Job Interview Tips

An interview is based on the exchange of Information in which people meet on equal terms.

The interviewer wants to assess:

  • Training and experience
  • Personality, temperament, behaviour, suitability for the vacant position, social adaptability and sense of responsibility.
  • Talent, potential for growth and leadership.

The interviewee wants to:

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

Interview Do’s:

The ability to write a great CV/Résumé or cover letter may help you land an interview, but that’s not all it takes to get the job. An outstanding CV/résumé can open the door for you, get you in to meet with your potential employer but once you’re sitting across from them in the interview you will have to start over in order to prove that you are the best candidate.

Most interview errors occur because of the lack of practice and preparation. Of course even if you are well prepared, the interview may not go perfectly well–we all make mistakes after all. However, the following mistakes can easily be avoided by developing strong interviewing skills and preparing properly for the interview.

  • Dress appropriately for the industry. Err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
  • Know the exact time and location of your interview. Know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
  • Research the company and market before your interview.
  • Know what you want to say. The interviewer will be asking you “situational type of questions” to get an idea of the depth of your competencies, attributes, likes and dislikes as well as your management requirements. All the requirements are mentioned on the advert/job specification-think back in your career and prepare examples of situations where you portrayed such competencies and attributes. For example: “Give me an example with your current employer where you were involved in a project that required a high level of multitasking and deadlines”.
  • Arrive early to your interview; 5-10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
  • Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions.
  • Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer. Be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Be formal. Introduce yourself by name and greet interviewer by name (rather use formal address than just first name). Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation. Remember interviewers name throughout the interview. Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, until invited to do otherwise.
  • Maintain good eye contact during the interview do small talk but always stick to the job and interview topic.
  •  Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
  • Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question.
  • Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
  • Be honest and be yourself — your best professional self. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers and for firing. You want a good match between yourself and your employer. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will both be unhappy.
  • Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
  • Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  • Be preapred with questions. Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
  • Investigate the company. Evaluate the interviewer and the organization s/he represents. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the organization.
  • Do expect to be treated appropriately. If you believe you were treated inappropriately or asked questions that were inappropriate or made you uncomfortable, discuss this with your recruitment consultant or the director.
  • Understand the recruitment process. Make sure you understand the employer’s next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
  • When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
  • Take notes. After the interview, make notes right away so you don’t forget critical details.
  • Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.

 Interview Don’ts & How to Avoid Them:

  •  Poor presentation of portfolio documents: Don’t falsify application materials or answers to interview questions. Take certified copies of your CV, ID, drivers, certificates, letters of  recommendation and latest payslip.
  • Weak communication skills.
    Non-verbal communication or body language plays a crucial role throughout the interview. A poor handshake may weaken your chances of getting hired right from the very beginning. Also remember to make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and looking at your watch or cell phone (which should not even surface in an interview). Be aware of your body language–it may not be obvious to you but the interviewer will easily notice it. Poor verbal communication skills will almost certainly decrease your chances of getting hired. Giving a long, rambling answer to a simple question demonstrates an inability to concentrate and process relevant information. Avoid using any slang language–stay professional no matter what. Listening skills are also vital: don’t spend so much time thinking about your answer that you’re not paying attention to the question. Don’t start your sentences by “to be honest with you”….
  • Don’t go to extremes with your posture; don’t slouch, and don’t sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
  • Don’t chew gum or smell like smoke.
  • Arrive to interview with other. Don’t take your parents, your pet (an assistance animal is not a pet in this circumstance), spouse, fiance, friends or enemies to an interview. If you are not grown up and independent enough to attend an interview alone, you’re insufficiently grown up and independent for a job. (They can certainly visit your new city, at their own expense, but cannot attend your interview).
  • Don’t spread all your belongings on the interviewers table, respect their space.
  • Failing to research the company.
    Be prepared to demonstrate an awareness of the company and the position for which you are applying. It’s going to be obvious that you did not do your research if you ask the interviewer to tell you more about the position or what the company does or the company vision etc. Read the job description advertised. Check out the company website. Know the organization the industry and competition. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with your knowledge and start showing off. When you know something about the company, wait for the right moment to share it. Do not interrupt the interviewer to tell them you already know the information. Wait until they have finished and then add a comment to what they just shared. 
  • Dressing inappropriately.
    When in doubt, err on the side of too formal. It is unlikely that there will be a good reason to show up for the interview casually dressed. Every company has its own dress policy, and it is a good practice to dress one level above what is acceptable for company. When you get the job you can adjust your dress code accordingly. Opt to wear approachable colours to invite trust and conversation.
  • Being late or too early.
    NEVER BE LATE. Develop a habit of being on time. It’s also important not to turn up too early because it creates the impression of having too much time on your hands and being desperate for the job. Five to ten minutes early is a good rule of thumb. Allow enough time for the interview (one hour is reasonable); the interviewer is taking the time to see you and you should award him or her the same courtesy.
  • Being negative.
    It’s important to have the right attitude during an interview. Never complain about your current job or boss and stay enthusiastic throughout the interview. Don’t use negative words in the interview such as “can’t” or  “ unable” or “personality clash” or “weakness” or “issues”, etc. Be careful to treat everyone you meet with courtesy, including the receptionist. Many companies watch to see how you treat their staff. It gives them an indication of how well you might fit in to the company.
  • A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don’t exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
  • Asking inappropriate questions.
    At the end of the interview ALWAYS take the opportunity to ask questions. By paying attention during the interview, you will ensure that you don’t ask about something that was already discussed. It’s ok to make notes in the interview and also take some time before the interview to think about the position, what it involves and what kind of information you need to know to learn more about it. Have several questions prepared before you go into the interview. Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits during the initial interview as these are only appropriate once you have been offered the job.
  • Reveal confidential info of your current employer.  Never reveal confidential information of your current employer to the interviewer. Your integrity is assessed this way. If the interviewer appears to probe brush him or her off politely and continue with the interview. Know beforehand what is confidential to your business and what isnt so you don’t come across as reserved and secretive in the interview.
  • Blame others for your shortfalls. ake ownership of your successes and failures. It’s ok to make mistakes and to fail but not to take accountability in this regard is one of the biggest weaknesses one could have!
  • Don’t act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
  • Don’t give the impression you are only interested in salary; don’t ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.
  • Don’t act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
  • Don’t make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in; it is not the interviewer’s job to act as a career advisor to you.
  • Failing to follow up.
    Be persistent but reasonable. Send an email and thank you note after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time. By following up and letting the recruiter know that you are still interested, you will increase your chances of getting a job.
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