Published: 01 Aug 2011
Preparing for an interview is time well spent!
A guide on preparing for your interview.
- Find out about the company, research the company on the internet, ask family and friends if they know of them.
- Plan your route, whether by car or by public transport and, if possible, familiarise yourself with the area where the interview will be conducted so you know where you are going.
- Ensure that you arrive in plenty of time, so that you are calm and composed before the interview.
- Dress conservatively and in a professional manner - it always makes a good first impression.
- Ensure you know the name and position of the person who will be interviewing you.
- Proper, positive attitude needs to have been conveyed throughout the interview.
- Do "homework” on the company. Therefore helping you get the most out of your interview and show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in the opening and in their company.
- If there is more than one person interviewing you ensure you direct you answers and keep eye contact with all of the people in the room.
- Pre-prepare some questions to ask when in the interview. This shows an interest in the job.
Here are some examples of questions you could prepare:
- When was the company established?
- Whom would you identify as your major competitors? What is your market share?
- What has been the company's major successes in recent years?
- What can you tell me about the individual to whom I would report?
- Can you tell me what training will be available?
Goals of the interview:
You have two main goals during your interview:
1. Convince the employer that you can make a positive contribution to their organisation; and2. Convince the employer that you will be a competent and compatible member of their team.
If presented with an application form, fill it out neatly and completely even if it asks for the same information on your CV. Do not indicate "See CV."
Relax. Remember that positive thinking is the key. Shake hands firmly, but don't squeeze. Smile. Make and maintain eye contact, and greet the interviewer.
Most interviews start with the interviewer explaining about the company and the position. They may start to ask relevant questions, such as:
- Why did you apply for this job?
- What do you think you can offer this position?
- What experience would you be able to offer our company?
- What appeals to you most about this position?
- In your previous employment what have you enjoyed about the job(s)?
- In your previous employment what was the most difficult situation you were faced with?
- What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
Emphasise your strong points and acknowledge your weaknesses. Stay calm and positive when challenged.
Respond to each question thoughtfully, truthfully, concisely, and completely. Get the interviewer to do most of the talking.
Be aware of your posture and body language - they communicate attitude and impressions.
When explaining your strengths and weaknesses, try to give examples of where your strengths lie. Acknowledge any weaknesses and explain how you could overcome these, and explain how you could overcome them, ie: training, experience etc.
Always dress smartly.
Do not smoke or chew gum.
Avoid answering questions with a simple yes or no.
Never make derogatory statements about your present or former employers.
Initially, do not inquire about salary, vacations, bonuses, retirement, or any other benefits - you can deal with this at second interview stage.
Never be overbearing, overly aggressive, conceited, or leave the opinion that "you know it all."
Do not make excuses or be evasive for unfavourable factors in your background.
Closing the interview:
The cardinal rule is: Respectfully thank the interviewer for his/her time; let him/her know that you enjoyed learning more about the company and position; and finally, that you will look forward to hearing from the interviewer.