Interview Guidelines

JOB SEEKER’S TOOLKIT

  • Getting a good job is a life-affirming experience. Meaningful work allows us to maximise our potential as human beings, provides us with financial security and is a powerful element in building a cohesive Country.Employers in SA and in the World are facing acute skills and labour shortages that impact on productivity and competitiveness. Employers want to employ the best person for the job to enhance performance in both the private and public sectors. Equally, employees want to maximise their talents and potential in employment throughout their lives.

Interviewing Skills
P
reparing for the “Audition”

A well-managed job search campaign will eventually result in getting invitations to job interviews. Landing an interview is just the first major hurdle – it means the job seeker has “made the cut” into a small group of people being considered for the position. The next hurdle to clear is the interview itself – the opportunity to prove s/he is the best person for the job.

The interview is extremely important, because each person granted an interview is probably also qualified for the job. The decision about who gets hired now comes down to who the interviewer(s) believe will be the “best fit” for the organization:

  • who is most prepared and knowledgeable about the company and the job
  • who seems the most capable
  • who has the kind of personality that will mesh with co-workers
  • who is most likeable

From the employer’s perspective, the interview process isn’t always the most reliable way to pick the best job candidates. In fact, many employers complain that it’s impossible to know whether or not a person can do a job just based on an interview; consequently many hiring decisions are based the interviewer’s “gut instinct”.

When preparing for an interview, it’s useful to think of it as an “audition”. The interviewer wants to know if the applicant can:

  • “Hit all the notes” – does the applicant have the skills needed to do the job?
  • “Play in unison with the band” – can the person get along with co-workers?
  • “Show up for every performance on time” — Is the person dependable?
  • “Learn new tunes” – Can the applicant learn the job within a reasonable timeframe?

“Audition” Tips

The person being interviewed has the challenge of proving to the interviewer that they can do all of these things. Some interviewers are more skilled than others at asking the right questions, but even if an employer isn’t an effective interviewer, an applicant can still find a way to “play a few notes” to prove they’re qualified for the job.

Suggested “audition” tips:

  • Bring examples of work — reports you’ve written, spreadsheets you’ve created, or any other applicable examples of work. Be prepared to:
    • explain the assignment/problem
    • what you did to solve the problem
    • what results were achieved. Be specific!
  • Offer to “role play” – let the employer play the role of a customer or boss, and then demonstrate how you would respond to their needs in a “real life” situation.
  • Ask the interviewer to pose a problem and offer examples of how you would solve that problem. Try to address an actual problem that the employer is currently facing.