JOB INTERVIEW TIPS
Know the company
• Find out as much ad you can about the position, the company and its needs, so you can show how your
background meets those needs. Telephone the receptionist and ask for copies of company brochures.
Be friendly and professional on the phone when you go and pick up those brochures. (A receptionist who
takes a liking to you can be one of your most important allies in getting the job). Whenever possible, get
a copy of the company’s annual report. Research the company at your local library and on the internet
• Mentally review the skills and character traits you have that will help the company’s bottom line. Think in
terms of the value you can add to the position and the company
Know your job history
• Mentally review your past achievements and be prepared to describe your work experience in detail.
Gather letters of reference and samples of your work to present to the interviewer as proof of your past
accomplishments. Practice describing your experience in terms of your responsibilities and
accomplishments at each job.
Know the questions
• You can almost bet on being asked “Tell me about yourself”. Approach this from the employer’s point of
view. Ask yourself “ If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I want to know? Then answer
those questions and be ready for tough ones, too. Think of the worst questions you could be asked
about your experience and abilities, then prepare positive responses.
Prepare questions of your own
• Employers are as interested in your question s as they are in your answers. And they’ll react favorably if
you ask intelligent questions about the company and the industry.
Ask the following questions
• Who would I report to?
• Where does this position fit in the company as a whole?
• Is there any problem in this job currently with waste/accuracy/meeting quotas etc?
• What will the first project are that I will be working on?
• What will it take to be successful in this position?
• What training will be provided (Only if training is essential!)?
• If I perform well, what will the future career path of this position be”
• Express your sincere interest and say “ I am very pleased with the prospect of working for your
• What will the next step in the process be (Schedule 2nd interview, offer etc)?
• What is the largest problem facing your staff now?
• Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. I look forward to speaking to you shortly.
Get the Big Picture
Visualize the entire interview, from start to finish. See yourself as performing with style and confidence. How
will the interview end? Will you get a job offer or be called back for a second interview? How much salary do
you want? What kind of benefits? The research you did in step 1 will give you an idea of what to expect. Be
ready for any eventuality
Make a good First Impression
The outcome of the interview will depend largely on the impression you make during the first five minutes.
To succeed, you must project a professional, competent and enthusiastic image. Your aim is to convince the
interviewer that you would be an asset to the company. Keep the following in mind:
NB – DO’S AND DON’T’S
• Arrive 15 minutes prior to your interview, allow extra time for traffic, parking and slow elevators.
• Switch your cell phone off or leave it in the car
• Use a firm handshake
• Maintain good eye contact throughout the meeting interview
• Stand straight, moving confidently and sit slightly forward in your chair
• Listen very carefully to understand the questions
• Answer in the present tense
• Speak clearly, audible, using business language (refrain from using slang)
• State reason for leaving as “better prospects” or “better challenges”
• Use the clients surname about 4times during the interview
• Answer all the questions honestly and directly without deviating
• Answer questions with ‘YES” or ‘NO” and explain wherever possible
• Sell your expertise to the client by providing examples of your past accomplishments.
• Do not indicates/show that you are desperate for more money or the job
• Don’t put a price on your head by discussing money under any circumstances. Our trained Account
Manager will negotiate the best deal on your behalf. If the client asks about money then say “with regard
to my experience. Skills and knowledge, I am open to a market related salary for what I am worth”.
• If the client asks you why he/she should employ you then don’t say you are hard working, honest and
loyal. The client would automatically expect that of you at your level. Rather say Based on my skills,
knowledge and experience, I can effectively do …….. and state the benefit to the employer.
• Use positive words like: Ability, discipline, results, success, focus, drive potential, generate, lead or
• Give a personal characteristics as a weakness and a strength – something that can help the interviewer
• Don’t say to the interviewer that you would like his/her job in the next couple of years
• Don’t read documents on the interviewer’s desk
• Don’t criticize the current company you are with or any person working at the company
• Don’t smoke during the interview even if you are invited to do so
• Don’t chew gum
• Your clothing should be appropriate for the position you’re seeking. Attire must fit well within the office
and be immaculate. If you don’t know what the typical attire at the company is, here are some examples:
• Men – The Appropriate attire is:
• Women – The Appropriate attire is:
• Dark blue/ black suit
• Professional business suit
• Clean, pressed shirt
• Closed shoes with pantyhose
• Conservative tie, cartoon characters or • No noisy or excess jewelry
very contrasting colors are not
• Manicured nails – neat and tidy
• Clean hair, styled conservatively
• Black shoes – polished, dark socks (white • Avoid excessive perfume
socks are not recommended)
Conduct the interview
Have your own agenda and know where the interview should be heading. This will give you confidence and
help you move from one area of questioning to the next. Remember. Most interviewers are as
uncomfortable as you are. They just want the position to be filled as fast as possible. If you can put the
interviewer at ease by helping things move smoothly, you’ll improve your chances of being hired. Remember
Enthusiasm and eye contact. Show your enthusiasm by making eye contact and keeping an interested
expression. Nod and gesture in moderation, excessive body movements can distract and annoy the
Listening skills. Listen carefully and ask questions to probe deeper into what the interviewer is telling you.
Most interviewers are delightfully surprised by a question such as “how could I help you solve the problem
Communication skills. Good grammar and articulate speech are essential. If this is an area where you’re
weak, work on it. Practice on your family, practice in front of a mirror, record your voice, take classes – do
whatever it takes to become a more effective communicator.
Negative statements about previous jobs or employers. NEVER make them. Instead, be diplomatic. No
matter how bad your last job or boss was, there’s probably something good you learned from the experience.
Emphasize the positive – with a smile.
