The job interview

It’s an exciting and scary time. You are undoubtedly a bundle of nerves and are certainly wondering what to expect in that job interview and how you can prepare so that you make a good impression.

First things first – make sure you are dressed appropriately, are neat and well groomed. Torn jeans and dropped waists are cool for socialising, but not in a corporate setting. An unkempt appearance does create a lasting first impression, but for all the wrong reasons.

The need for hygiene may seem obvious, but that stretches to not using overwhelming aftershaves and scents, which may be offensive to the interviewer.

Whichever transport mode you use, you should not be trying to beat the clock and the traffic to make it on time. Set out early and arrive about 15 minutes ahead of time to avoid becoming flustered. Travelling the route to the interview beforehand will give a good idea of how much travel time is needed.

Take two copies of documents required by the employer - resume, police checks, driver’s licence etc - in a protective cover to keep them pristine. One copy is for the employer and the other for your reference if necessary.

In addition, you should also do the following:

  • Thoroughly research the company, its business and the industry in which it operates. The interviewer will undoubtedly try to assess how much homework you have done.
  • Compare your skills, knowledge and abilities to the job description to ensure that you have what the employer is looking for.

Rehearse with a friend or family member probable interview questions, which are likely to include the following:

  • What parts of the job interest you the most?
  • What do you consider your special skills and abilities?
  • What could you offer us?
  • What experience do you have in this type of work?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • Are your active in any clubs or community organisations?
  • What are your leisure activities/hobbies/interests?
  • Why would you be a suitable employee?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What school subjects interested you most?
  • What are your long-term career plans?
  • How do you feel about working as part of a team?
  • Would you be prepared to work overtime or over weekends if required?

Follow this advice once inside the interview room:

  • Turn off your mobile phone.
  • Smile and be friendly. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact.
  • Ask questions, such as:
    • What are the working hours?
    • What are you looking for in a candidate?
    • What training and induction will be given?
    • Tell me about the company’s culture
    • How will my performance be evaluated?
    • What are the opportunities for advancement?
    • What are the company's plans for the future?
  • Don't discuss wages, as these are often more appropriate for a second interview.
  • Listen to what the employer tells you about the organisation and the position - generally you will be asked questions based on this information.
  • Be enthusiastic and confident:  Let the employer know you’re keen on the job, but don’t interrupt.
  • Be gracious: At the end of the interview smile and thank the interview panel for their time.

If, a week or two after the interview passes, and you have not heard from the company, you should follow up.

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