The Job Interview
The interview is the opportunity you get to meet the prospective employer. Here you should get the opportunity to sell yourself in person to the employer as well as to get a realistic image of what will be expected of you in the position you have applied for. The interview is also the place where you can determine whether this job is in fact the job you have been looking for and if it is really suited to you.
Tips when attending the job interview:
Use this information as a learning experience or stepping stone to the right offer.
Remember the saying: “First impressions last”, hence the importance of creating a positive impression at your interview
- Dress appropriately – formal and neatly
- Be punctual
- Schedule enough time for attending the interview - ±1 hour
- Take your ID document with
- Take a copy of your CV as well as certified copies of your certificates and reference letters
- Do research about the company, and the position
- Speak confidently, ensuring that you support your answers with relevant examples from your work experience
- Always relate your answers to the position you are applying for
- Sit up straight and look enthusiastic
- Be honest and professional
- Never ever chew gum while being interviewed
- Try not to smell of smoke, as this creates a negative first impression
- Prepare a couple of answers to questions, which are usually asked in interviews, e.g. ‘What are you strengths & developmental areas?’ as well as ‘What are your future plans?’
- When the time arrives for you to ask questions, ask questions to help you gain more insight into the specific job you have applied for
- Do not speak/ask about salary at the first interview unless the interviewer brings it up. Rather wait until you have a job offer on paper before you start your negotiations
- At the end of the interview, thank the employer for granting you an interview
- If you did not get the position, try to obtain feedback from the employer as to the reasons why you were unsuccessful.
Examples of type of questions asked in interviews
Tell me about yourself, your educational and work history.
Be brief and list your main qualifications and relevant work history.
Why did you apply for this particular position?
Discuss the background knowledge you gained from researching the position and company. Highlight your abilities and areas where you think you can contribute positively.
List your strengths and developmental areas (weaknesses)
Emphasise those skills, which would help you in the position you are applying for. For weaknesses, mention those that can be turned into strengths, and indicate how you are trying to improve them.
Why do you think you are suited to this position and company?
Again, emphasise those skills, which would help you in the position you are applying for and how your personality would match the culture of the organisation.
What are your areas of expertise (what are you good at?)
Mention only the skills that would benefit the position you are applying for and the company.
What are your reasons for leaving your current employment?
Be honest and mention only the most obvious reasons. Don’t criticise or discuss your previous employer.
What are your greatest concerns about this position?
Be honest, but stress the fact that you are eager for a challenge.
Where do you see yourself 5 - 10 years from now?
Although it is good to be ambitious, try to be realistic and don’t say you want to be the MD of the company.
Tips for job hunters to use in order to stay motivated
- Avoid self-pity. Do not see yourself as a victim of circumstances. Keep focused on the future and the ideal job that awaits you. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.
- Don’t dwell on the negative. Everyone faces rejection during the job hunt, but it is how you handle it and what you learn from it that can help you in the long run. Don’t see a “No” as a setback; instead, view it as a stepping-stone to the right offer.
- Be patient. It takes time to find a position that is the best fit for you. Remain focused on the search and trust that your hard work will result in the right job. Although it is tempting, avoid jumping at the first offer you receive, unless it is what you really want.
- Build a network of support. Seeking support, comfort and encouragement from your friends and family is essential to remaining positive during your search.
- Allow yourself to have fun, by socialising, doing sport or joining a club. You could also take a class that inspires your creativity and where you could meet future contacts.
- You might also want to consider volunteering, where you might make contacts or acquire experience that could help you in your search.