A short Guide to help with interviews

Most interviewers ask similar general questions for which it is advisable to be prepared.

The first is likely to be about the candidate’s reason for applying, their ability to add value or their key strengths.

Although sincerity and honesty are valued qualities in a candidate, it is advisable not to cite reasons such as proximity to home or better pay as your motivation for applying. More appropriate might be logic that is linked to the need for career progression and extension.

Anyone with a reasonable level of self-worth should easily find at least three key strengths to state confidently.

The bottom line is that if you cannot believe in your own ability to add value, and sell this convincingly in an interview, no one else is going to believe it either.

The more direct version of this request is “Tell us why we should employ you”.

Formulate a prepared answer linked to your match with the technical and behavioural competencies of the role, added to your impressive track record in the field.

Potentially hazardous, is a request to confess to your developmental areas. Here some thought and tactful wording is required, as it would be foolish to blurt out an unedited version of your essential weaknesses.

Acceptable areas might be an accommodating nature, learning to say “no” to additional tasks beyond your role, or a work-life balance which often neglects the latter part. Obviously you shouldn’t fabricate, but before the interview consider your wording and which weakness you choose to highlight.

For more senior positions, interviewers like to probe your knowledge of the company you are applying to. You need to visit the website and check out company values and its mission, services or products offered and financial results – all part of routine preparation for an interview.

In the last part of the interview there is a very popular tendency, especially in Cape Town, for interviewers to ask you what your salary expectation is – an extremely tricky question to field.

Often the best response is to answer this question by asking about the envisaged or current package.

While giving your carefully prepared answers, you should also be conscious of the delicate balance between confidence and professionalism – you wouldn’t want to risk being labelled as having an “attitude” because you are simply too suave and self-assured.

An interview requires preparation and polish, and candidates who take the time and effort to consider likely questions and appropriate answers will display to best