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Interview Tips

For interview confidence know the interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Use your online Career Tools to practice or rehearse with a friend.

Can you do what you have said you have done in your CV?

The most critical stage in any career change or job search process is the recruitment interview. Starting the interview on a positive note is very important, as it is the foundation for the rest of the interview.

In a previous update, we highlighted that the most important things to do in any job interview are to answer these three key questions:

  1. Can you do what you have said you have done in your CV?
  2. Can you do the job that you are being interviewed for?
  3. Will you fit in well with the team and the company?

In this update we will expand on the first question - Can you do what you have said you have done in your CV? Though past experience is still the best indicator of future performance, it is only part of the interview.

There are a number of pitfalls to avoid:

(a)   The question “Tell me more about yourself is not an invitation to start a monologue of ten or more minutes.

(b)   Too often a candidate will use far too much of the interview time discussing what they have done.

(c)   Too long and windy answers on past achievements may be seen as overselling.

Here are three simple steps to start off strongly and to ensure:

  1. Start off chronologically with your first role building up to your current or most recent role, by increasing the level and detail of information progressively.
  2. Ensure that your overview of experience is relevant to the role and industry. If you had a role in administration and then sales, emphasise the fact that you really wanted to work in sales, if you are looking at another sales role.   
  3. Select one achievement as a compelling story for your most recent role that will clearly demonstrate your competence and suitability. Think of it as to how the interviewer will describe you to their manager “We interviewed this outstanding sales person from ABC Company who was responsible foe launching XYZ products at all major supermarkets”.

In many ways the interviewer is already satisfied that you have the relevant experience and skills, which is why you have been invited to the interview. However, many candidates tend to focus far too much on their past experience, without really understanding the demands of the role that they are being interviewed for.

The Career GPS includes a comprehensive section on interview questions providing you with an Q&A rehearsal script to handle your interview with confidence.

In future updates we will cover some more valuable information to assist you in getting an offer of employment and how to close the interview off in a strong and conclusive way.

Travel safely!

Charles van Heerden

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Charles is an HR careers expert with a strong focus on talent management. He has been an HR Director in three countries, a senior line manager and a consultant. Charles holds a degree in Psychology and has completed advanced studies in HR and change management.

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