It is natural to get very nervous when you go for a job interview. Some people are too confident and give the interviewer the impression that they “know all the answers”. This is not going to help you get the job.

The impression that you create in the interview can make the difference between whether you get the job or not. First impressions count. Some people believe that the first 5 seconds is all you have to make a good impression! Let’s take a look at what you can do to get rid of some of your nervousness.

  • Remember that, very often, the interviewer may also be nervous. They may not be comfortable with speaking to large numbers of strangers every day.
  • Take some deep breaths and tell yourself that the interview is just a chat between you and another person, so that they can find out some things about you and that you can find out some things about them.
  • Find something to think about that you are comfortable with, for example, a conversation you had with a close friend at their home. Think about what that felt like and keep that feeling inside you while you are in the interview
  • Imagine that the interviewer is wearing a T shirt and jeans, or a funny costume.
  • Imagine that you are the interviewer and you are there to find out about the company that is interested in you.

The best way to gain confidence is to make sure you are well prepared for the interview. So be ready!

  • Make sure you have done everything you needed to do. If you are not sure then go back through this book and check.
  • Before you go to the interview you must think about the questions you may want to ask and write them down.
  • Think about possible questions that the interviewer may ask you.
  • Ask a friend to pretend to be the interviewer and rehearse these questions and answers with them. Make sure that you have all your answers ready.
  • Make sure you know exactly where the interview is happening. If you are not sure where the place is, check it out before the day of the interview.
  • Make sure you know exactly what time you must be at the interview. Allow yourself extra time to get there. You must ALWAYS BE ON TIME for an interview.
  • Before you go to the interview make sure you are clean and neatly dressed. Do not wear crazy clothes or large amounts of jewellery. Do not wear sunglasses or a hat inside the company offices.
  • Get to the interview 5 to 10 minutes early so you have time to relax and become calm.

Going for the interview
You have made it to the interview room. But you haven’t finished yet!!!
It’s very important that you give the best impression you can right through the interview. Make sure of the following:

  • Be ready to shake hands firmly.
  • Smile and look people in the eye when you are introduced to them.
  • Be ready to be interviewed by more than one person.
  • If there is an interviewing team, make sure that you greet each person properly and remember that they are ALL there to interview you.
  • Only sit down when you are invited to.
  • Be polite, friendly and confident.
  • Don’t fi dget or fumble.
  • Sit up straight.
  • NEVER answer your cell phone. Switch it off before you go into the room.
  • Listen carefully to the questions. If you do not understand something then ask for an explanation.
  • Think carefully about each question before you answer. There is no rush.
  • When you answer a question, look at the interviewer and give the best answer you can.
  • Be honest. If you pretend to know what you don’t know, you could end up looking very bad.
  • Do not be put off if the interviewers write in their fi les as this is a normal part of interviewing. They have a lot to remember about each candidate.
  • If you have work experience in the job being advertised, tell the interviewers, if you don’t have experience then tell them that you really want to learn.
  • Give enthusiastic answers, like “yes” and “no”. Half-hearted answers like “I don’t mind” will not impress anyone.
  • Show that you are interested in the job and ask as many questions as you want to.

The interviewers will probably ask you many questions about what you want to do, what you like doing, etc. Here are some questions that may get asked during an interview:

  • Why are you interested in working for us?
  • What do you want to be doing 10 years from now?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What do you know about this company?
  • What can you offer this company?
  • Do you like working on your own?
  • Do you fi nd it easy to work with other people?
  • What kind of people do you prefer working with?
  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • What salary (wage) do you have in mind?
  • Tell us more about yourself.

Make sure you understand the questions before you answer them. The right answer is important.
Before you go to the interview, think about the questions the interviewer might ask and be ready to answer them. Before you go to the interview, also think about some questions that you might want to ask. If you want to write down the answers, do so. Scribble down a note so you will remember. Don’t spend lots of time writing things down if you don’t have to.
Here are some ideas for some questions that you might want to ask:

  • What exactly does the job entail?
  • What will be expected of me?
  • May I be shown around the offi ce or work areas?
  • What are the working hours?
  • Please tell me about the pension plan, medical aid and leave.
  • What will my starting salary be?
  • What will my career prospects be?
  • When can I expect to hear your decision regarding my application?

Are there any other questions you might want to ask the interviewer? After the interview

When the interviewers have fi nished, thank them for seeing you and greet them politely. Don’t try to start a new conversation with them at this point. They are probably very busy with all of the people they have to see.

It would be a good idea if you sent the company a “thank you” note a day or two after your interview. It could look something like the example below.