Tips and Hints

The job interview is one of the most important parts of the job search process; it can also be the most daunting. The fact that you were requested for a job interview is very encouraging and suggests that the employer has seen something in the resume that he/she likes.

Below are some hints that will make you feel more prepared for the interview and also more confident.

Before the interview:

  • Organise your clothes for the interview in advance. Remember to dress conservatively - suitable to the culture of the company and the image you wish to project.
  • Research the company (using published materials and contacts) so that you are able to ask intelligent questions

Arrival and initial greeting in the interview:

Be on time! This means not only don't be late, but don't be really early

  • Don't arrive with your "baggage". If you walk in carrying unnecessary items, you will give the wrong first impression
  • You get one chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one. Smile. Make eye contact. Have a firm handshake.
  • Interviewers frequently use "small talk" to break the ice. Follow the interviewer's lead of this, but don't initiate a whole lot of small talk yourself. This could set the wrong tone.

No two styles of interviewing are the same. Go with the flow, but remember that interviewers value qualities such as:

  • warmth
  • honesty (never lie)
  • rapport
  • energy
  • enthusiasm
  • clear communication (not waffly)

Normally, the interviewer gets information from you and tells you about the position. However, this order of doing things varies from one interviewer to the next; just remember to follow the lead of the interviewer.

Finishing the interview and showing interest:

Have a few good questions to ask towards the end, but not too many in the first interview. Some examples of appropriate questions:

  • Responsibilities and priorities?
  • Reporting relationships?
  • Financial, human resources, equipment and time resources?
  • Criteria for measuring success?
  • What are the next steps?
  • What might the future look like?
  • Don't initiate any discussion about remuneration at the first interview; however be open and honest if the interviewer asks.
  • Ask (if you haven't been told) what the process will be after the interviews have been completed.
  • Have a couple of positive comments to make that "re-cap" some of the positive highlights of the conversation. Reiterate your strengths but do not waffle!
  • If you are genuinely interested, say so.
  • Leave the interviewer with a good impression - smile. Firm handshake. Don't blow it by relaxing too soon.

Here are some common traps - avoid them!!!!!

  • Being too friendly.
  • Being too glib.
  • Saying "we" instead of referring to your own achievements.
  • Making very general statements which lack substance
  • Being over enthusiastic.
  • Being poorly prepared.
  • Slouching, mumbling, speaking slowly, or speaking very quickly
  • Knowing nothing about the company to whom you are talking.
  • Making derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.

Some Helpful Comments:

  • Not all positions you are applying for will be right for you - the purpose of the interview is to help you (as well as the company) sort out if the "fit" is right.
  • Remain positive.

The most commonly asked questions at interviews

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What kind of position are you looking for? Why do you want to work in this industry/company?
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • What did you do in your previous position? How was your time allocated? What did you like best/least about it? How many people did you supervise? What was the budget responsibility? What did you accomplish?
  • Give me some examples of the most difficult problems you encountered in your previous position. How did you resolve them?
  • How was your performance measured?
  • How did you get along with your boss? What are the qualities you look for in a manager?
  • How would you describe your own operating/management style?
  • What do you consider to be your strongest qualities? What are some of your weaknesses?
  • What position do you hope to reach in five years?
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