PREPLANNING FOR YOUR INTERVIEW
N.B You are only have one opportunity to make a good lasting impression. Remember
people generally determine their opinion of you within the first 30 second of meeting
you. By pre- planning what you will say and how you will present your attitudes, provide
you with a greater opportunity of securing a very rewarding career
We need you to demonstrate how your accomplishments set you apart from other
candidates with similar knowledge, skills and experience. Our clients need to know how
much value you can add to their organization.
An accomplishment is the result obtained in a given job situation or circumstance, typically
unique to your contribution
The following will assist you in pre-planning for your interview
a) Situation/ Task
Describe the situation, task or problem your company was faced with and the adverse affect it had on the
Your company has not be able to keep up with service calls, using the existing support system and
wanted to deploy a customer support database because of your computer knowledge skills and
experience on database, your manager asked you to provide solution.
b) Action taken by yourself
Describe what action you tool or role you played to resolved the problem of the work situation. What
approach, tools or procedures did you utilize? Was there anything unique or creative about your
At first it was thought that putting in a new customer support database would require an extensive
amount of custom programming and a long development period. “You used your initiative to search the
Web and Usenet (during the evening) in addition to normal supply channels and turned up an off-the-
shelf middleware solution that would integrate with the current database with a relatively small amount of
c) Results and benefit/s: (Measure where possible)
Describe the measurable result of your actions and how it benefited the organization? If tangible and
measurable, use numbers, i.e. percentages, rand and time periods. If results are not in, estimate
numbers. If numbers are not appropriate, try to use comparisons (before/after, compared to industry
norms etc) to illustrate how you influence improvement.
As a result of my initiative to search the Web and Usenet (during the evening) in addition to normal
suppliers channels. I was able to discover a middleware database solution – saving the company
approximately R50k in development costs and 8 weeks in development time (benefit) I was also able
switching to a new supplier, worth a total of R800K in annual revenue.
The following section provides you with additional question to prepare for (Leave out parts that are not
applicable to you – use only what you think will assist you in the interview to make the best possible
Where have you saved or made a extensive amount of money for an employer
Describe the situation /task:
What action did you take or active role did you play in achieving this?
Have you ever introduced methods and/ or systems which made or saved the Company a
lot of money?
Describe what method or system you introduced and in what way it saved the company from either a
monetary or time/increased production perspective
The following statements can be used to reinforce certain elements of the position’s requirements
• I have a combination of skills due to……..
• Strong postgraduate qualification in ……….proof that
PREPARE THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
BASED ON YOUR SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE YOU MUST PROVE TO THE CLIENT
THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF SOLVING THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM OR POSITION THE CLIENT HAS:
Carefully determine from the job spec what the main role is that the client needs you to fulfill and based on
this, when asked why you should be considered as a suitable candidate or what you should be considered as
a suitable candidate or what you believe qualifies you for the position explain that based on your past
experience at ……….. (where you would obviously have fulfilled a similar role) Say you were exposed to the
same challenges that this position requires and you look forward to using that knowledge to overcome the
similar and new challenges in the future.
When told and asked about your Technical aspects of the position, explain how your skills knowledge and
experience will meet their requirements, based on your technical experience
When asked why you wanting to change jobs, give a good reason for wanting to leave your current employer
(same as you discussed with your recruitment consultant)
Memorize 2 phases of excellence you believe in and you will use. i.e. (a person who wants to lead the
orchestra must turn his back on the crowd etc)
Be clear about what your motivation would be to work for the employer based on the employer’s needs. BE
SURE TO CHECK THE CLIENTS WEB SITE AND FAMALIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE COMPANY - this
will also assist you in your motivation of working for them.
What are you greatest work related work related strengths? (In line with the client’s needs.) – This must be
work related, not from a personal perspective (e.g. I am very meticulous and thorough in all I do or I am at my
best when Managing Projects within budget and set timeframes OR I am a good leader and through efficient
delegation, my teams are able to perform to their full potential)
What are your greatest work related weaknesses? (Make sure the weaknesses compliment your strengths
indirectly- e.g. if your strong point was – I am a perfectionist/ your weak point should be something like – I
tend to re-check work over and over to ensure that it is correct and this can sometimes create more stress on
me than is necessary.
If your strong point was – I handle stress very well/your weak point should be something like – I can
sometimes be a little unsympathetic towards people who allow their work suffer by their incapability of
handling stress well)
What positive aspects would you mention about your present (last) position? (Think of 2 positive things and
remember them in point form). NEVER SAY ANYTHING TOO NEGATIVE ABOUT YOUR LAST/CURRENT
EMPLOYER NO MATTER HOW VALIDATED YOU ARE IN DOING SO – experienced by the Engineering
Department it would not have come to this) Rather than running the Manager of the Engineering Department
What you consider the most critical elements in the successful performance of your present (last) position?
(Name 4 or 5 of your main duties/responsibilities)
What job function(s) are the most difficult for you and why?
What problems do you encounter on the job and how do you deal with them?
How you deal with it/them
What is/was your greatest to contribution to the Company in your present/past position?
Have you had any differences of opinion with your manager, and if so, describe them with a positive outcome
In what ways has your manager supported your performance?
Your career goals for the next 5 years (in line with what the client is offering)
What do you want from this job that is lacking in your present (past) one?
What are your salary expectations? On what do you base them? (If the client asks you what your current
salary, just state the amount in your CV or SAY “is it not in the copy of your CV?” if the client say what your
expectations is SAY “I prefer to lease that open to the employer, rather than run the risk of out-pricing myself
in the market)
In what areas would you like to improve, why?
What motivates you?
What attracts you to the job for which you are applying?
What elements of this job would be new to you?