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Career Resources - General Interview Tips

General - Preparation before the Interview

  • Use a diversified job hunting approach - newspaper ads, professional associations/groups events, networking/word of mouth, and job recruitment sites like WazobiaJobs.com
  • Apply for the right position - not for one you are not qualified for. Two years after your first degree, you should not be applying to be the CEO of a multinational, or a Head of Investment Banking
  • Avoid embellishing your CV. Doing so may occasionally get you the job, but most certainly will get you fired very quickly.
  • Find out about the company beforehand, visit the company’s website, “google” the company and get as much information as possible. Go to the News Release Section of the company’s web site, to learn about new events happening in the company
  • Bring additional copies of your CV, but also be prepared to fill in their form - completely. Bring a pen for this purpose.
  • Go to bed early the night before (if possible!). Have a decent dinner, no excess. Not a good day to be trying out new food or drinks. Avoid liquor, garlic or things similar before the interview as it can linger with you.
  • Ask for the name(s) of your interviewer(s), and use the internet to do some general research about the interviewer(s). Knowing the interest of your interviewers may be helpful during the interview.
  • Review your CV again and again, make sure you can discuss in detail the work experiences you have listed on your CV
  • Make sure you have everything you need for the interview - testimonials, proof of studies, certificates etc.
  • Mentally prepare for Commonly Asked Interview Questions.
  • Review the Job Description and Align as much as possible with your past work experience.
  • Based on your research, come up with at least 2-3 questions (preferably pertinent to the position you are applying for, to ask your interviewers.

Dress code - General posture and appearance during the Interview

• Dress appropriately, as if you are already working there. Clothes should be neat but you don’t have to make a fashion statement.
• Be neat and presentable. Hair, nails, skin, clothes etc.
• Do not wear too much jewelry, heavy accessories or makeup. Preferably no cologne/perfume, it is often a distraction
• Avoid loud colours, short skirts, slacks that are too short etc. and also jeans. It’s always safe to be conservative until you know more about the company culture.
• Watch your body posture and language. Use positive open movements and keep your back straight.
• Do not crunch up in your seat but, also, don’t act as if you’re about to pounce on the interviewer.
• Sit straight and look the interviewer in the eye as much as possible.
• Do not eat, bite your nails or smoke during the interview. If offered coffee or tea, it might be better to turn it down politely - “No thanks, I just had a cup of tea”, you do not want to mistakenly spill tea or coffee on your clothes.

On arrival - and during the Interview

• Arrive for the interview on time if possible, at least fifteen minutes early. It helps to calm you before going in, it might also be a good time to use the rest rooms, freshen up.
• Again check to make sure you have everything you may need for the interview - testimonials, proof of studies, certificates etc.
• Be polite to all as you enter. The receptionist might run you down to the boss if you’re rude or do not show appropriate courtesy
• Do not falsify your credentials or claim to be or do what you are not. If you were fired from your previous job, be honest but also give your side of the story.
• If you are feeling panicky, take a few deep breaths, think positively and wipe your palms on something dry. (in case they’re sweaty from nerves)
• A smile helps “break the ice”.
• Accept the handshake in the manner given to you. Do not crush the interviewer’s hand but, also, don’t give a feeble fingertip only handshake
• Do not bring friends or family with you, if you have to, make sure they are not within sight.
• Convey your competencies and experience without dominating the discussion, the interview is a discussion/conversation.
• Do not give yes/no answers. Help the interviewer know you.
• Ask 2-3 pertinent questions about the position or about the company.
• Avoid unnecessary name dropping, most interviewers do not care about whom you know, they just want to know if you have the experience and knowledge to do the job.
• Don’t ask right away if you’ve got the job, but you can ask when you could reasonably anticipate hearing back from the company.

Some final thoughts on why you should not worry..

• The interviewer might be nervous too.
• You know the answers...there can be no trick questions
• You want the job, the interviewer needs someone to do the job, so you’ve got a chance!

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