Preparing for a job interview

Mental preparation

So you got called in for an interview! You now need to prepare yourself and stand out from the rest. The interview is your chance to show the company that you are the best person for the job.

Research the company and the job: find information about the company’s structure, products and successes through the internet, newspaper reports, from their own publications or brochures, annual reports, etc. Demonstrate this knowledge during the interview.

This knowledge will also help you formulate questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview. This shows that you are interested and motivated.

Think about common questions you could be asked and prepare some possible answers. For eg. “Why do you want this job?” “Tell me about yourself”. Surfing the net or using the library will give you ample help on typical questions and answers. You could even rehearse some of the questions and answers with a good friend.

Make sure you know where the interview is taking place and how to get there.

In case you are accepted for the job, know how you are going to get to and from work, if you don’t drive.

Get your clothes ready and polish your shoes the day before the interview.

Take a folder with extra copies of your CV, and copies of your certificates and list of references.

Leave your mobile phone and iPod switched off in your bag/ briefcase.

 

Making a good impression

First impressions count and it is imperative that you are careful and take some pains in your decision of what to wear at an interview. Here are some tips of what is usually preferred.


Dress code for an interview:


Males

  • Suit (dark colours eg. navy, black, dark grey)
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Belt
  • Dark socks and conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewellery
  • Neat hairstyle
  • Limited aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed clean nails


Females

  • Suit (dark colours)
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes and neutral coloured tights
  • Limited jewellery (no jewellery is better than cheap jewellery)
  • Neat hairstyle
  • Light make-up and minimal perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails


What NOT to wear:
jeans, t-shirt, sweat suits, rumpled un-ironed clothes, shorts, skirts that are too short, blouses that are too low-cut or too short (don’t show your cleavage or your belly), cover tattoos, don’t show pierced body parts - remove rings (only one pair of earrings allowed and not the dangling ones), arms full of bracelets, high spiked heels, runners, trousers falling down (or too low cut or else too tight), visible underwear (such as tongs, briefs, boxers showing above trousers or bra and bra straps), spiked hair.

 

Behavioral Do’s and Don’t’s

Do

  • Arrive on time.
  • Address people as Mr, Mrs or Ms unless they say otherwise
  • Wait to be asked to sit down
  • Smile occasionally
  • Make eye contact with your interviewer(s)
  • Remember to relax
  • Be friendly and polite
  • Be confident but not overconfident
  • Present your points positively
  • Be concise in your answers


Don’t

  • Don’t slouch but sit upright
  • Don’t smoke, eat, drink or chew gum
  • Don’t fiddle with your hair, clothes or pens or keep crossing and uncrossing your legs
  • Don’t be critical of other companies, previous employers or other people
  • Don’t swear even mildly
  • Don’t argue
  • Don’t draw attention to your weaknesses or make apologies or constant references to them
  • Don’t mention other people of influence to impress the interviewer(s)
  • Don’t invent achievements to impress
  • Don’t be intimidated by your interviewers.

 

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