Preparing for your interview

  • Review the job description carefully, particularly any key competencies.
  • Thoroughly research Downer, focusing on the area of the business you are interviewing for.  Visit our Urban Services page to learn more about Downer.
  • Ensure you have all the details prior to the interview including location, interview panel, what to bring, what parking is available and any location access information.
  • Plan what you are going to wear.
  • Plan your journey to the interview, considering travel time, travel conditions, public transport schedules and parking.
  • Prepare for the questions you will be asked .
  • Prepare for the questions you will ask the interviewer.



Interviews at Downer include a mix of traditional interviewing techniques and behavioural interviewing techniques. 

The below information will assist you in understanding both interview techniques and provide you with sample questions to assist with your preparation.

Traditional interviews

Traditional interview questions tend to focus on your beliefs, professional or management style and how you interact. The interviewer will ask broad, open-ended questions.

Examples of traditional interview questions might include:
  • What motivated you to apply for this role? 
  • What do you know about the company? 
  • What is your understanding of this position? 
  • Can you tell me a little about yourself and your work history?
  • In what areas do you consider yourself proficient (strengths) And in what areas do you feel you need some development (weaknesses)?
  • What are your short and long-term career objectives?

Behavioural interviews

Behavioural interviewing is based on the assumption that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour and performance. This style of interviewing is also known as competency-based or situational interviewing. 

We recommend you use the STAR (situation, task, action and results) technique when answering behavioural interview questions:

  • Situation – Set the scene, provide context and background such as where and when it happened.
  • Task – Describe the challenge and expectations included what needed to be done and why.
  • Action – Elaborate your specific action, including what you did, how you did it and the tools you used.
  • Results – Explain the result and the impact of your actions.
Examples of behavioural questions might include:
  • Please tell us about a time when you have had to build internal or external networks to assist you with performing your role effectively? 
  • Give an example of a time when you were able to build rapport with someone at work even when the situation was difficult?
  • Recall a time when you made what you consider a mistake or a bad decision on the job. How did you handle the situation? 
  • Tell me of a time you were under a lot of pressure. How did you cope? 
  • Tell us about a time when you have used your initiative to improve work output or efficiency in the workplace or in your job.
  • Have you suggested any new ideas to your manager, supervisor or team leader recently?  Give an example. What happened to the idea? 
  • Give an example of a recent directive from senior management.  How did you translate it into section or department goals? 
  • We often meet with resistance when trying to implement change. Describe a time when you have had to implement change. What approach did you follow? What difficulties resulted, if any, and what was the result? 

Preparing for different interview types

  • Review your resume to refresh your memory about your professional history, and be prepared to address any gaps in your work history.
  • Prepare yourself with a few examples that could be adapted in response to a range of behavioural questions.
  • Try to align your examples with the competencies of the role and the company that you have identified through your research.
  • Consider how you can incorporate Downer’s Pillars in your responses (Safety, Delivery, Relationships and Thought Leadership). 
  • Aim for half of your examples to be very positive, such as accomplishments or achieving goals. 
  • The other half of your examples should be situations that started out negatively but either ended positively or demonstrate how you made the best of the outcomes.


Remember, an interview goes both ways. This is your opportunity to determine if the role, the team and the business is right for you.

If you come prepared with a few good questions for the manager, you will quickly learn if the job is the right match for you. 

Example questions for the hiring manager:
  • Is this a new role? How has it evolved?
  • What does a typical day in this role look like?
  • What will be my biggest challenge in this role?
  • What does success look like in this role and how will my success be measured?
  • Is there scope for career progression in this role? What training and professional development programs or opportunities do you offer?
  • What do you enjoy the most about working for Downer?
  • What are the next steps in the recruitment process? 


Post interview follow up is a critical step in rounding out the interview process and making a lasting impression. After your interview, we recommend the following steps to set you up for success.

  • Contact the recruiter by phone or email.
  • Reiterate your interest in the role and in Downer.
  • Politely ask if the recruiter can relay thanks to the interviewer/s and reiterate your enthusiasm for joining their team.
  • Ask the recruiter if they have received any feedback .
  • Reconfirm next steps, including when you can expect feedback, and the next steps in the recruitment process.
  • Thank the recruiter for their time.