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Preparing For An Interview

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When it comes to preparing for your future, one can never be too prepared. It helps to do your homework and to make sure that you are confident when you walk into a company asking for an employment opportunity.

This article will assist you in preparing for your job interview. Attending a job interview and conducting yourself in an appropriate manner may same like an easy task or one that should form part of common sense but the truth is there are a lot of people who buckle on the day of the interview and is thus of utmost importance to prepare yourself mentally and physically.

1.      How to prepare for an interview- Carefully examine the job description.

While you are preparing for the job interview it is important to use the employer’s job description as a guideline. You may be confused as to what a job description is, here is an explanation: a job description is a written paragraph which will describe the qualifications, tasks that need to be done by the employee, responsibilities of the employee to the specified job position, skills needed, background of the company and further details about the job position. The job description basically outlines what the company is looking for and the perfect candidate for the position. The job description can also give you a slight indication of what the employer may ask you during your interview.

2.      How to prepare for an interview- Consider why you are attending the interview and what your qualifications are.

It is important to remember that interviews are not one-sided. You are also interviewing the company to determine if the company is offering you a job that you would be interested in at the right salary based on your qualifications, skills and experience. You are being interviewed by the employer or a representative thereof and you are interviewing the company to make sure that it is an environment that you will be happy in.  You should prepare what you will say when asked why you are interested in the job opportunity and why you are the best person to fulfil the job role.

3.      How to prepare for an interview- Conduct research on the company and the job position/job role.

Research the company before going for the interview because the interviewer will expect you to know about the company that will potentially hire you. Knowing about the company and the products or services that they offer is important because it provides context for the conversations and questions that you will have during the interview process, it will also help you come up with well thought out questions that you will ask the interviewer.

-Research the product/service that the company offers: there are some job functions whereby the employee will not need a vast amount of product knowledge, however, the employee should still be a good team member and have a good understanding of the product/service. If it is at all possible to ask for a sample of the product during the interview process so that you can familiarize yourself with a customer perspective of what it is that your company offers. The more knowledge you have about the product/service and if you can offer a customer perspective you will be better prepared for the interview and any questions that may arise pertaining to the company offerings.

-Research the job role: read the job description carefully and make sure that you understand what the employer wants and that you understand what is expected of you should your interview be successful. If you get the job, try and find reviews of employees who occupy the same job role, it will help you get a clear understanding of what the daily responsibilities are. Whilst the interview is conducted be sure to ask any questions about the job role that you may need clarity on, it is important that you understand all of the requirements so that you are not doomed for failure should you be successful. The research will also assist you in determining whether the specified job role is actually something that you can and want to do.

-Research the company culture: There are many companies out there that use social media platforms to display their company culture, have a look at their social to get a feel of the company culture that is present at your potential workplace. You want to look for a company that suits your personality as is aligned with your values, mission and vision. Keep in mind that you will be spending a lot of your daily work and surrounded by your colleagues, make sure that the workplace is actually somewhere you want to be. Any questions that may not have been answered after the ‘social listening’ exercise, can be answered by the interviewer during the interview.


4.      Make a list of common interview questions and consider how you will answer these questions when asked by the interviewer.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to predict every question that is thrown at you during the interview process, but being well prepared for those generic questions may assist you in gaining a competitive advantage against any other interviewing candidates. It is advisable for you to put a brief sales pitch together. What will you be selling? You will be selling yourself! Write down a quirky pitch that describes who you are, what you do and what you want; because “tell me about yourself” is probably the most common interview questions. Always remember “people buy people”.

There are times where the company may instruct you to do a test or evaluation during the interview process. For example, the company may ask you to do a psychometric test, a test of your knowledge, sometimes when you are being interviewed for a sales position they may ask you to sell something or perhaps you may be asked to complete a practical examination- these test are designed to evaluate your level of skill and understanding; it is important to make sure that you are fully prepared if the company does expect you to complete a test.


Below are a few common interview questions:

  • Why would you like to work at our company?

When you research the company and its history, vision, mission, company culture, service/product offering and more, you will get an idea of what it is that you like about the company- use what you have learnt about the company to answer the question. For example, Ï would love to work for a company that is environmentally cautious and is making a positive impact on our environment”.

  • What interests you about this role?

The interviewer will ask you this question to make sure that you understand the job role that you are applying for and to give you the opportunity to motivate relevant skills that you may have. Some advice would be to draw up a comparison between the job role and your personal skills and experience and how they are linked. For example: “I have been passionate about the industry for most of my professional career”.

  • What are your strengths?

When the interviewer asks you this question, it is a window to talk about both your technical and soft skills. Answer the question by naming your strengths, qualities and personal attributes and relate them back to the job role that you are applying for. For example: “I am a natural problem solver”.


5.      How to prepare for an interview- Practise your speaking voice and your body language.

You want to focus on making a positive and lasting impression during the interview process. As they say, practice makes perfect; with this in mind, you can practise confidence and speak. You want to ensure that you speak loudly enough for the interviewer but not so loud that you seem rude. Please make sure that you are not chewing gum during the interview process. Pay attention to your smile, handshake and stride.


6.      How to prepare for an interview- Prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewer.

Your aim is to impress that interviewer and to leave with a lasting impression. As the saying goes “first impressions count”. The interviewer will be impressed with well thought out questions. The questions asked should be based on research that you have done about the company and job role.

Some examples of questions that you can ask are:

  • Describe the typical day of a person who shares this job role.
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • What qualities do your most successful employees have?
  • Thank you for allowing me the opportunity of an interview. If I may ask, what are the next steps in the hiring process?

7.      How to prepare for an interview- Conduct mock interviews.

Just as you used to practise your speech in front of a mirror before presenting it to the class during your English lesson, the same principle should be practised before your interview to minimise nerves on the day and build your confidence. You may feel that practising becomes repetitive but it will make you feel more comfortable on the day and help you leave a good impression. Ask your friends and family to assist you with mock interviews. While you practise to answer the questions, pay attention to what you are saying and rectify anything that makes sound awkward or wrong.

8.      How to prepare for an interview- It is very important to remember to print out hard copies of your CV.

You may have already sent the company a digital copy of your curriculum vitae, but it is more convenient for the interviewer to view your CV while you are face-to-face in the interview. Having hard copies for anyone present in the interview will give the impression that you are organized and have prepared for the interview. Some candidates forget to keep a hard copy for themselves so that they can follow along with the interviewer. If there are any gaps in your CV where you were not working, the interviewer will ask you about that, ensure that you have your answers ready. When you explain to the interviewer why there are gaps in your employment, your answer needs to be structured in a way that the interviewer does not think of you as a risk.

9.      How to prepare for an interview- Plan your travel arrangements for the day of the interview.

Your interview may be at a venue or area that you are not familiar with, and it is, therefore, important to find out exactly where the interview will be held and how long it will take you to get there; there is nothing more unprofessional than arriving at the interview late.

To ensure that everything goes something and you get to the interview on time, follow these tips:

  • Leave your place of residence early to ensure that you will get there on time. There are often unforeseen events that will occur at the worst of times so rather be prepared and early.
  • Save the number of the interviewer so that you can contact them if anything goes wrong and also to have it at a later stage to check the outcome of the interview if you haven’t had any feedback.
  • Search for the location of the interview in advance.

10.  How to prepare for an interview- Sell yourself.

As mentioned previously, people buy people. You will need to sell yourself in the interview and be convincing about it.






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