Always remember that you are being interviewed because the
employer wants to hire people - not because he wants to trip you up
or embarrass you.
Through the interaction which will take place during the
interview, the employer will be searching out your strong and weak
points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills, intellectual
qualities. The employer will also probe deeply to determine your
attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.
To prepare for your interview with examples of previous situations
you have dealt with or been in. For example, a key competency for
the role may be "leadership". Try to think of an example where you
have demonstrated such a competency within your previous roles. The
employer will be looking for clear and concise answers to assure
them that you the necessary competencies they require for the
Some general dos and don'ts concerning the interview are:
- DO plan to arrive a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job
interview is never excusable.
- If the employer presents you with an application to complete,
DO fill it out neatly and completely. DON'T relax and rely on your
application or CV to do your selling for you. Most employers
will want you to speak for yourself.
- DO greet the employer by their surname if you are sure of the
pronunciation. If you are not, ask them to repeat their name. Give
the appearance of energy as you walk. Smile. Shake their hand
- DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit
upright in your chair, don't slouch. Look alert and interested at
all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker.
- DON'T smoke even if the employer smokes and offers you are
- DO look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to
- DO follow the employer's lead, but try to get the employer to
describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview
so that you can relate your background, skills and accomplishments
to the position.
- DON'T answer questions with a simple "yes/no". Explain wherever
possible. Tell those things about yourself which relate to a
situation. Give examples, substantiate your responses.
- DO make sure that your good points get across to the
interviewer in a factual, logical, sincere manner. Stress
achievements. For example: processes developed, savings achieved,
projects completed, objectives achieved, obstacles overcome,
systems installed etc.
- DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as
"to the point" as possible.
- DON'T make derogatory remarks about your present or former
employers or companies. It looks and sounds unprofessional
and will not do you any favours in the long run.
- DON'T "over answer" questions. The interviewer may steer the
conversation into politics or economics. Since this is a delicate
situation it is best to answer the questions honestly, trying not
to say any more than is necessary.
- DON'T inquire about SALARY, HOLIDAYS, BONUSES, RETIREMENT etc.
on the initial interview, unless you are positive the employer is
interested in hiring you. If the interviewer asks what salary you
want, indicate what you've earned but that you're more interested
in opportunity than in a specific salary amount at the
- DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the
job you are discussing. Never close the door on an
opportunity. It is better to be in a position where you can
choose from a number of positions - rather than only one.
Negative Factors Evaluated by an Employer
During the course of the interview, the Employer will be
evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive
factors. Listed below are negative factors frequently
evaluated during the course of the interview, most of which lead to
the rejection of the candidate.
- Poor personal appearance
- Overbearing / overaggressive / conceited - "superiority
complex", know it all
- Inability to express thoughts clearly - poor poise, diction or
- Lack of planning for career - no purpose or goals.
- Lack of interest and enthusiasm - passive and indifferent
- Lack of confidence and poise - nervousness
- Over-emphasis on money - interested only in the best money
- Evasive - makes excuses for unfavourable factors in record
- Lack of tact / maturity / courtesy
- Condemnation of past employers
- Failure to look employer in the eye
- Limp handshake
- Lack of appreciation of the value of experience
- Failure to ask questions about job
- Persistent attitude of "what can you do for me"
- Lack of preparation for the interview - failure to get
information about the company resulting in inability to ask
Closing the Interview for the Job Offer
If you are interested in the position, ask for it, or ask for
the next interview if the situation demands. If you feel the job is
worth your efforts and you want to receive an offer, be a good
sales person and say something like this: "Mr Employer, I'm very
impressed with what I've seen here today, your company, its
products, and the people I've met. I am confident I could do
an excellent job in the position you have described to me". The
employer will be impressed with your enthusiasm. If the employer
makes the offer then, accept it.
Don't be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific
salary discussed. The employer will probably want to communicate
with their office first, or interview more candidates before making
If you get the impression that the interview is not going well and
that you have already been rejected, don't let your discouragement
show. Once in a while an employer who is genuinely interested in
you possibly may seem to discourage you in order to test your
Thank the employer for their time and their consideration of you.
If you have answered the two questions uppermost in the employer's
- Why are you interested in their company? And
- What can you offer? - Then you have done all you can
Last and most importantly, call your consultant immediately
after each interview and tell them what happened. They will want to
talk with you before the employer. If you are interested in the
position the consultant will do all they can to help you secure