Preparing for the interview

Going for the Interview
Types of Interviews – structured interview
Structured Interview - Competencies
- The employer identifies the competencies (skills, abilities and experience) required for the role.
- They design the questions to test whether the candidate has these competencies. The questions are often phrased, "tell us about a time when."
How to handle it
Review the job description / advert.

Identify the types of skills, abilities and experience required for the role. (This may need lateral thinking).

Think of examples in your career where you have demonstrated these. It may help to make notes.
This means you'll be well-prepared for any competency-style question they ask
Types of Interviews – behavioral job interview
Behavioral job interview (situational job interview)
- Behavioral interviews are trying to identify how you would act in certain situations.
- The interviewer wants to be able to predict how you would behave in the role, if they recruited you.
- So they ask hypothetical questions. These might be about a time in your past, or asking you to imagine yourself in a future situation.
How to handle it
It's difficult to second-guess which questions might come up. So the best advice is to:
Prepare as for Structured Competency Interviews
Listen to the question. Make sure you have understood it. Take a moment to think about what they're looking for.

Give an honest answer, but make sure you remain positive. If possible, back up your answer with an example.
Types of Interviews – Telephone Interview
Telephone Interview
- This type of remote job interview can be a first point of employment screening.
- Although this may seem daunting, it's actually a good thing. It means your CV or resume impressed the recruiter enough to want to find out more.
- If you're called to a face-to-face interview, it means they're serious about you and not wasting your time.
How to handle it
Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview.
- Dress smartly and arrange a time for the call when you're not at work and can finish the interview without interruptions.
- Be able to clearly explain why you think you're a suitable candidate.
- Pay special attention to the interviewer's tone of voice.
- Make sure you focus your attention on the interviewer and don't get distracted by other things in the room.
Types of Interviews – Panel Job Interview
Panel Job Interview

Sometimes employers want candidates to be seen by a number of managers or peer-workers. A panel interview simply means a candidate meets multiple interviewers at once.

They may play the "Good cop / Bad cop" routine, where one of them is aggressive and another sympathetic, to see how you perform under stress.
How to handle it
- Prepare as for a normal interview. Don't let the thought of multiple interviewers stress you out.
- Focus on the person who asked you the question, but make good eye contact with all of them.
- Don't be put off if one of them seems grumpy. But don't be lulled into a false sense of security if one seems very friendly.
Types of Interviews – Technical Job Interview
Technical Job Interview

This usually refers to a "hands-on" interview. For example, an engineer might be expected to do some analysis of an engineering problem; a market researcher might be asked to analyze some data; a sales person might be expected to make a mock sales call.

This type of interview is designed to predict how you would perform in the role.
How to handle it
As long as you have the relevant experience, you should be fine with this type of job interview.

Make sure you've fully understood the brief and keep your cool.

If in doubt, ask them to clarify what they're looking for.

What are employers looking for?
Employers will make a decision whether to hire you based not only on your qualifications but also on whether your personality will fit in at their company
Interviewers need to be convinced that you will be able to fix their problems and help their companies achieve its goals
Employers want to surround themselves with right employees who want to work for them, are trustworthy and productive with the least amount of supervision
Interview Golden Rules
You have only one chance to make a good first impression
The way you present yourself should reflect a highly polished and professional image
The interview is the time to make a personal statement with the way you dress
- Your goal should be to show that you respect the interviewer’s values, tastes and expectations relative to dress and personal manner

- Be personal and professional – smile, look the interviewer in the eye, engage in a two way conversation
- Listen carefully, respond thoughtfully and don’t digress into personal details
- Make sure your details are up to date.

Common mistakes at the interview
Arriving late for the interview – late arrival for a job interview is never excusable. If you are running late make a telephone call to the company and let them know.
Answering cell phones during the interview or leaving it on during the interview.
Discussing family issues or personal problems or any sort of failure - exams, marriages, businesses, etc.
Acting as though you can take any job – desperate for employment
Saying negative things about former colleagues, supervisors, or employers
Preparing for the interview
Prep. for the interview – Important Points
Do take a practice run to the location where you are having the interview – be sure you know exactly where it is.
Do your research and know the type of job interview you will be encountering – don’t memorize or over rehearse your answers.
Do plan to arrive about 10 minutes early – late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
Do bring extra CVs and original copies of your qualifications to the interview.
Don’t rely on your CV or application to do the selling for you.
At the interview – Important Points
Do greet the interviewer (s) by title – Ms., Mr, Dr, etc.
Do shake hands firmly. Don’t have a limp or clammy handshake. Remember eye contact
Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting – do remember body language and posture. Sit upright and don’t fidget or slouch
Do avoid using poor language especially slang – make sure your good points come out in a factual manner
Use examples of your career success stories while answering the interviewer’s questions.
After the interview – Important Points
Do ask intelligent questions about the job, company or industry.
Do a final sales pitch of yourself. And ask about the next step of the process
Do try and get business cards from each person who interviewed – or at least the correct spelling of their first and last names
Do immediately take down notes after the interview concludes so you don’t forget crucial issues
Use examples of your career success stories while answering the interviewer’s questions.
Dressing for the interview
Dressing for the interview – Men
A conservative business suit is almost always the rule – well tailored or fitted suit coat and trousers is a professional look
Acceptable colours continue to be darker shades and hues including greys, blues (navy) and black
A plain white shirt or off-white shirt is always a winner- in most cases either a loose or button down collar is fine
Neckties should also be conservative – patterns should be uniform and subtle, whether stripes or small dots
Have your shoes shined if not new – laced shoes are the general rule. The colour of your socks & belt should complement or match the rest of your outfit.

Dressing for the interview – Women
Dressing in a conservative business suit is the best way to present a professional image – well fitted & makes you feel good about yourself
Your blouse should compliment the suit in conservative fashion – see through blouses are discouraged for the professional interview
Shoes should be sensibly selected in a way that is not intended to make statement – very high heels and open toes are better left for other activities
Hair should be of a conservative style and not look like you have spent hours caring for it
Fingernails should be trimmed & hands clean. Jewellery & cologne should be kept to a minimum

Be personable & professional
Smile, look the interviewer in the eye
Engage in a two way conversation
Listen carefully and respond thoughtfully
Use your career success stories to answer the questions
Do stress your achievements
Answer specifically – clear & concise
Ask questions when given the opportunity

Don’t try to make a personal statement

Don’t digress into personal details
Don’t be soft spoken, a forcefully voice projects confidence
Don’t ever lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and succinctly.
Don’t tell jokes during the interview
Good luck in securing your dream jobs!