How to succeed at interviews

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Interview preparation.

Quality preparation is of paramount importance in as far as interviews are concerned. The best prepared individual gets the job.

Preparation is evidence of professionalism, and interest in the company but above all, it is an indication of a way a candidate is likely to work. If someone doesn’t prepare for a job interview it may mean that even in their career, they do not put effort. Preparation is vital.

 So what do we mean by preparation?

First we mean research, gathering as much information as possible. You need to:

*visit the company’s website.

A lot of companies in south Africa has put u their business platforms online. This can be your source of information about your prospective employer. Use it well and use it to your advantage.

*read their cooperate brochure, pamphlets, flyers annual reports and accounts.

Pick a topic of interest on that piece of literature. It may be a new product, service or way of doing business. This information you can use it when they ask you what you know about their company.

*ask for divisional brochures and further literature if there are available.

All these informercial ( information and commercial) documents can be harnessed to work in your favor

*review the job spec and seek as much information about the role as possible.

Research on what is expected of you. Your role. Ponder on questions such as what new thing are you going to bring in the company if you a given this job. Say something possible and unique.

*regularly monitor the financial press.

Is the company progressing or going in the gutters. If they are prospering, find a way to congratulate them in the interview.

Good ways to get this information include asking your recruitment agency, making use of contacts and searching press coverage

Exposure to this information about your prospective employer gives you an advantage. It familiarizes you with the company

Having done your research, use it to develop questions and points of view which will help you gather key information during the interview as well as impressing the interviewer. Also, plan answers to questions they are likely to ask.

The final stage of preparation is rehearsal. Practice at presenting yourself. The best way to do it is to arrange a mock interview with your recruitment consultant or a trained interviewer.

 Interviews

There is so much to say about interviews but we do not have unlimited time here. No silver medal covers the subject in considerable depth. There is no the right way to do it.

We just help each other on as far as one can handle himself or herself during the interview so that they may increase their chances of getting hired by their prospective employer, so please here are some of the important points to bear in mind:

  1. Interviews are unlike the cv filtering stage in that people will be looking for the reasons to hire you not to fire you. They want you that is why they called you so that they get reasons to substantiate their choice. So relax. Most interviewers want to be impressed by the people they are interviewing. Be confident. Believe in yourself.
  2. 2. First impression are crucial. Most interviewers make a decision within minutes of meeting someone. Here’s a check list to help those opening minutes go well:

– be punctual.

–be polite to the secretary, receptionist etc, they can be very influential.

– dress smartly and professionally.

–smile and give a confident handshake.

–politely thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet you.

–have an easy non-work topic ready as an ice breaker. Choose a topic free from politics, religion or any other sensitive matter to just get the ball rolling and make the atmosphere a little bit comfortable..

– if they don’t take the initiative immediately, open the conversation

-listen as well as talk. Make sure you are paying attention. Do not listen to answer, instead, listen to understand.

  • Maintain considerable eye contact.
  • Gesture well and appropriately. Do not overdo it

     –be friendly and appear enthusiastic

  • When the interview go underway, let the interviewer lead. They may well have a series of topics they need to cover and a set time, so let them control the conversation. Let them decide when to end a certain discussion and start on a new one. They call the shots not you.
  • Be mindful of the questions the interviewer is trying to ask you and help give them the answers. Do not beat about the bush on the question. Make sure you are answering the question. A lot of people have a problem of talking about the question not really answering it. Go straight to the point. Remember the most important question is would I like working with this person? Display a positive attitude even in the way you talk. Avoid unnecessary mannerisms or colloquial language.
  • Ask good questions which demonstrate you have done your homework and thought well about it.show the interviewer that you are really interested in working for this particular company. Display an interest not on you getting a job but on the wellbeing of the company itself.
  • When answering questions, don’t be afraid of taking a moment to think before plunging in. wait a little bit, pause reflect and then answer the question. It will give you an aura of a well thought person who does not rush in giving answers.
  • If asked  for your strengths and weaknesses, start with your strengths and offer only one weakness.

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