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Your Career Journey: Preparing for an interview

Introduction

Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry. Your palms are clammy and you feel sweat beading on your face. Sounds like a heart-attack? Maybe you have over-exerted yourself? No, you are probably just preparing for an interview!

dressing professionally is part of preparing for an interview

Death will be a great relief. No more interviews.

Katharine Hepburn

Interviews can be a daunting experience, but they don’t have to be. If you are well-prepared well and exude confidence, you can thrive during your interview!
In this blog post we will have a look at a few interview tips shared by a local Recruitment Consultant, Jackie Cory.

Before the interview

Your interview process starts long before you walk through that door.

Firstly, do your research! You must know the company that is interviewing you. Glassdoor suggests 7 things to research before any job interview:

  • The skills and experience the company values
  • Key players of the organization
  • News and recent events about the employer
  • The company’s culture, mission, and values
  • Clients, products, and services
  • The inside scoop
  • The person interviewing you

It is also important to understand the competencies and requirements needed for the role. So, work through the job description thoroughly before the interview. This will help identify areas where you feel you will add value based on your skills and experience.

Recently companies have started to ask situational based questions. In other words, they ask you to explain how you previously dealt with difficult work situations. So, have practical scenarios in mind that you can share to show how you solved problems at work. If you have prepared a few answers, this may help you to answer some of the trickier questions that they may pose.

The big day

Jackie suggests these interview preparation tips:

  • Always arrive at the client company on time, preferably early. Arriving 10 minutes early will build in a buffer for the unexpected. For example, you may need to go through a security clearance check at reception.
  • Your appearance is crucial. You should be well-groomed and dress professionally. Remember that first impressions are made within the first 5 seconds of a meeting!
  • Have all your documents on hand. This includes a copy of your resume and certificates for the interviewer. You may also need your identity card in case security asks for it.
  • Try to have a good night’s rest the day before your interview. You can also do relaxation exercises, even if it is a few deep breaths before you walk into the interview.
  • Ask for a glass of water if you are feeling nervous. This will help for if you have a dry mouth during the interview.
  • Know your strengths and how you can add value to the company.
  • After the interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity to present yourself. You can also ask them what the next steps will be. You may find there is a second interview (could be a panel) or psychometric assessments to complete.

Interviewing methods

In-person interviews are ideal. They allow for positive engagement and a mutually receptive connection with the interviewer. However, if you have geographical challenges, the interviewer may ask for a video or telephonic interview.

Remember that telephonic and video interviews are impersonal. They can result in frustration if you have poor connectivity or reception.

The process of telephonic or video interviews remain the same. You still need to prepare before the interview and have a copy of your documents available. The interviewer may still ask questions about your work-related duties or achievements.

For a Skype interview from home, remember to still dress appropriately and ensure your grooming is neat and presentable.

Jackie advises candidates to ask a few pertinent questions. This helps prevent the interview from being one-sided – even when being interviewed telephonically. It also helps you ascertain if this is the right employment opportunity for yourself.

Common questions to ask the interviewer

Below are a few questions you can ask the interviewer to show your interest in the company.

  • What are your expectations of me in this role? (Jackie’s personal favourite)
  • Will there be a handover period?
  • Is this a newly created position or a replacement?
  • Why did the previous employee leave?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • Can you tell me more about his/her management style?
  • Is there any opportunity for advancement?
  • Can you tell me a little about the company culture?

Examples of situational questions

These are the types of questions that you can prepare for in advance. However, be careful that you don’t force a prepared answer to fit into the interviewer’s question.

  • Tell me about a time at work:
    • that you handled a conflict situation?
    • when you missed an important deadline?
    • that made you feel extremely pressurised?
    • that your Manager complimented your work performance?
  • Tell me about a time when your work stimulated you?
  • Tell me about your relationship with your colleagues?
  • What is your approach to an autocratic Manager?
  • What have you done in your organization that has added value?

Conclusion

There is probably a lot to be nervous about when going for an interview… But, if you follow these tips, you will go a long way to being prepared for your interview!

If you are preparing for an interview, contact Jackie for a one-on-one pre-interview coaching session. She will help you to prepare for target selected (situational) questions during this session. She can also administer a DISC profile which will help identify your behavioural strengths.

Should you need more information on the DISC assessment, please do not hesitate to contact Jackie Cory. (jackie@jackiecrecruit.co.za)

Lastly, leave us a comment below if this article helped you or if you have any other questions about preparing for an interview. 😊