Interview advice

Much of this information covers first time interviews, but even for those with extensive experience in these matters they’re still worth a read. In today’s highly competitive job market, the candidate who knows the most may not be the one to get the offer. The prize typically goes to the candidate who interviews the best. Because people do not interview every day, most job seekers are pretty rusty when faced with the prospect. The job seeker needs to prepare and practice for each interview with enthusiasm and confidence.

Here are a few suggestions on how to approach the interview process:

Research the company thoroughly

The more you know about the organisation, the position and the person who may be your boss, the better off you are. Match your skills and experience to the position.

Give careful thought to your appearance

It is claimed that people form first impressions in seven seconds and those impressions can be permanent. Projecting a confident and professional image is essential. Know the location of the interview and the time it will take you to get there in advance; rushing around trying to find the facility will only increase your nervousness/

Know your CV

Be prepared to explain and defend every aspect of your educational and career experience.

Focus all efforts on building a strong case for being invited back.

Refrain from internal discussion evaluating the job and whether you want it. This will divert your attention and dampen your enthusiasm as the interview unfolds. You’ll have plenty of time to decide if you want the job if -and only if- you are asked to return.

Develop concrete examples about your contributions to your previous employer

Most employers want to know how you made a difference. You must convince the hiring manager that you’re the answer to the company’s needs.

Look for opportunities to sell yourself in the interview

If you don’t tell the prospective employer how good you are, who will?

Be concise and do not talk too much

Most people only retain 20% of what they hear. Carefully select words and examples for the greatest impact.

‘Innoculate’ yourself against the fear of the interview by visualising in advance

What will you be wearing? What materials (if appropriate) do you plan to bring with you? Think about the physical presentation, including eye contact, body language and facial expressions.

Polish your listening skills

Pause briefly after each question before responding. Answer questions directly and concisely. Ask for clarification if necessary. Avoid stepping on the ends of sentences.

Develop your own questions

Remember, you are interviewing the company too. You will want to know if this is a job that you can do. Are these the kind of people with whom you would enjoy working? How will this position help you meet your shortterm and long-term career goals? Start with questions about the organisation, avoid the subject of compensation – your recruiter will only present you with opportunities for roles with appropriate packages.

Get the facts right

Make sure you record, with correct spelling, all the names and titles of the people with whom you interview.

Show interest in your potential employer

Ask for annual reports, product information and other pertinent information.

Follow up immediately

Make contact with your recruiter and de-brief them fully on the interview.