With the high unemployment rate and male-dominated industries in Africa there is a need to impress the future employer, here are a few guidelines on how to ace the interview and get the job.
When deciding what to wear to the interview, find out more about the company’s culture by consulting its website or, if possible, snooping around the parking lot to see how everyone is dressed as they head into the office.
A jacket or blazer of sorts and closed-toe shoes are essential for a formal environment, for a casual office, a pencil skirt is most ideal matched with a pretty blouse and peep toes.
Do one thing that will stand out from the crowd, spicing up the outfit with a memorable accessory which can be an interesting handbag or wearing a striking but tasteful necklace, avoid a plunging neckline which is obviously not appropriate for the workplace.
Be punctual or a bit early
Don’t be late for the job interview, five or ten minutes early is fine, avoid getting lost on the way and end up being late.
Be friendly to everyone you meet
Be nice to everyone, including the security personnel, the receptionist, you never know who is watching or who knows who and might be rude to someone who is interviewing you.
Anxiety about messing up can result in making the biggest mistakes of all, sounding uncertain answering questions and generally not appearing confident can easily overshadow all qualifications, try to be calm.
Make a good first impression
A firm handshake is a requirement, a 2008 study shows that women with firm grasp receive higher ratings than men with equally strong handshakes, so do not offer the interviewer a limp grasp but take her hand firmly, making sure the web between your thumb and first finger meets hers, give it one or two pumps then let go.
Appear focused and be informed
Lean slightly forward as it instantly makes you seem focused and maintain eye contact, Carole Martin an author of Boost your interview IQ is of the view that some people glance all over the place and are not even aware they are doing it during the interview.
Do your homework about the company and even google the interviewer so you know who you are meeting, if asked a company related question you will sound knowledgeable.
Brag a little
This has to do with behavioural questions, basically, the interviewer asks how you have handled certain situations assuming that past behaviour might offer hints for future success.
Be specific in answering these questions, talking about what you did within the company and not just what the company achieved, explain exactly some of the achievements you were part of and how you handled problems.
Nail the question
“What is your biggest weakness?” is a common question during an interview, and one that often confuses interviewees because saying that you don’t have a weakness makes you seem arrogant, revealing too much undermines your ability.
Begin with a positive statement, followed by a negative one and then end with a positive for example, if your weakness is an inability to create visual presentations, say that you willing to gain knowledge on visual presentations like power point (positive), and you have not yet mastered how to use slides (negative), but you are doing a course to improve your skills.
Turn the tables
Once the interview is finished almost all interviewers will turn around and ask if you have any questions, use this opportunity to say something impressive like “you said earlier that you are restructuring. What inspired this?”.
Mentioning something that was brought up during the interview shows that you were paying attention, asking specific questions about the company demonstrates that you are interested enough to read on the latest news, either on the website or through a simple Google search.
Asking questions like “do you have any doubts that I can do this job?” may seem like the wrong thing to say, but getting the interviewer to bring up potential problems she has with your qualifications will allow you to address the issues.
This way you will have a chance to make your case and swing any doubts into your favour.
Let them know you really want the job
People think that being keen makes them look desperate but most employers like enthusiasm, before you leave say something like “Thanks for giving me some details about the post. It sounds like a brilliant opportunity for someone with my skills”.
Follow up the same day with an email thanking the person for taking the time to meet you and will always be available to answer and questions if required.