Top interview tips to help you land the job
Preparing for that interview that can open the door to your dream job? No problem! Today we highlight some of the best interview tips along with interview questions and answers to help you ace that meeting. Remember, apply for jobs online by register your CV on Job Mail!
5 Interview Tips to Live By
To help you along the journey of landing that dream job, we have compiled a list of some the most important tips, highlighting some of these to help you up your interview skills:
- Start by landing your interview.
- Do your research and prepare for the interview.
- The best body language and how you should dress.
- Listen, pay attention and know when to stop talking.
- Answer interview questions without over doing it.
1. Start by landing your interview.
Your interview starts even before you walk in the door and have a chance to meet your potential employer.
Your CV and even a phone call to set up an interview are all things taken into consideration by your potential employer. Your CV is what interests the employer and even the phone call can be a test to your professionalism, language and maybe even a hint of personality.
It is super important to make sure that your CV is perfect before you start to apply for jobs online. To help get started on creating an epic online CV, we highly recommend our “10 Do’s and Don’ts for your job applications on Job Mail” post.
2. Do your research and prepare for the interview
This is one of the popular interview tips and for a good reason. Walking into an interview unprepared and blind is never (never ever) a good idea. If you want to ace your interview, you need to do your research and preparation.
Research the company you want to work for. The type of research you do will depend on the career field you are in. Applying for a marketing position for example will mean that you need to know who the company’s biggest competitors are.
Bonus Tip: Google yourself and comb through your social media profiles. You need to know what your online image looks like and do removals and clean-ups when and where necessary. Your interviewer will very likely Google you and you don’t want something catching you off guard.
3. The best body language and how you should dress
Body language is really important. The way you ‘speak without speaking’ tells the interviewer a lot about you, how you conduct yourself at work and your attitude – whether these readings are accurate or not, they will be taken into consideration.
Some body language interview tips to keep in mind:
- Start off with a firm handshake.
- Focus on your posture. Sit (and stand) upright.
- Make eye contact with your interviewer (or interviewers).
- While we all have our little quirks, some people like using their hands a little bit more than others when they talk, try not to overdo do.
- Focus on what you do with your hands during the interview. Again, we all have our quirks, but try to keep stuff like running your hand through your hair, touching your mouth and general fidgeting to a minimal.
Along with fine tuning your body language, you will need to focus on our wardrobe. While we all know that old “never judge a book by its cover”, you also need to realise that first impressions, especially in the business world, is very important. We all judge the book by its cover – whether it is a conscious or unconscious judgement – and if you rock up for an interview looking unprofessional and not well groomed, it will look extremely bad.
An interview is about the bigger picture and, if you apply for jobs online and land that interview, you will need to be prepared to be judged. At the end of the day, an interview is a judgement – a judgement on not only your skills, but whether you are a good fit for the existing team and how you might conduct yourself in the workplace.
Be confident (without coming across as arrogant) and energetic – you are after all applying for your dream job, so put your best foot forward.
Bonus Tip: Never be late for an interview. Yes, there are rare cases where a major accident on the N1 might delay you by an hour, but prepare for the worst. Be there early, prepared and looking your best. Should you be delayed, do not wait until five minutes before your meeting starts to let the interviewer know – make a call, don’t over explain the situation and try and get to your interview as fast (and as safely) as possible.
4. Listen, pay attention and know when to stop talking
One of the best interview tips we can give you is to pay attention and listen to your interviewer. Your interviewer will be giving you information throughout the interview, so absorb this. It might be something that interests you – giving you something to say when he or she asks ‘do you have any questions’.
Don’t talk too much or interrupt your interviewer. This is where preparation also comes into play. If you are not prepared, you might have an internal ‘freak-out’ and start rambling.
Bonus Tip: Don’t take the ‘please hire me’ approach. You need to be confident (both in your body language and job skills) and focussed, bringing across the idea that the job you are applying for is something that interests you, that you are excited about it and that have a passion for your chosen career.
