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Surviving the job interview

Preparing for interviews

Learn about the job and the company

Research the company well, find out as much as you can about what they do and be prepared to answer questions about this. Also use any information you have gathered to assist you in telling them why you want to work there. Find out:

  • What would you be doing? Know as much as you can about the job you are applying for and where the job role fits into the organisation. If there are selection criteria, these will give you a good idea of the work you would be undertaking. The job advertisement will also give you a lot of information.
  • What do they do? Find out what the company does, sells or offers. The more you know and understand the better prepared you will be.
  • Who are they? Find out where the business is based, try contacting the marketing or public relations department for information on the company or try to obtain a company’s annual report if it is publicly available.

Know what to take

Take all the details of the company, including who will be interviewing you. If for any reason you are running late, you can call and advise them of your situation and also advise you will get there as quickly as possible.

Take with you your employment file which should contain:

  • a copy of your resume and application, especially if you had addressed selection criteria;
  • qualifications and certificates;
  • any special awards relevant to the job and written references, if you have them; and
  • samples of your work or hobbies that may be related to the job. For example, samples of typing, art portfolio materials or a copy of a report you have written.

Know how to get there
Double check the address of the business and make sure you know how to get to the exact building location.

Check bus timetables, parking availability and street directions so you know you will arrive on time.

If in doubt, do a trial run and go to the company beforehand and time yourself getting there.

Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. This gives you time to gather your thoughts, check your appearance and ensure you are at the right location.

Decide what to wear
Remember your first impression counts. Use your common sense when choosing an outfit according to the requirements of the position. It is better to be conservative in your choice of outfit.

Decide what you are going to wear and have it ready the night before and have everything organised.

Dress to suit the occasion, a smart suit or business outfit is ideal.

Stay calm, smile and be yourself. A firm handshake and friendly greeting is essential.

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