JSD Consulting

Interviewing

An interviewer has one objective: to decide whether or not to make you a job offer. While the interviewer will examine your work history and educational background, your strengths and accomplishments will also be important criteria. He or she is also interested in evaluating your level of motivation, values, attitude and personality. In other words, to find out if you’re the right person for the job, what your potential is for promotion and whether or not you will fit into the company environment.

Always approach an interview focused on your objective: getting a job offer.

Preparation

Know Yourself

  • Can you honestly visualise resigning from your current position?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What are your short and long-term goals?
  • Evaluate yourself in terms of the position you seek. Look at the role brief and identify examples of skill, experience and achievements that prove your competence.
  • Formulate responses by asking the question: Why should they hire me?
  • Remember that you’re there to sell yourself and secure a job offer.

Research the Company

  • Review annual reports, trade magazines and newspaper articles.
  • The Internet offers a wealth of company information and industry statistics.
  • Know the company’s products and services.
  • Be prepared to tell the interviewer why their company is attractive to you.

6 tips for the first 2 minutes
Because nothing matters more than a first impression

  1. Dress appropriately
    Make your first impression a professional one.
  2. Be on time
    Recruiters say arriving early is just as bad - in fact, showing up even 10 minutes ahead of time may irritate them. Why? You will interrupt whatever they're doing. Arrive no more than five minutes before the interview.
  3. While you're waiting for the interviewer to greet you, always remain
    standing
    You don't want the very first thing the interviewer sees to be you getting your things in order and adjusting your clothing.
  4. What we say accounts for a mere 7 percent of a person's first impression of us, while our body language constitutes 55 percent
    Hold your briefcase or bag in your left hand and keep the right one hanging loosely at your hip, ready to shake hands.
  5. When speaking with the hiring manager's assistant, use his/her name
    A simple, respectful "Thanks, Denise" could mean a kind word from Denise to her boss later.
  6. The interviewer may well kick things off with the dreaded “Tell me about yourself.”


    We advise a short, sharp answer (around a minute) using these 4 steps:
    1. Provide a brief introduction
      Introduce attributes that are key to the open position
    2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history
      Your career summary is the “meat” of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don’t go back more than 10 years
    3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organisation
      Don’t assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill
    4. Ask an insightful question
      By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don’t ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform (for an example see Tough Interview Questions)

The Interview Itself

The interview should be a two-way conversation.

Ask questions of the interviewers. This shows your interest in the company and the position, and enables you to gather the right information to make an intelligent decision afterwards. The questions you have prepared can be asked of the different people you see. JSD Consulting recommends that you prepare 25 - 30 questions.

Remember, the objective of the interview is to obtain an offer. During the interview, you must gather enough information concerning the position to make a decision.

Conduct yourself with confidence and determination to get the job. You have other options, of course, and your interviewer knows this, but wants to think that you want a job with this company. Don’t play coy. Sell yourself.

This is your first meeting and the position, as well as future promotions, may depend on your presentation. Are you going to sell them on the idea of hiring you, or will they sell you on the idea that this job is not for you? You must present a positive attitude to the prospective employer. You must NOT seem disinterested or appear to be job shopping.

Interview dos and don'ts

Dos

  • Clarify questions
    Be sure you answered the questions the employer really asked
  • Get the interviewer to describe the position and responsibilities early in the conversation
    You can relate your skills and background to the position throughout the interview
  • Give your qualifications
    Stress the accomplishments, using examples, that are most pertinent to the job
  • Conduct yourself professionally
    Be aware of what your body language is saying. Smile, make eye contact, don't slouch, and maintain composure
  • Anticipate tough questions
    Prepare in advance so you can turn apparent weaknesses into strengths
  • Listen
    This is probably the most important ability of all. By concentrating not only on the employer's words, but also on the tone of voice and body language, you will be able to pick up on the employer's style. Once you understand how an interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to relate better to him or her

Don’ts

  • Don't answer vague questions
    Rather than answering questions you think you hear, get the employer to be more specific and then respond
  • Never interrupt the employer
    If you don't have time to listen, neither does he
  • Don't smoke, chew gum or place anything on the employer's desk
  • Don't be overly familiar, even if the employer is doing all of these things
  • Don't wear heavy perfume or cologne
  • Don't ramble
    Long answers often make the speaker sound apologetic or indecisive
  • Do not make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers