What you're do­ing wrong in an in­ter­view

Ways to in­crease your chances of se­cur­ing your dream job

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Atha­bile Mrasi

HAV­ING the most im­pres­sive CV and cover let­ter is good enough to land you an in­ter­view. But the job will only be yours if you per­form well dur­ing the in­ter­view. Most peo­ple mess things up in the in­ter­view. Even the most sea­soned pro­fes­sion­als can get flus­tered and spoil their chances by small mis­takes they could have avoided. If you have been wor­ried about not get­ting call backs af­ter your in­ter­views, you might be do­ing a cou­ple of things wrong. One of the most im­por­tant things you can do is to re­lax and be your­self in a job in­ter­view. Zethu Mthimkulu, who is a me­dia buyer at IQ Academy, has a list of tips for at­tend­ing an in­ter­view.


■ Do your re­search on the po­si­tion and com­pany. ■ Dress the part. ■ Pre­pare sam­ples of your work. ■ Speak about your re­mark­able skills, for ex­am­ple, men­tion that you wish to be a teacher or used to babysit as a teenager. ■ Make eye con­tact with the in­ter­viewer. ■ Be gen­uine. ■ Don’t crit­i­cise any pre­vi­ous em­ployer, co-worker or su­per­vi­sor. ■ Don’t make any false state­ments that could be dis­cov­ered by your em­ployer in the fu­ture. ■ Don’t share any weak­nesses which are cen­tral to your tar­get job. ■ Be clear and only state the qual­i­fi­ca­tions you have. ■ Never act like a know-it-all.


In­ter­views are def­i­nitely not a fash­ion show but you have to mind the way you ap­pear or your dress code. Zethu says it is very im­por­tant to dress ap­pro­pri­ately for in­ter­views.

In­ter­views are not for the fash­ion po­lice. Keep in mind why you are go­ing there and think about your ap­pear­ance. You should know that you will be the brand of the com­pany so wear­ing clothes that are too tight or too re­veal­ing might cost you a job.

“You need to look the part and make sure your

out­fit fits into the work en­vi­ron­ment you are be­ing in­ter­viewed for. Re­mem­ber, first im­pres­sions last,” says Zethu.


In in­ter­views you could be up against scores of other can­di­dates hop­ing for the same po­si­tion. All of us want to stand out from oth­ers, so hav­ing enough in­for­ma­tion about the com­pany is cru­cial.

At the in­ter­view, you must main­tain eye con­tact. Zethu says eye con­tact can in­di­cate your level of con­fi­dence. It will also show the in­ter­viewer that you are pay­ing at­ten­tion.

“You must re­mem­ber that the in­ter­viewer is not only lis­ten­ing to what you are say­ing, but is also look­ing at your body lan­guage. Your eye con­tact can lead the in­ter­viewer to ei­ther be­lieve what you are say­ing or doubt your skills,” says Zethu.


Tell me about your­self – This ques­tion is the most com­mon ques­tion that is asked.

It is nor­mally the open­ing ques­tion so you need to be work spe­cific and tell them about where you are now pro­fes­sion­ally, what you have learned from your past work ex­pe­ri­ences and then talk about what makes you ex­cited about this spe­cific op­por­tu­nity. Why should we hire you? – This is an­other in­cred­i­bly com­mon ques­tion and it gives you a great op­por­tu­nity to sell your­self and make sure you stand out from the crowd. Tell them what you can of­fer their com­pany. De­scribe a dif­fi­cult work sit­u­a­tion and what you did to over­come it – You need to have a suc­cess story ready. Tell them how you ex­e­cuted which­ever chal­lenge you came across at your pre­vi­ous work­place. This will show your value to the com­pany. No man­ager wants some­one who can­not solve prob­lems. Why do you want to work for us? The man­ager is try­ing to get at your un­der­ly­ing mo­ti­va­tions for want­ing this job. State whether you see your­self be­com­ing an in­te­gral part of the com­pany and grow­ing with it.


If you re­ally want to im­press the in­ter­viewer, come pre­pared to the in­ter­view oth­er­wise you will go home dis­ap­pointed.

Find a way to mas­ter the ques­tions that are of­ten asked at in­ter­views. Noth­ing can beat do­ing re­search and be­ing con­fi­dent about your­self.

“Do your re­search on the com­pany, the po­si­tion you are ap­ply­ing for and an­a­lyse the tar­get ar­eas for the po­si­tion. Know cer­tain an­swers to ex­pected ques­tions such as why should we hire you and your strenghts and weak­nesses,” says Zethu.

“Have con­fi­dence in your skills and knowl­edge. Demon­strate what you know in the best way pos­si­ble.”

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