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How to Survive an Interview

The interview:

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You are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to hire somebody - not because he/she wants to trip you up or embarrass you.

Through the interaction which will take place during the interview, he/she will be searching out your strong and weak points, evaluating you on your qualifications, skills and intellectual qualities and will probably probe deeply to determine your attitudes, aptitudes, stability, motivation and maturity.

Some do's and don't's concerning the interview...

  • DO plan to arrive on time or a few minutes early. Late arrival for a job interview is never excusable.
  • If presented with an application, DO fill it out neatly and completely. If you have a personal resume, be sure the person you release it to is the person who will actually do the hiring.
  • DO greet the interviewer by his/her surname if you are sure of the pronunciation. If you are not, ask them to repeat their name.
  • DO shake hands firmly.
  • DO wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair. Look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile.
  • DO look a prospective employer in the eye while you talk to him/her.
  • DO follow the interviewer's leads but try to get the interviewer to describe the position and the duties to you early in the interview so that you can relate your background and skills to the position.
  • DON'T answer questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Explain whenever possible. Tell those things about yourself which relate to the position.
  • DO make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a factual, sincere manner. Keep in mind that you alone can sell yourself to an interviewer. Make him/her realize the need for you in his/her organization. Smile.
  • DO be prepared to answer typical questions like:
    • What kind of job are you looking for?
    • What are your strengths?
    • What are you really good at?
    • Your weaknesses?
    • What have you done about addressing them?
    • What do you know about our company?
    • Why did you choose your particular career?
    • What are your qualifications? Smile.

  • DON'T lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as to-the-point as possible.
  • DON'T ever make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers or companies. 
  • DON'T 'over answer' questions. The interviewer may steer the conversation into politics or economics, since this can be ticklish, it is best to answer the questions honestly, trying not to say more than is necessary.
  • DON'T enquire about SALARY, HOLIDAYS, BONUSES etc, at the initial interview unless you are positive the employer is interested in hiring you and raises the issue first. However, you should know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary or range.
  • DO always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. Never close the door on opportunity. It is better to be in the position where you can choose from a number of jobs rather than only one.