Make a lasting impression during your job interview


  1. Have a short professional CV prepared (approximately 3 - 4 pages). If you are not certain as to how to go about this, get assistance from a professional service provider. No handwritten CVs or covering letters please! And stay away from fancy colourful cover pages and border designs. No certificates need to be attached unless specifically requested - these additional pages make the CV look too cumbersome. Remember, you are addressing a busy person who does not have the time to wade through all your documentation.

  2. Make a list of all the potential companies that you could apply to, if you are not only responding to an advert.

  3. Find out as much as you can about the companies you want to apply to. Ask current or ex-employees and check their websites. You need to know the company’s products or services, the nature of their clientele, their size, and the cultures of the organisations.

  4. Read the vacancy advertisement carefully to ensure that you meet their requirements as closely as possible. After this, check your CV to ascertain that all these requirements are covered in your CV; if not, then redo your CV accordingly. Remember: no fabrications in your CV!

  5. A covering letter with your CV is important, and you must state what position you are applying for.

  6. if you are in doubt regarding your qualifications or experience for the job, then call the relevant person to find out if you should apply - mention your background and ask for advice.

  7. Practise beforehand using techniques mentioned in this pamphlet for the interview with an honest adviser/friend if the job is a really critical one, and if you want to get it right. There are many applicants who may be well qualified and suitably experienced for the job, but fail because they don’t present themselves well.

  8. Make sure you have all your own information at your fingertips, i.e. the months/years at school, college/university, as well as at your various employment dates, and all other relevant information.


  1. Males: dress smart, but wear something comfortable! Do not wear a suit/tie unless you are a professional eg. attorney or accountant. A similar word of advice to females.

  2. While waiting for the interview, RELAX! Take deep breaths, do what you have to. Just avoid looking nervous. Present yourself with confidence.

  3. Be yourself! If you try to be what you are not by trying to impress, you will get caught out.

  4. Maintain a good posture while standing or seated, without appearing overbearing or proud.

  5. Greet the interviewer politely with a smile. Give him a firm (not tight) handshake, if offered.


  1. Wait to be offered a seat, and leave your documents/certificates on the desk in front of you. Only if you are asked may you present them.

  2. These days a single interviewer is not very common. Expect to be interviewed by a panel, comprising of anything from 2 to sometimes even 10 people! The general norm is that the panel will include 3-4 company representatives: the HR Manager, the head of the department where the vacancy is, an Employment Equity manager, and perhaps one other departmental manager.

  3. Wait for the interviewer(s) to take the lead with questions. Answer all questions politely and completely, without adding any unnecessary details. Do not try too hard to impress, you may do just the opposite.

  4. Speak with confidence, not pride. Do not praise yourself or say how well you did at school, college or elsewhere - let your CV do that for you.

  5. Do not respond with an “umm” or “er” etc. Be clear and concise, no guessing.

  6. IMPORTANT! Expect some job-related questions to see how well you know what you say you do. You can also expect to be asked to give examples. Be prepared!

  7. Do not fidget, cross your legs, fold your arms, bite your nails or make gestures.

  8. Most important: Do not say anything negative about your past or current employer!

  9. Do not look or sound desperate! Nothing is more off-putting. Neither should you promise to work hard! Also, you are not the one to decide if you are the right person for the job - simply motivate your application by referring to your qualifications and experience, especially the most relevant experience eg. if you worked in a similar industry, and how it may be applicable.

  10. Do not allow yourself to get flustered or put into a corner. Some interviewers deliberately ask questions that are intended to put you on the spot. Simply answer to the best of your ability, or if you don‘t know the answer, say so.

  11. You may be asked about your ambitions i.e. what position you hope to achieve next in respect of your career path. Be modest and know your limitations.


  1. You will know when the interview is over, and then it is your opportunity to ask questions. And so you must ask: a few short and concise questions. Eg. company policies regarding hours of work, travelling required on the job, annual leave, study leave and other benefits, and who the position reports to.

  2. Ask when you can expect a final answer in respect of your application and do not mention which other companies you have applied to!

Everyone has a place in this world, and you will soon find yours if you are smart and professional with respect to your job-hunting.

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