Interview Tips

Always research the company that you are going to be working for.  Go onto their website and see what they do, if they are national or international, what services they offer, etc.

Always make sure that you make a good first impression as this is the only time that you will be able to convince the interviewer that you are more capable of doing the job than any other candidate, as a job is usually offered based on the assessment of your performance during the interview.

What then, are the criteria for selection in this process?

It is always best to select key tasks from your own experiences which demonstrate that you can do the job, and will do it better than any other candidates.  This is done by asking the right questions, knowing the problems faced in that position, and even offering the solutions to such problems.

Remember an interviewer is not trying to trick or trap you, nor are they going to penalise or find fault with you.  In fact, they are most relieved if you can convince them that you are the right person for the job and the position will not be vacant anymore.

Here are some of the questions that might be asked of you in your interview:

  • What are your career objectives?
  • What courses did you take up and why?
  • What do you do particularly well at school?
  • Where does your main experience lie?
  • What are your main responsibilities in your present job?
  • How much time do you spend on each aspect of your job?
  • Which aspect of the job do you like most?
  • What are the main problem areas of your job?
  • Do you have a solution for that problem?
  • Why do you want to leave your present employer?
  • What is expected in your first year if you are offered this job?
  • What do you want to be doing in five years’ time?
  • How will you benefit from this job?
  • Are there any people you find difficulty working with?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why should the company hire you?

Avoid using “trial and error” in job interviews, by making mistakes in front of your prospect employer. Tactful answers to the above questions will impress the interviewer and most importantly of all, you will stand out among other candidates to get the job offer. BE CONFIDENT AND ALWAYS SMILE

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot in the Interview

1) Stop using generalities, like “I’m a problem-solver” and “I’m a real team player.”Generalities about strengths are ignored, forgotten, or not heard. When interviewers evaluate a candidate they recall the examples and stories the candidate used to prove a point. From these examples they conclude to what degree the candidate possesses the strength or attribute.

2) Never say “I don’t have any weaknesses.” Everybody has weaknesses. The point of the question isn’t even about weaknesses; it’s an attempt to determine your character, honesty, and self-awareness. On the surface, saying you don’t have any weaknesses implies you’ve stopped growing, can’t learn anything new and can’t be coached. Openly stating a weakness, and describing how you’ve learned from it, indicates a willingness to get better.

3) Don’t give answers that are too short or too long. In an interview, you’re judged not just on the content of your answers, but also the quality of how they’re presented. The best answers are 1-2 minutes long. If your answers are too short you’re assumed to lack ability or insight, or interest. Worse, you force the interviewer to work too hard. Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.

4) Don’t ask “what’s in it for me” questions. At the beginning of the interview, assume you’re the seller, even if you’re the hottest, in-demand candidate in the world. Asking self-serving questions like “what does the job pay?” or questions about benefits and related superficialities, are an instant turn-off. It’s certainly okay to ask about these things once the interviewer signals that you’re a serious candidate for the job.

5) Don’t look at your resume. During the interview you must not look at your resume. This is a sign you’re either nervous (which you probably will be), or you fabricated something. Interviewers expect you to know your work history completely, including companies, dates, job titles, roles, responsibilities and key accomplishments. To help recall these important details, write them down on a few 3X5 cards before the interview. (Of course, don’t look at them during the interview.)

How to Gain an Interviewing Advantage

1) Be prepared. An interview is more important than any major presentation you’ll ever make. You need to be just as prepared. Part of this is reading about the company, the industry, the job description, and the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll be meeting. But this is just a start. Knowing yourself, your resume and work history inside-out, your strengths and weaknesses, and preparing to ask and answer questions is the hard part.

2) Ask insightful questions. Interviewers judge candidates on three big areas: the candidate’s first impression, the quality of the answers, and the quality of the questions. Great questions can often overcome weaknesses in the other areas. The best questions focus on the impact and challenges of the role, and the relationship of the job to the business.

3) Convert the interview into a past performance review. If the interviewer seems to be box-checking skills and experiences, ask about the major performance expectations for the job. Then give examples of your biggest accomplishments to validate you’ve done work that’s comparable to what needs to be done.

4) Prove strengths and neutralize weaknesses. Write down all of your strengths and weaknesses. For each strength come up with 1-2 actual accomplishments you can use as examples to prove the strength. To neutralize a weakness, describe how you converted it into a learning experience, or how you manage to deal with it.

5) Ask about next steps. Towards the end of the interview, ask where you stand, and find out the next steps. If the interviewer is vague or non-committal, you’re probably not going to be called back. In this case, ask if there is something missing in your background or skill set that the job requires. Once you know this, you might be able to minimize the concern by describing some comparable accomplishment that was previously not considered.

For most hiring managers, the interviewer is more about box-checking and validating skills, combined with a big dose of gut feel and intuition. A savvy job-seeker can turn the odds in his or her favor by being prepared, recognizing that the interview isn’t a lecture or a series of 30-second responses, and asking insightful, business-oriented questions. Preventing what can go wrong is a great way to ensure things go right.

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