Job interviews can be stressful – even for those who have lots of working experience. Most people experience some level of stress just before the interview day. The only way to be calm is to be prepared.
Here are a couple of tips we offer candidates for their journey into finding the ideal job:
Know the job and the company you are interviewing for. Research the company and the position well before you arrive. Understand their values, what they do and the background to the organisation. Don’t ask questions that you should already know the answers to. Study their website, check their social media activities. Check for recent press releases the company might have issued. The more informed you are, the more relaxed, and impressive, you’ll be.
Make sure that your social media pages are ‘clean’, and a good representation of you before you apply for any job. Sometimes recruiters will scan a candidate’s social media activities to see what kind of person you are and how you behave in your personal time.
On the day
Take a copy of your cv with you and always make sure you are familiar with the dates on your CV. If someone has helped you compile your CV, make sure there are no spelling errors or gaps in your timeline – if you were unemployed for 6 months, be upfront and include that. Similarly, if you did some part-time studies, include that too.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
Take a notebook and a pen into the interview with you (a laptop or tablet can make you seem disinterested and distracted). Make notes. It shows you are taking things seriously. You can also make notes of the questions you want to remember to ask at the end of the interview. Here are some important tips to remember:
- Be On Time!!!:
- If you’re early, you’re on time, if you are on time, you are late!
- If you know you will be late, call BEFORE your interview and inform them. Rather that than trying to make excuses after your interview.
- Dress Code: Business dress code is not to be confused with your going out clothes. Steer away from jeans where possible. Smart pants and a collared shirt with closed formal shoes for males and plain pants and shirt, dress or skirt for females.
A guiding principle to help is to steer away from the B’s : No need to show Boobs, Bums, Belly Buttons, Biceps.
- Take a bottle of water with you and some mints. Often you are expected to wait a while before your interview and unfortunately are not offered something to drink.
- Don’t slouch. The interview process starts from the minute you walk into the office. You may be observed without you being aware of it. Sit upright in your chair and ensure that you are not talking loudly and being inappropriate while you wait.
- Keep your phone packed away. This is not the time to take Selfies or communicate with your friends. Be alert, go over all your notes.
- When you meet your interviewer, extend your hand to introduce yourself. This is common practice and by no means forward. Shake their hand and introduce yourself. “Good day I am Jane”.
- Always be honest, even if you don’t have the answer or don’t understand the question. Rather call it out immediately than make up a story. Your interviewer will appreciate your honesty.
- Inform your interviewer that you are making notes and ask if that is ok with them. At the end of the interview, most interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. This is your chance to put your questions to them. It shows you are enthusiastic. But don’t ask for the sake of asking. Keep your questions relevant to the conversation and the process.
- When the interview is over, thank the interviewer for their time and always ask when you can expect a response and or what the next steps are.
What to expect as part of the interview?
- Biographical questions – about you, your experience, your salary expectations, your notice period.
- Behavioural Based Questions or Targeted Selections Questions – you need to pay close attention to these questions. These are based on a particular scenario that the interviewer will ask you about. They will try to understand the situation you were in, so they will pose the question “Tell me about a time when…..” you will then need to respond and comment on that scenario and the outcomes.
Nicky Touluros is a director and co-founder of Mindmatch. She has more than 20 years of HR and business development experience in the BPO sector