- Invitation to Interview – When invited to interview, reply with a polite email or SMS – depending on the mode of communication the manager used – accepting the invitation. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to attend this interview i.e. you’ve already accepted another job offer or you are unable to attend due to a hospital appointment, then politely decline or explain the reasons why you are unable to attend at the date/time specified by the manager. Politely ask for an alternative appointment. NOTE – Never ignore an interview invitation (even if you have another job) and no matter whether this invitation has been sent by email or SMS, never use text speak when communicating with an HR manager. Maintain professional standards at all times.
- Go on a reconnaissance trip before your interview – Visit the company (a reconnaissance) before your interview. This is to establish and confirm the exact location of the company as well as to gauge how long your journey will take to your interview. Take a few minutes to observe the people coming in and out of the company. What is the culture i.e. dress code, demography (will you fit in?).
- Interview Dress Code – Unless your name is Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, then it is better to dress smart and conservatively than to dress too casual for an interview. For gentlemen we would advise a suit and tie and no other form of jewellery apart from a watch. For ladies we would advise a skirt and smart blouse, a suit or a smart, simple dress. Your outfit should not be too short. As with gentlemen, we would also advise ladies not to wear too much jewellery; also keep your earrings simple i.e. studs rather than long, dangling earrings. For both ladies and gentlemen, we would advise that you play it safe with black, navy or grey suits complemented with light shirts. Dark suits are a good investment as you may have to attend two or three interviews with the company and so if you change your shirt, they won’t notice it’s the same suit – useful if money is tight. However, ensure clothes are fresh and not sweaty. In terms of shoes – once again stick with dark colours. Gentlemen should wear closed shoes and for ladies, we would recommend office/court shoes but if not, then make sure your heels are not too high. For corporate interviews, we would not recommend sandals no matter how trendy you think they look. Polished shoes – whether you are a lady or gentleman, you must ensure that your shoes are polished.
- Personal Hygiene and habits – While this may not be comfortable to read, it is important that we address some important issues:
- Do not arrive at interviews sweating i.e. avoid body odour.
- Always use deodorant and arrive early so you can use the bathroom to check yourself. To freshen your breath, eat a mint before interviews but do not chew gum during your interview.
- If you need to sneeze then do so, into a handkerchief
If offered tea, coffee or water opt for water. It is always handy to have a glass of water nearby by as nerves can often result in a dry mouth. Also when you are nervous, it is not always easy to balance a tea cup and saucer using shaky hands.
Interview Questions – Hiring managers know your credentials from your CV and covering letter, now they want to get a good sense of how clearly you communicate and support your qualifications and fit for the job. Be prepared to answer some of the following questions:
- Tell us a little bit about yourself?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What has been a defining moment in your life?
- Describe a situation where you failed in achieving your goal. What did you learn from it?
- If your interview went well and, if it feels right then write a thank you email. If you are an ATB Brand Ambassador or candidate, then we will be happy to assist and guide you in this.
- Dealing with rejection – Accept rejection with dignity. Interviews are never a waste of time and if possible write a thank you email and then ask for feedback. This is clearly at the discretion of the manager but if you have gone as far as interview stage, then it is well worth chasing feedback.