5. Answer interview questions without over doing it
Before we dive into interview questions and answers, the following should be kept in mind:
- Never answer questions with just a yes or a no.
- Don’t over answer questions either. Mastering interview skills is not easy, but always keep in mind why you are there, what has been asked and how you can best answer a question without overdoing it.
- Always answer truthfully and don’t oversell your knowledge – interviewers can in many cases tell when answers are embellished.
- Never badmouth your current or previous employer and team members. This not only looks bad, but the interviewer knows that you might one day talk about their company in the same way.
Bonus Tip: The first interview is never a good time to ask about bonuses and holidays. When you have been made a job offer and your contract is being drawn up, you can go into more detail about salaries, bonuses and holidays.
Interview Questions and Answers
Now that you have a little more ammunition in your interview skills arsenal, it is time to tackle interview questions and answers. It is important to know what you will be expected to answer and there will be some generic interview questions you will come across in your job hunt. Before you apply for jobs online, be sure that it is the job you want. This can help you with your interview answers.
- Tell me more about yourself.
Use this interview question to talk about the professional you. Where you are in your career, what your work experience have taught you. Do not tell the interviewer everything about yourself, dogs, two cats and parrot. Keep this answer more professional.
- What do you know about us (or the company)?
This is where your research come in. Be prepared, but don’t focus on the information you find on their ‘About Us’ page. Comb through news stories, the company’s online profiles and what you have learned about the company in your professional field. Steer away from negative media and don’t be generic.
- Why this job? Why should we hire you?
Highlight your attributes and job skills that make you suited for the vacancy. Show enthusiasm for your chosen career and a positive attitude that whatever challenges might lay ahead. But be careful not to overdo your skills here – you might be embellishing a bit or you might come across as being a bit arrogant. Here you are aiming for confidence.
- What are your strengths?
Focus on a success story here, but ensure that the story and the success you gained match what is required for this job. Don’t be modest. Aim for confidence in your abilities, but again, arrogance is never appreciated in job interviews.
- What are your weaknesses?
For me personally, this is always a hard one to answer. I mean, why would you highlight the bad things about yourself? The trick here is to focus on a weakness that is not a requirement for the job. Don’t go for the weakness that is actually a good thing. If you are applying for position that requires you to lead, don’t say that your team work skills or management skills need work. Being able to see a weakness and start working on improving your skills in that field, is a good thing. It means that you are willing to grow, change and adapt to what is required.
- Why are you leaving your current position?
Another one of the trickier interview questions. Here, be honest but remember the interview tips we gave you – never badmouth a previous or current employer. Use this opportunity to highlight the things about the job you are applying for that caught your attention.
- Where do you see yourself in X amount of years?
This is not the time to tell the interviewers about how many kids you want. Here, focus on your career, what you want to achieve. Show ambition, but be realistic. Remember, you can’t be the CEO or take the interviewer’s position.
- What are your salary expectations?
This is always an awkward question – at least for me – and can sometimes be tricky interview skills to master. You can approach this in various ways, but you will need to start by doing your research. Research what the industry standards are, having a realistic outlook on what a professional in your field, with your work experience and with your skills can expect to earn. Armed with research, you are able to give a fair salary range. You can also opt for the more “if I am the best candidate for the job I am sure we can come to an agreement” or “my salary expectations are in line with the industry standards as well as my work experience and qualifications”. If you are pushed for a more specific answer, go for the “in the X amount range”, but be sure that the vacancy does fall into that range.
- Do you have any questions for us?
This is where your research and listening to the interviewer comes in. Ask more about the position, the team, any new endeavours, the department you might be working in and maybe even what that manager enjoys most about working at the company. This question is never the time to ask about salaries and holidays.
- Prepare for a brainteaser.
Some interview questions might include a brainteaser. This is seen in many professions and, if you are creative for example, apply that to you answer. From problem solving kills to testing your knowledge of your industry, this is usually a great way to show off your skills and thinking.
There you have it – our list of some of the top interview tips along with 10 interview questions and answers to help you land that job. Ready? Apply for jobs online by registering your CV on Job Mail.