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Take time on your CV

By Memory Nguwi

Continued from last week

Step 4 — Read your CV and understand it

Sometimes I see very confident men and women being embarrassed when asked about things on their CVs that they are not aware of. Your CV is you. You must know it inside out. Read your CV and understand what each sentence and statement there mean.  Interviewers may pick things from your CV and ask you to give more details.

Step 5 — Dress appropriately for the job interview

Dress formally for the job interview unless you have been given a specific dress code. Poor dress sense tends to put interviewers off. It would help if you remembered that interviewers are human beings with lots of biases. You may fall victim to this if you ignore how you dress when you go for a job interview.

Whatever outfit you decide to put on must be very clean and presentable.  Get someone in your circles to review how you look hours before leaving home for the job interview. Your dressing is essential in presenting an image of a ready and organised person. A lousy dress sense will spoil your opportunity to present what you know.  When you dress properly for a job interview, you gain confidence.

Step 6 — Go early to the interview venue

There is nothing as distracting as arriving for a job interview late for whatever reason. Never allow such a scenario to happen in your career. This is something that you can avoid with good preparation.  Get to the interview venue on time, preferably 30 to 40 minutes before your turn.

If you do not want to be waiting at the reception for too long, be within walking distance of the interview venue. If you are within this range, you can then move to the interview venue so that you arrive at least 20 minutes before your time for the interview. This will give you enough time to relax before your turn. It is not ideal for you to walk into the interview room sweating or breathing at the top. Such scenarios will likely unsettle you and distract you from responding to the interview questions. Arrive at the interview venue early enough to allow you to settle.

 Step 7 — Switch off your phone

Please switch off your phone when you are ready to go into the job interview. It would help if you switched off your phone the moment you got to the interview venue. I have observed people get marked down for being disorganised because their cell phone rings during a job interview.

Step 8 — Venue etiquette

When you arrive at the interview venue until you leave the interview venue, there are practices that you need to be aware of and observe. Maintain professional conduct while you are waiting for your turn. When you get to the interview venue, you are often asked to wait in a reception area or a separate room. While you are waiting for your turn, make sure you converse in a lower voice should you need to talk to anyone at the interview venue.

These could be fellow job interview candidates or employees at the company you are interviewing for. Should you need to talk on the phone while waiting for your turn, please make sure you move out of the reception area so that your conversation is private and does not distract other people from doing their jobs.

Please remember step 5 above; switch off your cell phone the moment you get to the job interview venue.

Step 8 — In the job interview

When your turn comes, you will be ushered into the interview room. Here you will meet a job interview panel. Walk with energy as you go into the room. I have heard interviewers giving comments such as: “This person cannot handle this job when they walked in, they showed no energy. This job requires someone with lots of energy’’.

This comment may not have anything to do with how the candidate will do the job, but it matters when the panel gets concerned to this extent. The panel is likely to give you low ratings if their consensus assessment is that you do not have the energy for the job.  Also, pay attention to how you handle your handshake with panel members. Be firm and professional. A firm handshake could signal confidence. The walk into the interview venue and the handshake should all exude energy.

Maintain professional eye contact as you respond and interact with the panel. I have often seen job candidates looking down or sideways because they cannot face the panel. This could lead to you being marked down. Your voice should be assertive and well projected. If you find the panel saying “speak up,” your voice projection will be too low.

 Step 9 — The actual job interview

You are now in the job interview responding to questions. There are a few tips you need to master. The best way to answer interview questions is to be factual and support every answer with an example of how you have handled similar assignments or challenges before. That way I can almost guarantee that you will get the job. When you use evidence-based responses to interview questions, you will be rated very high by the panel. Avoid long winding answers that reflect that you do not know what you are talking about. In cases where you genuinely do not know, let the panel know instead of wasting their time.

However, do not get into the habit of just saying “I do not know” because they could be rated negatively. Try to answer all questions to the best of your ability.

If you follow the above guidelines, I am very confident that you will get the job. I have coached people on preparing for job interviews and my success rate is over 90%.

Therefore, these steps in preparing for a job interview should work for you. If you do get the job after reading this article, please come back and leave a comment. Good luck.

  • Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone +263 24 248 1 946-48/ 2290 0276, cell number +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: mnguwi@ipcconsultants.com or visit ipcconsultants.com.

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