Expect interview tips from Job Mail this week

It’s week 4 of the #jobmailtipoftheday campaign and this week we’re focusing on Interviews. We trust that you’ll find the tips that we are going to post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram this week useful. To get you in the right frame of mind and to give you an idea of what to expect from us this week, we’ve included an interview guide for job seekers.


Usually the process that happens once an employer has received and shortlisted your CV is as follows:

1. Telephonic Interview

2. The actual Interview (could be anything between 1 and 3)
(a) Skype / conference call
(b) The recruitment agency
(c) Face to Face

The telephonic interview: In South Africa with Mobile phones surpassing land line phone users it is an assumption that as an active job seeker you will get a phone call within working hours, regardless of where you are. This being said, if you are actively job hunting and have recently sent your CV out keep in mind that within working hours if you get a phone call from an unknown number it could be someone calling you back to do an interview and you should answer appropriately.

Telephonic Interview

Do not answer a call with your radio at top volume or other load background noise that could make you ask the person on the other side of the phone to repeat themselves. This phone call is not just about inviting you for an interview, it could be the initial interview and it is important to treat it as such. If you cannot turn the noise down, ask if you can call them back. Answer the questions as if this is your 1 shot, many employers use this round to create a short list, be sure you are on it.

The Skype interview / conference call: This does not happen too often in South but it is better to be armed with information (should an event like this ever come up). Remember, the person at the other end is your potential employer, treat him / her as such. Be prepared for this interview, just like you would be on a face to face interview.

You’re in control of what shows on the screen so make sure you set the scene ahead of time and potential incriminating evidence is hidden (like posters on a wall, an unmade bed, you in your PJ’s, etc). As for a regular interview, you also need to think about what to wear. You’ll only be seen from the waist up, so you might be tempted to dress down, but this can be a risky strategy.

Skype Interview

Your interviewer will only find out that you’re in your pajamas if you have to stand up to get something, so strictly speaking you can wear what you like. However, being dressed professionally might make you feel the part and help with your performance. Also make sure that you have a plan B – There is always the potential for technical issues. Make sure you know who is making the call and sign in early.

Remember that honesty is the best policy if you have issues. If you can’t sort it out, suggest rearranging the call or using a phone for the audio and Skype for the video.

Face to Face interview: To be safe, always call beforehand to confirm the interview time, venue and person to see. Bear in mind that hiring managers make a decision in the first 90 seconds of meeting you, so how can you stop biases working against you? Research shows that interviewers are swayed by how people dress, act and walk through the door.

Face to Face Interview

Here are some tips to help you tip the odds in your favour within 90 seconds:

– Make eye contact with everyone in the room, even the tea lady.

– A firm handshake from both ladies and gents.

– Wear conservative rather than fashionable clothes.

– A good posture and a smile all count in your favour.

– Acing an interview has many facets, so lets have a look at a few of these tricks

– Do not bad-mouth past employers, even if asked why you want to leave / did leave. A potential employer does not want to know how often you have been to the CCMA. If asked , be honest, but try not to bring the subject up at all.

– I want to reinforce the importance of body language in interviews. In an interview scenario, 10% of your impact comes from content, 30% from your voice (do you sound nervous?) and 60% from sight (do you look relaxed, anxious, uninterested?) So how can you demonstrate the right body language at interview? Here’s how:
(a) Use your hands – Move them and keep them above rather than under the table. This shows interest, enthusiasm and energy.
(b) Turn the volume up – Speak with conviction and maintain volume (you don’t need to be deafening, but enough to sound confident).
(c) Emphasize key words rather than speaking monotonously.
(d) Pause to give yourself time to think and get more oxygen to your brain – Pause three times longer (as many times as you think you should so your audience has time to digest what you say).
(e) Sit up straight and put your shoulders back. This will subconsciously make you feel more confident, and keeps you looking engaged.
(f) Project your voice so your audience can hear you clearly.

– After the interview, be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming too casual with the interviewer, I have seen it many times and this has cost people the option of a second interview. Thank them with a handshake and exit.

– After an interview, send an email to thank the person for their time and please respect their email address, do not suddenly hound them every day to find out how far the interview process is.

Well, there you have it, a quick interview guide to get you into the right frame of mind for this week’s batch of #jobmailtipoftheday tips. If you found this information useful, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Remember: Sharing is caring.

While you’re waiting for our updates, take note of these 3 common scams targeting job seekers in South Africa, find out which questions you can ask during an interview or get tips to avoid being late for a job interview.

Not registered as a job seeker on Job Mail yet? Upload your CV, browse for jobs and apply for them NOW! You may just find the position you’ve been looking for. If you have any queries about the registration process or experiencing technical issues with our website, feel free to e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za.

Watch this space for more more updates for job seekers on the Job Mail Blog.

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