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The short time you spend at a job interview may have a dramatic effect on YOUR career prospects. It is therefore important that you perform well because no matter how good your career record is to date, the employment interview remains an important step towards fulfillment of your ambitions. These hints will equip you with valuable information on how to conduct yourself during interviews with prospective employers.

You should be prepared to answer questions like these:

  • Why did you choose this particular role?
  • What do you want to be doing five years from now? Why?
  • What was your last salary?
  • What interests you about our products / services?
  • Can you get recommendations from previous employers? What would they say about you?
  • What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held? Which did you enjoy most? Why?
  • What is your major weakness? What have you done about it?
  • Are you willing to relocate or to travel some distance?
  • How do you spend your spare time? What are your hobbies?
  • What does "teamwork" mean to you?

    During the course of an interview, the employer will be evaluating your negative factors as well as your positive attributes. Be aware of these negative factors which may lead to rejection.

  • Poor personal appearance.
  • Overbearing-aggressive-conceited "superiority complex"-"know -it-all".
  • Inability to express thoughts clearly-poor diction or grammar.
  • Lack of planning for career-no purpose or goals.
  • Lack of interest and enthusiasm-passive and indifferent.
  • Lack of confidence-nervousness.
  • Over-emphasis on money-interested only in remuneration.
  • Evasive-makes excuses for unfavorable factors in record.
  • Lack of tact/maturity/courtesy.
  • Condemnation of past employers.
  • Failure to look interviewer in the eye.
  • Limp, fishy handshake.
  • Lack of appreciation of the value of experience.
  • Failure to ask good questions about the job and company. This is most important.
  • Lack of preparation for the interview

    Preparation for the Interview

    Here are some questions you should consider asking in any interview. Remember that an interview is a "two-way-street".

  • A detailed description of the position?
  • Reason the position is available?
  • Type of business
  • Anticipated induction and training programme?
  • What sort of people have done well?
  • Advanced training programmes available for those who demonstrate outstanding ability.

    Finally, some "do's" and "don'ts" concerning the interview:

  • DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • If presented with an application, DO fill it out neatly and completely.
  • DO greet the interviewer by his/her surname if you are sure of the pronunciation.
  • DO shake hands firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.
  • DON'T smoke even if the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette.
  • DO look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to him/her.
  • Do follow the interviewer's leads but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.
  • DON'T answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no". Explain whenever possible. Tell those things about yourself which relate to the position.
  • DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realise the need for you in his/her organisation. Smile.
  • DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as to the point as possible.
  • DON'T ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies.
  • DON'T "over answer" questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics, since this can be ticklish, it is best to answer the questions honestly, trying not to say more than is necessary.
  • DON'T enquire about SALARY or HOLIDAYS at the initial interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first.