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Interview Dos and Don’ts

These tips do not necessarily mean that you will be guaranteed to get the role (nothing can ever really guarantee that), they are sure-fire ways to have a lovely interaction and leave a lasting impression.

A few days ago, a tweet went viral on Twitter where people were asked to share their interview experiences. Essentially, the tweet posed the question asking how they knew they would not be getting the job. There were several hilarious responses, ranging from people saying they had been asked to list their interviewer(s) names but could not remember, to someone saying that they had driven their mother’s car to the interview and the owner of the company had seen the car, then promptly informed the interviewee that they could not afford her. These tweets spurred me to compile my own advice with tips for how to have a great interview. And while these tips do not necessarily mean that you will be guaranteed to get the role (nothing can ever really guarantee that), they are sure-fire ways to have a lovely interaction and leave a lasting impression, which can always lead to you bagging a similar role in the future.

Now, my first advice for a good interview is to always try to steer the conversation in your favor. While it is easy to always get anxious about the interviewer(s) or your qualifications for the role, it is important to always remember that you do have your personal strengths, and those can always be pulled in as a lifeline. If your interviewer asks you about a software application that you might not be familiar with for example, certainly do not lie. Lying only shows your potential employer that you are not trustworthy, which has more of an effect on you getting that role even more than your lack of knowledge in the application. You can always redirect the question about your knowledge of the application by extending forth the information (which should already be in your CV, but mention it regardless) about the applications you are familiar with. You can explain that although you may not have knowledge of that application in particular, you gained knowledge of a host of other applications in a very short time. You can also compare the expertise level of both applications; if you can grasp one that has some level of difficulty, you can also grasp others.

Another tip is to try to understand the question before answering. Asking your interviewer to repeat themselves or to give you a moment to gather your thoughts is not a cause for argument. This shows to your interviewer that you are not just rushing through to be done with the interview, but that you also care about your answers in relation to the question. Interviewers love an answer that does not deviate from the original point but instead hits the nail on the head. Taking a moment to gather your thoughts will also help you to give a coherent answer rather than blubbering your way through the question. Again, do not be scared to draw from your lived experiences in order to answer, as it is very easy to fancy up stories and ideas we do know rather than completely unknown topics.

This one may seem a bit superficial, but do not be scared to go all out with your looks before an interview. Knowing that you look good is certain to boost your confidence levels, which in turn will make you speak clearer, smile brighter and even be more in tune with your interviewer(s). Get a haircut, or a trim and fade at the sides if you carry a full head of hair. It will help you to look neater and well packaged, even with loc’d hair. You can also get a manicure and pedicure if your budget allows. Try to carry a handkerchief with you, wipes and deodorant as the climate may not be in your favor. You do not want to be sweating profusely in their presence or when coming in as this can cause more discomfort for you as the interviewee.

Make sure to show up early enough, so you are able to get yourself together and also locate the appropriate offices. Try to enjoy the company of your interviewer(s) and engage with them as well-respected peers, despite personal anxieties about getting the job. Do not ask inappropriate questions and resist the urge to drop uncomfortable ‘jokes’ or comments. Now is not the time to be commenting on your interviewer(s) looks. A simple compliment like “the office looks great” or “what a comfortable working space for learning and growth” works perfectly. Do not overdo the buttering, as they will see it coming from a mile away.

Lastly, take things away from the interviewer and the interview itself that may be helpful in the next. It is one thing to make a mistake and another to repeat the action. Try to recall if there were questions which you stumbled on and practice answers so that you may be great at them later. If you have the opportunity, ask a friend who works in HR or any other affiliated departments to conduct a test-run interview with you. Best of luck.

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