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What to do During your Job Interview

Job Interview

So, it's finally here. It's the day of your job interview and you're nervous. Don't stress, just do your best.

Proper preparation is key and will ease any anxiety you may have.

Here are a few tips to help you make a good first impression:

Get Ready:

Eat a healthy breakfast. Foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E (such as nuts and seeds) improve mental alertness.

Dress to Impress:

Appearances matter so dress your best. This promotes your professional image (brand) and boosts your confidence.

Make sure your appropriate attire is neat, tidy and presentable. Dress smartly (formally), conservatively and professionally.

Avoid wearing bright, flamboyant clothes. Rather choose neutral, subdued or dark colours such as browns, blues, tans/beige, grays and black.

Make sure your clothes are clean and aren’t wrinkled. Keep your make-up looking natural. Don’t wear too much jewellery.

Good personal hygiene is also important. Make sure you are clean and well-groomed, especially your hair and nails. If your hair or beard is too long, get a haircut or a clean shave.

The company dress code usually depends on the type of job you are applying for and the sector it is in.

It is better to be appropriately over-dressed than too casually under-dressed. Ask the recruiter or receptionist beforehand if you are unsure.

Be Early:

Never arrive late. Arrive 15 - 20 minutes early instead, before the interview begins.

Use the bathroom. Check your hair and outfit. Make sure it is clean and neat.

Corporate Etiquette:

Greet everyone when you arrive. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Smile confidently.

Be friendly, polite and courteous to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the interviewer or hiring manager.

Don't use your phone or other electronic devices while waiting. Rather read a book, trade magazine or review your CV. Doing this gives off a better impression.

Say “please” and “thank you”.

Body Language:

Greet your interviewer or hiring manager as soon as you meet them.

Look them in the eye and smile confidently. Then say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you...” Greet them by their official title (Mr./Ms./Dr. etc.) and their surname. Shake their hand/s firmly.

Ask the receptionist or recruiter before the interview if you unsure of the pronunciation or your interviewer’s name.

Wait until someone offers you a seat. Once seated, maintain eye contact and smile confidently. Be careful not to smile too much though as this may indicate you are not serious.

Try not to slouch in your chair. Rather sit upright or lean forward slightly. Listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying. Don’t chew any gum during the interview.

Show confidence and enthusiasm for the job position and the company but don’t act like you are desperate for any kind of job opportunity.

Persuade:

Start with a strong statement. Then briefly state your job title and how many years of experience you have in the industry.

Follow this with a summarised career history leading up to your current position.

Try to structure your responses into 30-90 second chunks. Avoid sounding too robotic though by giving stiff, scripted responses.

The interview should have a conversational flow, instead of a structured question and answer speech.

Persuade your interviewer by selling your unique knowledge, skills, talents and abilities. Emphasise why you are a good fit for the job.

Explain and motivate your sales pitch using examples. Be open, honest and sincere.

Let your charisma and personality shine.

Think of some Questions:

Think of a few relevant questions beforehand which you can ask your interviewer. Don’t ask too many though as it may seem as if you have not done any research.

Some questions can include:

1) Who would make the ideal candidate for this position?
2) How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?
3) What were the best things about the last person who held this position?
4) What are three ways I can contribute to the company beyond the job description?
5) How can I best contribute to the department’s goals?
6) How do you see me best contributing to the corporate culture and morale?
7) What do you see as the biggest challenges of working here and how can I overcome those challenges?
8) What is your vision for where the company or department will be in one year? In 3-5 years?
9) How can I best help you and the team succeed?
10) What are the chances for professional growth in this job opportunity?

Evidence:

When the conversation becomes stilted, take out your portfolio of work samples. Briefly talk about a few of your main work samples and any previous projects you participated in.

This portfolio will help prove your skills and promote your talents.

So, what now?

When the interview is finished ask your interviewer, “What happens next?” Are there any follow up interviews or meetings. Do you have to take a test etc.

Pic Credit: Karen Vaughn, The First Lady Files, W TLC Naptown

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