Winning at Interviews (What You Must Know)


Winning at InterviewsWinning at Interviews – When an employer is looking to hire someone, they want a person who can ADD VALUE to their business.

To succeed in your application and interview you need to ensure that you identify their needs and illustrate how best you can meet these.

The Basics

Interviewers use verbal and non-verbal communication to assess an individual’s fit to a specific company and job.

The impact of a first impression cannot be underestimated.

Dress, body language, your attitude and timing are crucial elements to making a positive first impression.


Appearance sends messages about your personal care and is perceived as a reflection on how you will impact in the position.

Untidy or inappropriate dress will assume no attention-to-detail.

Take your cue from the type of industry and company.

Neat, clean and professional.

Avoid extremes such as bright colours, short skirts and casual clothes.

Dressing professionally shows respect and understanding for the corporate environment and the interviewer.

However, be aware that being too smart can make the interviewer uncomfortable.

Body Language:

Avoid the obvious stumbling-blocks: A weak handshake; not enough direct eye contact; fidgeting; covering your mouth with your hand; getting unnecessarily flustered. Sit straight, but comfortably.

Keep comfortable eye contact, and remember to smile when appropriate!

Being too serious makes the interview process quite heavy.

Try to relax and enjoy it.


A confident, enthusiastic and relaxed approach is best.

Avoid any negative comments about a previous work situation.

You may feel it offers insight into why you were unhappy/left a position, but it is likely to work against you.

Rather focus on your need for greater challenge and growth to explain your move.


Know how long the journey will take you, and where you can park, etc.

Plan your journey so that you have a few minutes (preferably 10 minutes) to spare on arrival.

This reduces your chances of rushing and panic.

Take this time to relax – deep breathing will calm you and clear your mind.

Try 10 deep breaths, which breath into your stomach and not only your chest.

The Preparation

For an interview to proceed smoothly, it is recommended to do some preparation beforehand. This involves:

  • Informing yourself about the position and company – use Information Gathering Interviews to find out more; read the company’s financial report; visit their website; read industry related articles in business newspapers; speak to people in the know.
  • Write some mock questions and get a friend/partner to formally interview you. Use the job advert and your CV as a guide.
  • Sit in front of a mirror to view your body language and expressions during this mock interview.
  • Be careful, however, to not appear too slick (a result of too much practising). Ensure you appear fresh and natural.
  • Approach the interview by anticipating the interviewer’s needs and consider how your skills and achievements meet these.
  • Take the following with to an interview: your CV and cover letter, a copy of your application form, the original advert and any additional letters of reference that you may have the opportunity of sharing. Keep this in a neat folder/file.
  • Review adverts for similar jobs – this helps you identify a range of important skills. Identify skills and achievements of yours that comply with these required skills.

Difficult Issues


Avoid discussing salary in an initial interview unless broached by the interviewer.

Even then avoid committing.

If you commit to a salary that is too low, you run the risk of being perceived as less valued; too high a salary, and you run the risk of seeming too ambitious and therefore inappropriate.

Any salary discussion will go smoother if you are well informed about market-value salaries.

Good networking can uncover this!

Have your say:

An interview is not only about you being asked questions.

You need to take every opportunity to convey information which will make you a more valued candidate.

It is therefore best to avoid answering simply “yes/no” to questions.

Use the opportunity to give examples of when you used certain skills and to demonstrate how you make a positive impact on your workplace.

Talk about your achievements! When asked “Do you have any questions?”, have some lined up.

Examples – ask if your skills match the job; ask about the next step in the process; ask relevant questions about the company, etc.

This is also an opportunity for you to ascertain whether the company and position are indeed what you want.


It is recommended to send a brief Thank-You Note to the recruiter after the interview.

Besides making you stand out further in a recruiter’s mind, this letter allows you to convey points that may have been overlooked during the interview.

Because not many people do any form of follow-up, this is an advantage in itself.

Show your eagerness for the position.

Take time to make this letter accurate (spelling, content) and concise.

PAY ATTENTTION: Building a Professional Network (What You Need To Know) 2018

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