An adage in interviewing says the most qualified applicant is not always the one who is hired — which means the hired candidate is often the job-seeker who does the best job in responding to interview questions and showcasing his or her fit with the job, department, and organization.
Typical Interview Format
– Meet and greet
– Candidate is expected to talk a bit about him/herself, talk through your CV
– Questions from potential employer to see if candidate is a fit for the company and specific job
– Employer will explain a bit about the company/division and what the role entails
– Candidate is given an opportunity to ask a few questions
– Employer will explain the next steps after the interview
– End of interview
*please note the above format is just to give you an idea of what to generally expect, interview formats will differ from company to company depending on various factors
1. Social Media
These days Employers can look you up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to see if there are any ‘red flags’. Ensure you are not posting undesirable content about yourself, as potential Employers can use this to do background checks, not everything has to go on social media.
2. Dress well
Plan an outfit that fits the organization and its culture, striving for a fresh professional appearance. Wear clothing that fits and is clean, well pressed/ironed. Also ensure that your hair and nails are neat, your breath is fresh, and ladies wear minimal jewellery and make up.
3. Be Prepared for the Interview
Research and read up: on Employer, Hiring Manager and Job you applied for. The more research you do the better prepared you will be for the interview questions. Check Employers website, published articles and chat with your network of contacts who may know a bit about the company. Review common interview questions and prepare responses for the questions, practice these responses with someone you can trust to give honest and productive feedback. Bring along extra copies of your CV (just in case), bring a notepad and paper in case you need to write anything down.
4. Be on Time
There is no excuse for arriving late for an interview, other than some sort of disaster. Aim at arriving 15 – 30 minutes early. This will give you time to find the actual offices in case of any unforeseen delays (traffic, GPS malfunction etc), you will also have enough time to find the interview room and compose yourself as you wait for interview to start. You can also use this time to observe the dynamics of the work place. Switch your phone off or put it on silent before the interview starts.
5. Make a Good First Impression
When you meet the Hiring Manager smile, make eye contact and give a good firm handshake. Ensure you have a positive and upbeat attitude.
6. Be Focused, Confident, Concise and Sell Yourself
Listen carefully to the questions asked so that you actually answer each question well. Keep your responses short and to the point, and ensure you are answering questions authentically. Avoid long, rambling responses that could bore your interviewer, and lying in an interview is a no no. Be yourself; be truthful and authentic in your responses. Be ready to provide solid examples of your accomplishments, your achievements and why you believe you are the right person for the role. Never bad mouth anyone in an interview (previous boss etc), don’t do it, it only makes you look bad.
7. Maintain Good Body Language
Keep eye contact with all people who are interviewing you, sit up straight (ie. Don’t slouch) and maintain a good posture. Listen actively by nodding, and asking follow up questions to show you are listening. Avoid fidgeting, playing with a pen etc as this can be distraction and also make you look nervous.
8. Ask Insightful Questions
Ask questions about the job, about the company and the team that is interviewing you – this shows that you are interested in the role. Prepare these questions before the interview, have them on your notepad and ask them towards the end of the interview.
Also ask follow up questions to some of the points the Hiring Manager has discussed.
Avoid asking about money or salary at your first interview. Focus on getting the Hiring Manger to get to know you and to like you enough to call you for a follow up interview. If not already discussed, ask the Hiring Manager what the next steps are in the recruitment process.
9. E-mail a personalised Thank You Note
Start the process while at the interview, thanking each person who interviewed you. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the interview will not secure you the job offer, but doing so will certainly give you an edge over any of the other finalists who did not bother to send thank-you’s.