Ace that Job interview!

December 9, 2008

 Remember:

 An interview is an the exchange of information in which people meet on equal terms. 

1. The interviewer wants to assess:

  • Training and experience.
  • Personality, temperament, behavioural suitability for the position, social adaptability, sense of responsibility.
  • Talent / potential for work, training and leadership. 

2. The interviewee wants to:

  • Present him/herself favourably, acceptably and confidently.
  • Find out more about the position, salary offered, the company, growth opportunities and get job!

PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW: 

1. Obtain a clear job description (from recruitment agency or advert).

  • Do not rely on job titles only.
  • You need to know what the skills requirements and the attributes are.

2. Do a self-assessment.

  • List your strengths and weaknesses,(regarding the job available).
  • Determine remedies to overcome weaker points.
  • List factors that would motivate you in such a job, as well as factors that you regard as absolutely essential for your job satisfaction (bearing in mind that the perfect job does not exist).

3. Make sure that you are the right applicant.

  • Do you meet at least the major requirements? How many of the minor requirements do you meet?
  • Does the job meet your requirements (Self-assessment)?

4. Research the organisation (don’t neglect this).

  • Find out as much as you can about the products / services, the structure, economic position, policies and facilities of the organisation.
  • Obtain information from internet, general business publications and the organisation’s own material (annual reports, brochures, newsletter, etc), as well as from people who know the organisation well.  

5. Prepare suitable answers to perceived interview questions

(see list at the end of this article). 

6. Find out as much as possible about your interviewer (s). 

7. Other hints:

  • Prepare your own questions to ask when the opportunity arises, or at the end of the interview.
  • Be careful how you phrase questions (use diplomacy!)
  • Expect unexpected questions.
  • Don’t let an interviewer intimidate you, but don’t be cheeky (you are busy with a business transaction).
  • If you are sure the interview has gone well, you may try to negotiate the terms of possible employment at the end of the interview (negotiate OBJECTIVELY, not emotionally).
  • Be patient if the interviewer is running late.
  • Once the interview is over, thank the interviewer(s), greet and depart. 

POSSIBLE STRUCTURE OF AN INTERVIEW:

1. Introduction – greeting, small talk (positive talk).

2. Questions or information about the organisation.

3. Intensive questioning and observation to determine the following: 

  • Presence
  • Health, Speech, manner, appearance 
  • Qualifications & Experience Educational
  • Technical
  • Employment 
  • Competencies Intelligence
  • Integrity
  • Verbal Ability
  • Mathematical Ability
  • Logic and common sense 
  • Emotional Stability Ability to tolerate stress
  • Maturity
  • Initiative
  • Energy 
  • Social Roles Gregarious or solitary?
  • Leader or follower? 
  • Self Actualisation Goals and Objectives
  • Extrinsic/Intrinsic motivation 
  • Exuberation of Talent Potential to advance career

 

AT THE INTERVIEW:

 1. BE PUNCTUAL !

2. Be Prepared …

3. Be prepared to cope with stress / tension – Relax your body

4. Non-Verbal Communication:

  • The interview starts at the driveway not only at the interview room!
  • Dress appropriately for the situation, rather too conservatively than too modern (Be careful of too much perfume, deodorant and after-shave).
  • Neat looks are important
  • Enter company and interviewing room confidently and smiling.
  • Shake hands with interviewer(s).
  • Do not sit down unless invited to. (choose the chair you sit carefully- not too far from the door, not the head of the table if table rectangular).
  • Don’t spread all your belongings on interviewers table.
  • Posture should be naturally erect, attentive, composed, relaxed.
  • Be friendly and courteous but not subservient.
  • Use pauses to your advantage (don’t pause for too long).
  • Facial expression should convey interest, enthusiasm, alertness.
  • Maintain comfortable eye-contact (don’t stare).
  • Vocal tone, volume, pronunciation should also convey enthusiasm, etc.
  • Use gestures sparingly and controlled; don’t fidget.
  • Do NOT smoke (even if invited to), or chew gum; and avoid mannerisms. 

5. Verbal Communication:

  • Introduce yourself by name and greet interviewer by name (rather use formal address than first name).
  • Remember his name throughout the interview!
  • Be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Keep small talk formal and brief.
  • Talk spontaneously, BUT stick to the topic and the job.
  • Use pauses (1 – 3 seconds) to think before you answer.
  • Answer clearly, completely, briefly, as specifically as you can.
  • Listen, think and then answer (don’t take too long).
  • Do not apologise for weak points, rather counteract ways to overcome them.
  • Be honest (within reason).
  • Bring your skills, accomplishments and experience to their attention with confidence and modesty.

 POSSIBLE QUESTIONS ASKED DURING AN INTERVIEW:

1. Tell me about yourself?  (Mention qualifications, experience, special areas of expertise, behavioural strengths related to the job).

2. What do you know about our organisation/firm/company? (research their website)

3. Why do you want to work for this organisation?

(Point out what about the organisation and the position you find attractive).

4. Why do you wish to leave your present employer?

(Give positive reason without lying).

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses? (They mean relating to the job or work environment – have a list ready)

6. What makes you feel that you are especially suited for this position? (Strengths, experience, motives).

7. Which aspect(s) of this position would you specially emphasise? (Know the job!).

8. What has been your worst job? Why? (Careful!)

9. How good are you at working under pressure? (give examples from previous jobs)?

10. What do you find most frustrating in your present job? (no mudslinging)

11. What are your long-term goals? / Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time? (align with the company and the job)

12. Do you like working alone or in a group?

13. What was your greatest achievement or disappointment?

14. How do you measure success?

15. What made you decide on this job as a career?

16. What gives you the highest job satisfaction?

17. What books have you read lately?

18. What, in your view, are the five most important aspects of being a good employee in your field?

19. How do you plan?

20. How do you manage your time?

21. Which do you regard as more important – job satisfaction or a good salary?

22. Which is more important to you – your family or your work?

23. What are your career aspirations?

24. How many hours a day do you think an employee should work?

25. What do you think determines a person’s progress in an organisation?

26. What kind of boss do you prefer?

27. What is your attitude to striking/work stoppage?

28. What kinds of people annoy you?

29. What motivates you in a job?

30. How do you feel about ‘change’?

31. How do you see responsibility and accountability?

32. How do you feel about ‘authority’?

33. Questions about your specific field will definitely be asked to determine your knowledge, skills, insight, adaptability, creativity, work ethics, etc. or Questions about political, religious and other affiliations might be asked if relevant.

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