In today’s highly competitive job market, the hard work of finding and landing one’s dream job can often lead to disappointment and despondency, which can cause applicants to drop the ball when they finally get invited for an interview. But understanding the issues that could raise a red flag over their candidacy, and those that will make them stand out among their peers, can go a long way to ensuring they land the job offer they have been searching for, an expert says.
“By the time you step into an interview room, you have come so far,” says Nomawabo May, Team Leader: Student Advisor Department at Oxbridge Academy, which serves more than 20 000 students annually.
“You’ve spent months or years gaining a qualification and some experience. You’ve made an extra effort to complement your first qualification with another one to make you stand out from the crowd, and you’ve probably applied for many positions and been rejected. Now, finally, your CV is past the shortlisting phase, and you may be tempted to feel that things are in the bag.
“However, you still have to pass the interview hurdle, where you will be compared to others who will have similar qualifications and experience, so you need to put in that last bit of time and effort to make it count,” she says.
May says there are 7 definite no-no’s that are likely to get a frown at best and a rejection at worst from a future employer. So, to avoid having to go back to the drawing board, applicants must ensure that they do not:
1. ARRIVE UNPREPARED
“Companies look for ‘fit’ during the interview to see which of the similar candidates will be best for them. Doing your research beforehand, about the job requirements, about the company, and about how your qualifications and experience will match their needs, will give you the confidence to shine under pressure,” says May.
2. ARRIVE LATE OR FLUSTERED
It is important to determine exactly where the interview will take place – at head office, a branch office, or elsewhere – and where exactly in the building, says May.
Then one also needs to determine how you are going to get there in time and make provision for delays.
“Plan to get there with at least an hour to spare, which will allow you to calm your nerves and focus your thoughts before meeting your interviewers,” she says.
3. DRESS INAPPROPRIATELY
“While you might be tempted to stand out and showcase your unique personality through what you are wearing, you still need to ensure what you wear fits the culture of both the company and the job,” says May.
“Don’t let your clothing, make-up, tattoos or piercings shout louder than what you are able to bring to the company and the position.”