Job interviews can be incredibly intimidating and nerve wrecking. Often you don’t know the company you’re applying at very well; you’re competing against many other candidates, some of whom may be more qualified or experienced than you; and there’s the ever-present fear that they just won’t like you. Charlotte Quenet-Meintjes, head of Workaway International South Africa (a recruitment company that helps South Africans find hospitality work in the US), shares tips on how to ace your job interview.
Know who you are meeting
“Forewarned is forearmed”, as the old adage goes. It’s crucial that you do some of your own research into your prospective employer, to make sure you can hold an intelligent discussion about the company during your interview. You should also try to speak to others who are currently working for the company, or who have worked for it before, so that you can gain a better understanding of the company culture, management style and the likely duties your position will entail.
Look the part
First impressions last, and you want to make a good one if you are serious about clinching the position. Look neat, presentable, and properly dressed. Don’t wear excessive jewellery, and pay attention to your body language. Stick to colours such as grey, white and blue, as these show intelligence, control and sophistication, and shy away from powerful colours such as red and black. Also make sure your hair and nails are neat, and don’t bathe in your perfume!
Be a gentleman / lady
Good manners open more doors than you think. Be polite, greet your interviewers, and introduce yourself. You should also be mindful of your language – no swearing, no offensive jokes, and no bad-mouthing others. You need to switch your cellphone off for the duration of the interview. Cellphones have become vital tools in our everyday lives, and most people carry theirs with them wherever they go. But it is the height of rudeness to answer a ringing phone during an interview – in many cases, it will mean you won’t even be considered for the position.
Punctuality is a pillar of success
Be on time. Being on time shows that you have respect for other people’s time, and that you appreciate them making time to see you. Being late creates an immediate impression that you are unreliable, and no employer will appoint an unreliable person. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the interview – if it’s at a venue you haven’t been to before, give yourself an extra 15 minutes to allow for any unexpected traffic.