Interview tips

Practice

Practice answering interview questions and practice your responses to the common job interview questions and answersmost employers ask. Think of actual examples you can use to describe your skills. Providing evidence of your successes is a great way to promote your candidacy.

Prepare

Prepare a response so you are ready for any difficult questions.

Try to find out about the company before you go on the interview. Consult the internet and visit the company website or ask the consultant who has set up the interview.

Know the interviewer’s name and use it during the job interview. If you’re not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.

Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions.

Dress

First impressions count most. Dress neatly, be clean and fresh and ensure that you are groomed appropriately. Ask the consultant what the company would expect for each interview (informal, corporate, conservative, etc) and make sure that you are able to make the initial good impression through your appearance.

Self-knowledge

Make sure you know what you want from yourself. If you go to an interview for a creditor’s clerk position and you tell the interviewer that you wish to go into computer programming, he/she will not take you seriously. Employers are looking for people who want to grow and learn in a particular field, and they will not be able to accommodate you if your short-term goal is to be something totally different to the position you are applying for.

If, by the end of the interview, you are feeling that you would really like the job, make it known! Enthusiasm and commitment, if felt, must be shown – it is not cool to be cool.

Attitude

The right attitude is everything! Make sure that you are relaxed before the interview so that you can project a positive attitude. Be: friendly, motivated, ambitious, professional and alert. Remember to smile.

Get Ready

Bring a nice portfolio with copies of your resume, certificates and relevant documentation. Include a pen and paper for note taking. Also have your latest payslip at hand, should the interviewer ask for it.

Be On Time

Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the office ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there.

Stay Calm

During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. Take a moment to regroup. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention – you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!

Body Language

Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair.

In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body’s position to that of the interviewer’s shows admiration and agreement.

Establish a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer.

Limit your application of colognes and perfumes. Invading aromas can arouse allergies.

If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze (without looking like a tennis spectator) and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question.

Interruptions can happen. If they do, refrain from staring at your interviewer while they address their immediate business and motion your willingness to leave if they need privacy.

Do not:

Chew any gum or sweets.

If you are a smoker, avoid smoking at least 45 minutes to an hour before the interview. Non-smokers can immediately smell the cigarette odor that can cause immediate irritation and places focus on the fact that you are tens of stressed.

Rub the back of your head or neck. Even if you really do just have a cramp in your neck, these gestures make you look disinterested.

Rub or touch your nose. This suggests that you’re not being completely honest.

Sit with your armed folded across your chest. You’ll appear unfriendly and disengaged.

Cross your legs and idly shake one over the other. It’s distracting and shows how uncomfortable you are.

Lean your body towards the door. You’ll appear ready to make a mad dash for the door.

Slouch back in your seat. This will make you appear disinterested and unprepared.

Stare back blankly. This is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves.

Answering questions

If you do not understand a question, ask the client to repeat it so that you are able to answer correctly. Do not feel shy in this regard. Make sure you know what is being asked and answer appropriately. Do not only answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’! For example, if you are asked whether you can handle pressure, ‘yes’ is not an appropriate answer – give examples of situations where you have handled a pressurized situation in the past.

Asking questions

Do not be shy to ask the client questions. Interviewers enjoy telling you about their companies and your interest in them will give them an indication of your commitment. If you know the answer, don’t ask the question. Examples of questions which you may ask:

About the company:

How long has the company been in operation?

What are the main products the company trades in?

Who are the major customers of the company?

Are there branches or subsidiaries in other centres?

How many employees are there in the company?

Has the company recently achieved any major contracts or awards?

About the position you are applying for:

How long has this position been in existence?

What are the promotional opportunities in the company?

What is the client’s three most important expectations of the person filing this position?

What is the exact nature of the job?

What would he/she consider to be the most important skills required for the job?

What is the company culture like?

Do colleagues interact socially, at sports or in teams, etc.?

Show What You Know

Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions. When discussing your career accomplishments match them to what the company is looking for.

Do NOT

Be late for your appointment!

Leave your cell phone on!

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