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Tips for preparing for an interview

An interview is an opportunity to present your best qualities and skills. It is a chance to summarise information from your resume and let your personality shine through. Based on the above, the employer will decide if they like you and whether or not you will fit in with the company values and culture. A first impression can be crucial, so it is important to avoid giving the wrong impression at the offset.

Download the the PDF interview tips or read below.

The interview

Know as much as possible about the company - the interviewer will want to know why you are interested in joining this particular organisation. This will boost your credibility with the interviewer and will help you to formulate intelligent questions to ask.

Have at least 3 questions - once the interview is over and you are asked if you “have any questions”, make sure you have at least 3 relevant questions. This will show that you are genuinely interested in the company and that you took some time to think of aspects to inquire about.

Rehearse beforehand - prior to the interview, prepare answers to questions the interviewer is likely to ask, such as "What are your strengths and weaknesses?", "Why do you want to work here?", "Why should we hire you?", and the ever popular "Tell me about yourself".

Showcase how you will add value to the company - you will need to convey how you will help the company reach its goals. Show measurable accomplishments and how you were able to solve problems, connect with fellow co-workers and manage a project. It’s not always about credentials but what you have demonstrated towards measurable developments.

Tips for answering questions

Make sure to listen to the entire question - listen carefully before answering. Understanding what is being asked will determine if you will be able to give a thorough answer or not. If you do not fully
understand the question get clarification right away.

Answer questions fully - do not be short or too quick. Elaborate on key points, citing examples. On the other hand, do not ramble on and on. Keep in mind the number of questions that need to be answered during the allotted time.

Maintain eye contact - when interviewing in front of a panel or a group of interviewers, one needs to answer each question while maintaining eye contact with everyone in the group. While you are being observed on ‘how you answer the question’, you are also being observed on ‘how you speak in front of a group’.

Myths about job interviews

If you are shy, you should skip the interview. This is wrong! The interviewer is getting to know you and most individuals light up when they are talking about something they are passionate about.

The more charming you are, the higher your rating will be. It does not hurt to be charming, but the interviewer is looking for certain qualities - substance is worth more than a superficial personality.

Interviews are formal and you should always wear a suit. If it is summer, a suit will be too hot – just make sure you look as professional as you possibly can.

Interviewers want to intimidate you. Most interviewers want to make you feel comfortable to see your true personality. However, there are a few who like to see you under stress. These are few and far between!

Short interviews are bad and long interviews are good. The length of the interview depends on the interviewer’s schedule. Remember that the interviewer has to write you up before the next candidate comes in. This requires time hence they may only be able to spend 15 - 30 minutes with you.

You should not say anything controversial. Most candidates are scared to say anything negative about their current or past work environments. This makes for a boring interview. Try to make negatives into positives by learning from the situation. If you do not say anything negative it will turn into a cookie-cutter interview.

You are ruined if the interviewer asks a question you cannot answer. If this occurs, just say, “I have to give that question a little more thought before answering” or “That is an excellent question but I have to admit I simply do not have an answer.” If the interviewer is encouraging, the interview went well. It is the interviewer’s job to make the applicant feel like the interview went well.

If the interviewer is unfriendly or businesslike, the interview went poorly. This is not true. Some interviewers have a poker-face when interviewing. Be careful not to judge the interviewers by a superficial reaction. What matters is what the interviewer writes about you.


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