Preparing For An Interview

Robyn Lamb, RCV founder, Cape Town
November 27 2017

For the past few weeks, Robyn and Vuyo of RCV International, a Cape Town -based recruitment agency have been preparing a friend, Lisa, for a big job interview by going through likely interview questions and staging a dummy interview. Now that the interview is only a week away, they turn to checking that Lisa has covered the last essentials in her pre-interview preparation.

‘Most critical is finding out everything you can beforehand about the position you are applying for and the company itself.’ begins Robyn CEO of RCV International. ‘First, you need to scrutinise the job ad carefully again. This is to establish that you haven’t missed anything in their description of the skills, qualities and experience they require so that you will be able to make clear (very subtly) in the interview that you personify their ideal candidate.

Reading and knowing every detail of what they put out on the company’s website, including their vision and mission statement and outreach programmes, is the start of your research. This will give you information on what they do and of their products. The mission and vision statement is important because it will give you an idea of the company’s values and culture. As well as showing that your skills and experience are just what the company needs, you need to establish that you understand and embrace its vision and mission too. Remember that a company’s vision is how it sees its future and is therefore a source of inspiration and guidance for all its present activity. Its mission on the other hand, is the company’s immediate objectives and what it is doing to reach those objectives.’

‘And’ says Vuyo. ‘As well as finding out all you possibly can about the company you are applying to, you must also be completely au fait with what is happening in the industry in South Africa and globally. Usually, the industry has an association that gives up- to- date information on the latest developments. Find it and read their articles. You will be expected to show you are knowledgeable about anything that currently affects the industry.’

‘Ah yes,’ sighs Lisa. ’like the Department of Basic Education’s proposal to accept only one textbook per subject –a f one-size-fits- all approach.’

From research Robyn and Vuyo turn to the lighter, but just as important matters of arriving for the interview at the right time and dress.

‘Some people think arriving really early for an interview shows the company that they are responsible and committed.’ says Vuyo.’But actually arriving anything more than 15 minutes before the scheduled time is a nuisance. Interviewers are usually very busy pressurised people who work to a precise timetable and they are likely to feel more irritated than impressed by your waiting presence.

More serious is arriving late. Even if there is a railway strike or a traffic jam backed up for kilometres, this should not make you late and it won’t if you plan beforehand. This might mean coming in very early and whiling away the time sitting in a park or library or coffee shop with a book. It should also involve finding the place of the interview at least the day before and, if you are driving yourself, finding out where you can park. All this ensures you will arrive for the interview calm and unflustered.’

‘And finally, how to dress for an interview.’ concludes Robyn.’ You may have read that 55 per cent of the first impression you make is visual, but that doesn’t mean for an interview that you dress eye-catchingly. RCV’s watchword for interview dress is conservative. Both men and women should wear one-colour conservative suits and co-ordinated shirts or blouses. Jewellery and perfume must be kept to a minimum.’

RCV International – Recruitment Agency Cape Town

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