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Tips for your first job interview

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The beginning of the year means many school leavers and graduates are now looking to enter the workplace. Workforce solutions provider Manpower South Africa’s MD Lyndy van den Barselaar explores various ways that the youth can prepare for their first interview.
“An interview can be a daunting situation for anyone, as it is easy to feel intimidated and nervous. This can be amplified for someone who may have never taken part in an interview before,” she explains.
“Sufficient preparation can assist one in feeling more confident, prepared and level-headed. There are several things one can do when preparing for an interview.”
Van den Barselaar’s top tips include:
* Research: “Make sure you research the company before the interview. It is important that you are knowledgeable about what the company does, who their customers are and what they strive to do. This will assist you in making a good impression by showing that you are interested in the company and the position available, and will allow you to prepare for some of the questions they may ask during the interview.”
* Practice: “Before the interview, ask you mom, dad or friends to help you practice. Find sample questions on the internet and role play on how you would answer the questions if you were faced with them in your interview. This will ensure you have thought about the kinds of questions you may be asked, and will not be caught completely off guard in the interview.”
* Punctuality: “It is important to make a good impression during your interview. Punctuality is important within the workplace and should be exercised at all times. Additionally, arriving a few minutes early will give you some time to settle into the environment and relax before your interview begins.”
* Body language: “Building a rapport with your interviewer can make a lasting and memorable impression. Try to smile, have a pleasant demeanor and use positive body language.”
* The 70/30 rule: “An interview is a two way conversation. Ensure that you court your interviewer, while keeping your responses relative to the job interview.”
* Be authentic, upbeat, focused, confident, candid and concise: “The key to success is the quality and delivery of your responses. Be authentic: respond truthfully to all the interview questions that you are faced with.”
* Close the deal: “It is often said that the most qualified person is not always hired, which means the hired candidate is often the job seeker who does the best job in responding to interview questions, thus showcasing their skills to the relevant department that he or she applied for. Preparing well for the interview can ensure you are able to do your best.”
* Thank the interviewer in person: “Common courtesy and politeness are important, and thanking each person who interviewed you should be mandatory. While this may not result in you getting the job, it may set you apart from your competitors and make a lasting impression.”
“A job interview is not only an opportunity for the employer to interview you, it is also an opportunity for you to interview your employer. By asking thoughtful and appropriate questions, you are showing the employer that you are interested in being part of their organisation. It can also assist you in feeling confident in your ability within the role, should your application be successful,” says Van den Barselaar.
In conclusion, she states that it is important not to get discouraged during ones job search. “While searching for a job can often be a difficult task, it is important that you believe in yourself and never give up.”