Recently we have been interviewing some juniors who are right out of university. The following five tips were issues that we felt were common amongst all people that we brought in no matter what their background or experience was. It is not easy to get a job in Cape Town and these five tips are vital in creating a good first impression as well as trying to secure the job or at the very least a second interview.
1. Tailor Your CV
Tailor your CV towards the job or career you are applying for. Don’t have one CV that you simply send around to a bunch of companies for a wide range of jobs. It is lazy and gets picked up immediately. Some aspects won’t be relevant to some jobs while other jobs might need you to include more detail on certain aspects. Make it appropriate to the position that you are applying for.
2. Be Prepared – Read Up On The Company
Do your homework! Find out everything that you can about the company and remember it. Don’t come into an interview and forget the name of the company. If you can’t take that sort of time and effort, then your interviewers will be wondering how much pride and thought you would put into the job. Read up on the history and grab as much information as you can find – know the company.
3. Think About Your Answers
Think about the common questions that you will be asked and actually spend some time thinking about your answers. Don’t get caught in an interview where the routine questions catch you off guard and surprised. Again, this is something that shows you are prepared and take pride in what you do. Often questions will need some research into the topic and make sure you understand the field and are ready with well thought out answers that you have practiced in front of the mirror. The favourite question is why Company X? That one question can ruin your interview, but not if you do steps 2 & 3.
4. First Impressions Count
This is massive. It starts the moment you apply. Make sure your CV is perfect and that your cover letter is tailored to the specific position you are applying for and addressed to the relevant person and their position. It also means arriving around 10-15 minutes early for you interview and being appropriately dressed. Your dress and appearance also shows if you understand what the role is. A little tip here is to also bring another fresh copy of your CV with you to the interview – some managers scribble on or lose CV’s and it is useful if you can provide them with a new one.
5. Be brave – stop and think but don’t be afraid to say I don’t know
You have obviously caught their intention already or else they wouldn’t have offered you an interview. You are now prepared and are completely ready for this interview, but the chances that they ask you something that catches you out is quite high. Don’t stress, they simply want to see your reasoning skills and how you react to difficult situations. Most importantly, don’t rush an answer. Take 10-20 seconds to sit and think and ponder an answer. If you can’t come up with a decent answer, don’t try and scrape one together. Rather be brave and do something that a lot of people don’t know how to do – say, “I don’t know”. Importantly, don’t just leave it at that. Offer to do some research and follow up with an answer via email etc and DO SO!
Take the time and be prepared. Seriously, these five tips are quite small, but can be oh so importantly and impressive if you nail them. Good job landing that job!
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