• Lindi Engelbrecht

Your chance to create a lasting impression

Most people have a general understanding of how to prepare for an interview. Yet, it can be easy to overlook some of the details, especially if you’re feeling a bit nervous or you’re focusing on preparing for common interview questions.

To help take some of the stress out of your prep, here’s a handy guide to your interview preparation.

The more I prepare, the luckier I get

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln

One Google search on “interview preparation tips” will generate over 2 million web pages full of useful techniques and tricks to help ace your next job interview. However, you’ve probably heard most of this advice hundreds of times before. So, I’d like to offer you something different. Here are several interview preparation tips that are seemingly unconventional, but undoubtedly useful when it comes to making that awesome first impression.

The Prep

Regardless of the type of interview you're preparing for, doing plenty of research and planning is key. Generally, you should: (the free resource, reveals all the tips & secrets, for you to ace your interview)

Find out as much as possible about the company, the position & the interviewer beforehand. 

Knowing the type of boss you are going to, helps you to tailor yourself to the situation. The tailoring implies knowing the sort of attitude to adopt as well as how to dress. Know the name of the MD of the company.

  • Get details of the position offered. What skills do they look for? Duties, responsibilities, reporting line, promotional prospects, machinery/ equipment etc.

  • Your recruitment consultant should brief you on much of this information. If you have access to the internet, look up the company’s web site. It’s an excellent way of learning more about the company.

  • Go to every interview, so you can compare opportunities and make the best career move. Besides, you will always learn something.

First Impression - They are critical and based on your appearance. The interviewer will start forming an opinion of you even before you have said a word. 

  • Most employers think people who look as if they care about themselves, are more likely to care about their job. Your goal should be to come across in the best possible light – attractive in the way you dress, in your gestures, facial expressions and in your speech.

  • Dress - There is only one way to dress for your first meeting, clean cut & conservative, unless you apply for the Creative Director job at an advertising agency.

  • Ensure that your appearance is clean and tidy - a suit is the best form of for both men and woman. Your most professional colours are still dark blue or charcoal with a white shirt or blouse, and a red tie,,,that's the power tie. As a general rule, the more clothing you have on, the more credible and persuasive you are, an the more business-like you will appear. This does not mean that you should wear a three-piece suit for an interview in the desert in the middle of summer; it simply means you have more credibility. This is not relevant for every company. Some companies or interviewers do not like suits, or fancy dress. This is why the research you do before hand is so important.

  • Take a tissue with you to dry possible damp brows or clammy hands before meeting you interviewer

  • Wait until you are offered a chair before you sit down. However, do accept team, coffee or water if offered, as it does relax the atmosphere. 

  • Do not call anybody by first name only unless you are invited to do so.  Use a person's name when talking.  It's the best way to get - and keep -his or her attention

  • Fill in application forms or do tests if required.  Fill in neatly and completely, every space thus showing interest at an early stage.  Don't put a salary figure down, write down "negotiable".

Your personality is vitally important! - Whether the position is offered to you, not only depends on your Qualifications, experience & skills (the fact that the company has agreed to see you, proves that your professional background is basically right), but also on your attitude & ability to sell yourself.

  • Honesty - Experienced interviewers are seasoned in discovery lies.

  • Competent/ Capable - The employer looks for excellence that is consistent.  Use examples to show him/her that you are able to work independently.

  • Be interested and Enthusiastic

  • Reliable

  • Willing attitude and commitment 

  • Give examples of "initiative" in pervious jobs and how the company profited from it.

Display a very positive attitude towards (even in spite of economic & political changes)

Prepare answers, but also prepare your mindset - Your “self-talk” or internal dialogue is critical when it comes to effective interview preparation.

Google the interviewer - A few years ago, this behaviour would be questionable, but today it’s perfectly normal to do some “research”on your interviewer before meeting them. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile, and find out if they’ve been featured in any interviews or article.

Success is achieved when prepared

All of the above are actionable steps that will ensure you feel confident and relaxed. Consequently, the interview will feel more like a two way conversation, as appose to a sterile Q&A session. Thus you will find yourself genuinely building a rapport with the interviewer and creating a lasting impression.

Success is achieved when prepared!!!