- Know the time and place of the interview and the interviewer's full name and title.
- Ensure that you fully understand the job description of the position for which you are interviewing.
- Plan to be 15 minutes early in anticipation of traffic problems or other unanticipated delays. Also, know where you're going. If possible acquaint yourself with the route. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
- Dress professionally (i.e. proper business attire).
- If presented with an application, fill it out neatly and completely.
- Ensure to shake the interviewer's hand firmly.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Don't rush your answers.
- Stress your accomplishments.
- Ensure to answer every question fully and honestly.
- Don't jump ahead or give more information than is required. Pay attention to "cutoff" cues.
- Ensure you are consistent in your answers throughout all interviews.
- Don't answer with a simple "yes" or "no". Explain answers where possible.
- Avoid saying anything negative about present or previous employers or co-workers.
- Ask questions to show interest in the Company and the position.
- Ensure they know you are interested in the position; never close the door on an opportunity.
- Look alert and interested at all times and look the interviewer in the eye.
- Relax, smile and have a positive attitude. Give the appearance of energy as you walk.
How to prepare for your interview
Break down your life into “segments” (i.e. university, first job, second job, etc.). For each segment, write down:
- Why you went into the job
- What you did when you were there
- Why you left
Strengths and Weaknesses
Write down 3 technical and 3 non-technical personal strengths. For each strength, document something external that proves the strength is also perceived by others as strength, i.e. you received a bonus in recognition, there were some savings achieved, you completed the implementation of a system, you met objectives, it was noted on your performance evaluation.
The area of weaknesses is difficult. The way to answer any question about your weaknesses is to either:
- Describe a weakness or area for development that you have worked on and have now overcome; or
- Describe a characteristic that could be perceived as either a strength or a weakness.
Questions to Ask
It is important to ask a lot of questions both throughout the interview and at the end of the interview when interviewers generally ask if you have any questions. Therefore, you should prepare a list of 5-10 technical and 5-10 non-technical questions and memorise them before the interview. Do not inquire about salary, holidays, bonuses, or other benefits. This information should be discussed with your recruiter.
Sample questions to ask your interviewer
- Could you tell me about the growth plans and goals for the company/department/division?
- What needs to be accomplished in this position in the next 6-12 months?
- What skills are important to be successful in this position?
- Why did you join this company?
- What types of systems do you use throughout the company/department/division?
- Why is the position available?
- What made the previous persons in this position successful/unsuccessful?
- Where have successful people in this position advanced?
- What criteria will my supervisor use for my performance evaluation and how frequently, and in what manner, will my supervisor and I meet?
- How do you (the manager) like to operate in terms of assignments, delegation of responsibility and authority, general operating style, etc.?
- What long and short term problems and opportunities do you think my prospective area faces?
- With whom will I be interacting most frequently and what are their responsibilities and the nature of our interaction?
- What particular things about my background, experience and style interest you?
- What experience, training, attributes, operating style, accomplishments and personality factors should the “ideal” candidate for the job have?
- Is there anything in my background or experience to prevent you from considering me as a viable candidate?
- What else can I do to get a job offer from your company?
- What is the time frame for making a decision on this position?
Sample interview questions
- What do you know about our company?
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why are you looking to change positions?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do like most and least about your current position (or manager)?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What are the best and worst things your boss would say about you?
- What are your concerns in your current situation and what would you improve?
- How have you changed or improved the nature of your job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What can you do for us that someone else can’t?
- Why did you choose this particular career?
- What contributions have you made with your present or former employer?
- What do you think determines a person’s progress in a company?
- Be prepared for behavioral questions: i.e. Tell me about the time that you were most successful in dealing with a difficult client? or, Give me an example of a time when you had to get something accomplished with someone who was difficult to get along with.