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Avoid Common Interview Mistakes (DOC)


									          Avoid Common Interview Mistakes

Your professional CV and attention-grabbing cover letter are landing
you interviews with your target companies yet somehow you are
never able to make it past the interview stage. Make sure you are not
suffering from the following career-blowing deficiencies.
Lack of Professionalism

You will not get a second chance to make a first impression so it is
imperative that the way you look and act in the interview are in
keeping with the professional context and not working against you.

     Arrive at the interview on time. Nothing shows as much
      disrespect to the employer as arriving late and having no good
      reason for it. Aim to give yourself plenty of lead time; those
      precious minutes you spend waiting for the employer when you
      arrive early can be used to assimilate the new surroundings,
      read any company literature in the waiting area and get yourself
      in the right mood and frame of mind.
     Arrive at the interview alone. This is not the time to bring along
      your children, spouse, domestic help or parents and it is
      surprising how many candidates bring along an uninvited
      significant other for moral support or other unjustifiable reasons.
     Arrive properly dressed, perfectly groomed and with a
      professional smile and firm handshake that indicates you are
      happy to be there, happy to make the interviewer's
      acquaintance and mean business. There is plenty of literature
      available on dressing for the workplace so make sure you do
      not miss the mark. Dress conservatively and sensibly in a
      business suit that is not too tight or revealing and is appropriate
      for the industry you are interviewing for. Busy accessories, busy
      or revealing attire, attire that is too casual, or unclean, sloppy

      careless attire, excessive or inappropriate make-up will all send
      out the wrong message.
     Bring extra copies of your CV in mint condition, and if relevant,
      your portfolio.
     Be courteous. Listen to the interviewer attentively, smile politely
      and do not interrupt. Tailor your answers to the precise
      questions to show you are in fact listening and understanding
      all that is being said.
     Watch your body language. Sit upright in the chair, maintain
      comfortable eye contact, smile and nod politely without staring
      the interviewer down or using aggressive, domineering,
      passive, bored, overly familiar or overly confident body
      language. Your voice, hand gestures and eye contact are all
      sending out signals to the interviewer; make sure you are
      aware of the impression you are making and that it is a
      professional and appropriate one. You need to come across as
      energetic, interested, confident, courteous, and happy to be

Lack of Preparation

If you are properly prepared, your answers and how you deliver them
should be well rehearsed and very few if any questions should come
as a surprise.

     The interviewer is looking for the candidate who is most skilled,
      competent and generally appropriate in the context of a given
      job, company and industry and all your answers should be
      tailored accordingly. You should be very familiar with the skills
      and competencies the employer is looking for from your
      research activities and be able to demonstrate them in your

     You should know your CV inside out and support all your
      answers on personal strengths with directly relevant specific
      examples from your past work experiences and/or education.
     You should be familiar with recent events in the company and
      conversant in industry trends and news if asked about them.
     Avoid long rambling answers that do not specifically address
      the skills or experience in question. Be succinct and precise in
      the delivery of your response.
     Don't forget to ask intelligent questions. Your questions should
      indicate that you have researched the company and industry
      thoroughly and are familiar with pressing issues and trends.

Lack of Interest

Your attitude can make or break the interview. Employers are looking
for energetic professionals who will be positi ve and enthusiastic
members of the team. Looking bored or tired or displaying lack of
interest during the interview will work against you. Over-confidence,
superiority, bragging or excessive name-dropping will also not go
down well with the prospective employer. Negative comments about
previous employers, bosses or peers are generally regarded
negatively and you should refrain from them at any stage of the job
search. Answer questions attentively, respectfully and in a manner
that engages the employer and demonstrates your interest in the
company and the job.

Lack of Honesty

Exaggerations and outright lies at the interview stage are more often
than not glaringly obvious. Experienced employers will be more or
less familiar with what the limits of your job would have been at your
current or previous places of employment and will probably probe
deep where they detect inconsistencies or fabrications. Make sure
the dates and facts on your CV and cover letter are accurate and that

your answers are brief, to the point and illustrate your strengths rather
than weaknesses without resorting to lies.

Lack of Follow-Up

Many a potential job is lost by poor follow-up. Companies are
interested in candidates who are interested in them and you need to
reiterate and confirm this interest in a thank-you letter and diligent
follow-up after the interview. Remember that employers are busy and
may have been side-tracked from your application so don't assume
it's over till you have received confirmation of the outcome of your
application one way or another. Your first follow-up letter following an
interview should thank the interviewer for their time, reiterate the
skills, competencies and experiences that make you uniquely suitable
for the job and give a time/date at which you will call the employer to
follow up. More often than not, the employer is waiting for you to
make that next move after the interview and your thank-you letter
should be used to sell yourself again.


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