First impressions count. Let’s face it, we all judge someone when we first meet them, even if we don’t know the person all that well. We make assumptions and prejudicial decisions.
Research proves that one third of employers will make a hiring decision in the first 90 seconds of a job interview.
A confident, positive attitude when you enter the room accounts for 55% of the impact in the interview. So, make those first 5 minutes count.
Proper preparation therefore is the key to a successful job interview.
Here are our top tips for what to do before your interview.
Research the company thoroughly beforehand.
Get to know your interviewers name, what they look like and their job position. Search for your interviewer or prospective employer on LinkedIn.
See if you have any mutual acquaintances in common. Ask about the interviewer or company.
Look at the company’s website, their annual reports, social media networks, newspaper or business magazine articles, strategic plans, vision and mission statements etc.
Talk to current employees. Follow them on social media networks.
Get to know as much as possible about the company. This knowledge will offer a competitive advantage by helping you stand out from the crowd.
Review your covering letter and CV. This will help refresh your memory about your skills and previous employment experience.
These documents should already be tailor-made according to the criteria in the job advertisement.
How does your experience, skills and abilities relate to each of the requirements in the advertisement?
Use examples from these documents to demonstrate why you are the best applicant for the job. Explain and motivate your application using examples.
Practice your interview with a close friend (peer) or family member, preferably someone who gives good feedback and constructive criticism.
Stage a mock role-playing interview.
Getting good feedback from your friend can help you improve. We don’t always know how we project ourselves.
Practice makes perfect. Practicing helps you gain confidence by getting comfortable giving answers. This also helps ease any anxiety.
It also helps you loosely- structure your interview. Avoid sounding too robotic during the real interview by giving stiff, scripted answers. Rather remember a brief outline of what you want to say.
• Prepare for Tricky Questions:
Anticipate some of the tougher questions before you step into the interview.
Easy questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “talk me through your CV” are asked early on in the interview.
Find a strong statement to help you start. Prepare a brief response stating your job title and how many years of experience you have in the industry.
Follow this with a summarized career history leading up to your current position. Emphasize why you are a good fit for the job.
There are many tricky questions interviewers ask to get you off your guard.
Common questions include:
Why are you the best person for this position?
Why do you want this job?
How will you advance this company?
What skills do you bring to the company?
Why did you choose this company?
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
What is your biggest flaw?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why did you leave your last job?
Be honest and sincere when answering them.
• The Day Before:
Print out copies of your CV and your cover letter and place them in a neat folder.
Create a neat portfolio of work samples, if the job you are applying for warrants it. This portfolio will help prove your skills and promote your talents.
Gather samples of your work such as PowerPoints, awards, appraisal reports, spread sheets, reference letters, project correspondence etc. to present during the interview.
Make sure you know where to go. If you are going by car; do you know where to park? Do a trail run.
Make sure you know the bus, train or taxi timetables if you are using public transport.
Choose your outfit. Get a haircut. Make sure you are clean, neat and presentable.
Dressing for success promotes your professional image (brand) and boosts your confidence.
Pic Credit: Roger Clark, Job Folk.