings, or simply connect with our family.

It's actually our primary source of connecting with other people.

Now, the true definition of storytelling is as follows.

A story or a narrative is a connected series of events that's told through words which could be written or spoken.

Imagery that could be still or moving.

Body language, performance, music, or any other forms of communication.

As we are focusing on using this skill for interviews, we will be focused on speaking words. So where do we even start?

Before you enter the interview, I would recommend that you use a process of brain dumping your story down on paper. Make sure at this point you want as much detail as you can. Things like what happened? Why did it happen? And how did you deal with that situation?

Then I suggest that you revisit and just highlight the key events that you've experienced that you think the panel members will be keen to hear. Moments where maybe you've made change or that you've learned key skills.

Then once you've got a clear idea on what our story really is, we can start to plan our answers around that. Now, to improve your storytelling skills, consider the following tips.

Make sure that you begin with a clear and concise opening statement, and that really sets the tone for your story.

Make sure you use descriptive language to create vivid imagery and really engage your listener.

Focus on specific experience or events that demonstrated your skills or qualities.

Make sure you use a structure that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Make sure you've practiced in front of friends, in front of family before you enter the interview.

The STAR method

Amie Morris - Producer and Media Coach

The STAR method

As you've seen in the previous video, there's a huge potential to create impact through storytelling.

It will help you to express your experiences and share your big "why". However, there are extra tools that we can use that will accelerate this process. I want to share with you the STAR method.

Using this simple strategy can help you determine key skills and experiences that will help you clearly share your story.

So what does Star stand for? Let's just break it down.

Simply put, STAR stands for:


This is your personal experience.

For example, I worked in the hospitality industry with a team of five staff. That's the situation.


T is for tasks. This is what you're supposed to do.

Your responsibilities within your role. For example, I was responsible for making coffees, doing the banking and cleaning the tables.


A is for actions. This is what you actually did. For example, I arrived 30 minutes early for every shift. I did the banking in the afternoon when things were slower.


R stands for results. This is what actually happened because you took certain actions. For example, my manager got me to train new staff because they thought that I was responsible.

So using this method clearly helps us to describe the situation, what tasks you were given, what actions you took, and what were the results.

Now the thing to remember is it doesn't always have to result in something positive, even if the end result was not what you hoped.

You can use this to explain what you learned from the experience and what lessons you're going to take moving forward. And this really shows growth mindset and competence.

Imposter syndrome

Amie Morris - Producer and Media Coach

Imposter syndrome.

So you've made it this far in the process and then the nerves start to kick in, right? You suddenly feel like you don't belong. And maybe you've even asked yourself, why have they chosen me? What if they realise I can't do this?

Well, if you're feeling that way, it's pretty normal. And it's actually called imposter syndrome. Even some of the most successful people in the world, like the former CEO of Starbucks, said that he's felt this way. This is what he said about imposter syndrome.

"Very few people, whether you've been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today, I'm now qualified to be a CEO. They're not going to tell you that, but it's true".

So remember that you were chosen for a reason, to represent your industry and the vocational education and training sector.

You deserve to be here for all of your skills and attributes, and you should be really proud of yourself.

The New South Wales Training Awards is simply an opportunity to take your platform to the next level and each of you deserve that. No one has got a better chance over you. So own this opportunity 100%.

Make sure you don't compare yourself to other people. Each person was chosen for their own uniqueness and certain traits. Assess your abilities by writing down your accomplishments and take a good hard look at what you've achieved.

Refuse to let anything hold you back, even when you have these feelings. Lots of people do, but own them. Talk about them and make sure you just keep going.

Interview tips and tricks

Amie Morris - Producer and Media Coach

Interview tips and tricks.

I want to give you some extra tips on your delivery that will make your interview stand out.

The first thing I want you to consider is your personal presentation. What we wear, how we physically appear, and your body language can have a huge impact on the all important first impression.

So what do we actually know about first impressions? Well, science has taught us that as human beings, when naturally programed to judge other people, even if we think we don't. And, even though that sounds bad, it's actually part of human nature. And, that has kept us safe and allowed us to exist as a human race for thousands of years.

Back when we were cavemen, we only had what they call the primal part of our brains, before our now thinking brain developed on top.

So our primal brain was developed to immediately judge another person and we needed to guess whether this new person in front of us was a friend or foe. Our subconscious mind will quickly process the other person's physical appearance, their height, their demeanor, if they're smiling, what their body language is like, so that we can judge whether we are in danger or not.

Now, how long do you think this process takes? 10 minutes maybe? A day? Or a minute? Well, through research, we know that this actually happens in the first few seconds of meeting someone.

We assess at rapid speed who we think they are so that we can decide if they're trustworthy. How can you use this information, though?

Well, if we have awareness, we can start by choosing appropriate clothing. Smarter is always best in interview situations. Even if the industry is more casual that you work in, dressing smart shows that you care.

Then focus on your body language. When we're nervous, for example, we naturally try and hide ourselves. But that closed body language can come across as closed off and maybe a little bit suspicious. So put your shoulders back and your arms open to create warm, inviting body language.

Now remember to smile. A smile goes a long way in making the other person feel safe and comfortable with you and create that all important trust from the get go.


  • Skills
  • VET


  • VET

Business Unit:

  • Training Services NSW
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