Top tips on how to ace an interview

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Job interviews can be very overwhelming, and for some, a stressful and painful process.

If you prepare effectively and follow our top tips you will perform with more confidence and increase your chances of success.

Know your CV in detail

The interview discussion is likely to be based around your CV so make sure you can go into detail.

The interviewer will expect you to talk about each transaction so if you make mention that you have worked on an acquisition of a property or asset valued at several million Rands, expect to go into minute detail about it.

Research the business

Although doing your research may sound obvious, some people still don't do enough. We advise that you spend several hours thoroughly researching the business a few days before you go to an interview as you may not be able to get the information you need first time round.

We suggest that you go onto the company's website and look up the financial updates and the basic country/office count, read recent press articles, journals and the company's own social media output to add some depth to your knowledge.

No doubt you will have questions to ask that come out of your research. Write these questions down and ask them at the end of the meeting. The interviewer shall be impressed and it will be obvious that you have taken the time to prepare the interview.

For in-house jobs, the interviewer will want you to know what the business does and how it functions so make sure you do your research and are armed with the correct knowledge.

Be optimistic

Generally, employers are looking for someone who is optimistic and is looking forward to taking new challenges. During your interview you should never talk negatively about a precious company, manager or job.

If you spend your interview complaining the interviewer will wonder what you will be like if they were to employ you. Instead, focus in the positive aspects of your employment history.

Time at right

Get the timing of your interview right. Don't turn up for your interview too early or you may end up sitting in the reception are getting nervous. Get to your destination early and find a nearby coffee shop that you can relax in while you do some last minute reading through your notes. And definitely don't be late.

It's best to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the interview is due to start as it make take some time to get signed in and pass security. 

Avoid salary negotiations

Robert Walters would advise that you steer clear of salary discussions during your interview as it may work against you when it comes to negotiations further down the line. However, if it does come up note that your salary requirements are flexible.

By doing this you will give yourself some free way when negotiating salary later on. If you are offered a job, your consultant is also there to help you negotiate your final package and will have a good understanding of the clients flexibility.

Dress appropriately 

Always wear business attire and look professional. For in-house jobs, this may vary according to the industry. However, a smart suit and trouser/skirt suit or dress and jacket will be acceptable.

If you are in any doubt of what is required, speak to your consultant, he or she will know their client well and what may be expected.

Work on your key message

Think about why you should be given the job (which isn't the same as why you want the job). Write them down and summarise them into three bullet points maximum.

If you can, put your key message into at least one of your answers or at the end of the interview by thanking the interviewer for the chance to be considered for the job and delivering the points you wrote down.

For more career advice please contact:

Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
nic.sephton-poultney@robertwalters.com
+27 (0) 11 881 2414

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