job search mailing list home about quest career resources contact
The Job Interview

Points to consider:

Attitude
The right attitude is everything! Make sure that you are relaxed before the interview so that you can project a positive attitude. Be friendly, motivated, ambitious, professional and alert. Remember to smile. If you get very nervous - tell the client that you are very nervous and this will immediately make you feel more relaxed.

Presentation
First impressions count most. Dress neatly, be clean and fresh and ensure that you are groomed appropriately. Ask the consultant what the company would expect for each interview (informal, corporate, conservative, etc.) and make sure that you are able to make the initial good impression through your appearance.

Preparation
Ask someone close to you, to help you prepare. Stage a mock interview at home the night before and make sure you can answer questions like:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skills do you have to offer this company?
  • Are you a team player or do you prefer to work on you own?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are your short/long term goals?
  • How do you deal with pressure? Give examples.
  • Where do you see yourself going in this company?
  • Why should our company employ you - what do you have to offer the company (put yourself in a potential employer's shoes and think about the answer to this question.)
  • Why would you wish to work for this company?
  • Get feedback from your mock interview about the way you answered the questions, your posture, whether you understood the questions, your facial expressions: did you smile or did you look tense?

Self Knowledge
Make sure you know what you want from yourself. If you go to an interview for a creditor's clerk position and you tell the interviewer that you wish to go into computer programming, he/she will not take you seriously. Employers are looking for people who want to grow and learn in a particular field, and they will not be able to accommodate you if your short-term goal is to be something totally different to the position you are applying for.

If, by the end of the interview, you are feeling that you would really like the job, make it known! Enthusiasm and commitment, if felt, must be shown - it is not cool to be cool.

Answering Questions
If you do not understand a question, ask the client to repeat it so that you are able to answer correctly. Do not feel shy in this regard. Make sure you know what is being asked and answer appropriately. Do not only answer 'yes' or 'no'! For example if you are asked whether you can handle pressure, 'yes' is not an appropriate answer - give examples of situations where you have handled a situation where you felt pressured.

Research
Try to find out a little about the company before you go on the interview. Either ask the consultant who has set up the interview, or consult magazines in your local library or the Internet. It also helps to watch the press for a few days prior to the interview as you may pick up useful information relating to the company's performance.

Asking Questions
Do not be shy to ask the client questions. Interviewers enjoy telling you about their companies and your interest in them will give them an indication of your commitment. If you know the answer, don't ask the question. Examples of questions which you may ask:

About the company:

  • How long has the company been in operation?
  • What are the main products the company trades in?
  • Who are the major customers of the company?
  • Are there branches or subsidiaries in other centers?
  • How many employees are there in the company?
  • Has the company recently won any major contracts or awards?

About the position you are applying for:

  • How long has this position been in existence?
  • What are the promotional opportunities in the company?
  • What are the client's three most important expectations of the person filling this position?
  • What is the exact nature of the job?
  • What would he/she consider to be the most important skills required for the job?
  • What is the company culture like? Do colleagues interact socially, at sports or in teams' etc.?

Do NOT:

  • Be late for your appointment!
  • Leave your cell phone on!
  • Leave your pager on!
  • Fidget

The most important thing to remember is - BE YOURSELF. Let the client see your best qualities come forward and make sure that you emphasize your skills and competency to do the required job. But remember: you can only present your skills and experience relative to the job if you fully understand the position. It is your responsibility to make sure that you establish this either prior to or during the interview. Don't be afraid to ask questions!

This information was taken from LAMS, Ltd., South Africa.