I graduated from the University (College) in 2001 and I have faced the dreaded interview panels about 13 times in the last 14 years. My story is that I have gotten every job I interviewed for, it’s been a 100% success rate and I have turned down 3 jobs during that time frame. The essence of this post is not to gloat, but to help people by sharing my experiences and principles that I’ve used over the years as a job seeker and haven also been on interview panels in many occasions. My views are from both sides of the divide.
First and foremost, I am grateful to God for my education, career and experiences in life that has made me the person I am today. If not for God I don’t know where I will be today?
Secondly, just like the game of table tennis, I realize that I have my part to play and God has got his as well, so I am meticulous on my part, doing my due diligence while I leave a space for God to provide his Favour,accurate timing, etc. it’s a joint effort, I do my little part and God gives the increase and blesses me accordingly.
Here are a few nuggets:
1. Punctuality: This is a very important point, you do yourself a huge favor if you arrive at the interview venue ahead of time. Say like 30mins before it starts, you will have time to find the location, settle down, go through any process you need to go through to be ready. Things like security checks, initial forms to fill or some initial brief that will help you. There is nothing as bad as keeping your interview panel waiting because you are late. If I don’t know the venue of the interview , I try to drive and locate the place a day before or give myself like a 2 hour head start so as to ensure I am not late.
2. Dressing: This is very important as well. Like Jobberman’s TV ad says “Finding a job is like wooing a girl, you have to impress her”. You need to dress well and most importantly be comfortable in your dressing. There will be some form of tension during the interview, but being in a comfortable outfit helps your confidence. There was a case of a guy whose tie was too tight and he kept tugging at it during the interview. We had to tell him to loosen the tie before we got the best out of him. It sound funny, but it’s true.
3. Courtesy: Just like dressing is important, so is your mannerism. Your first impression matters a lot, even if you are older than the panelist, you will put yourself in a good light by simply being courteous. For me I turn on all of my charms during interviews, I don’t sit until I’m told to sit. My “please”,”thank you”, “may I”, “Yes please” goes through the roof. I avoid using slangs or catch phrases during interviews. I particularly remember a girl who was asked ” How much are you expecting from us?” Just before she could answer another panelist said “would you work for free?” Her response was “Hell”. Well she got her points ducked and didn’t get the job.
4. Truthfulness: Being caught in a lie can be very damaging in an interview. Always be truthful, if you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say “I don’t know”. I usually add “but I can find out”, it takes guts to acknowledge your lack of knowledge in an interview and most panelist respects that. But for you to start ranting about things and trying to play on the intelligence of the panelist is plain stupid. Also ensure that everything in your resume is the truth and nothing but the truth. There was a case of a guy who puts playing chess as part of his hubby. When asked jokingly by a panelist to explain how to castle, he started saying all sort. If you can lie on your resume to get a job, then you will lie to keep that job and also lie to move up.
5. Open-mindedness: This is related to the point above. Realize that you don’t know everything, when you don’t have the answer, acknowledge that and be open to correction and inputs from the panelist. Don’t go about arguing, usually the line manager you will be reporting to is on the panel and he/she will be evaluating your soft-skills as well. Show the willingness to learn, listen and take other ideas onboard. This is a great virtue that most employers look for since you will be working in a team and relating to other teams in the organization.
6. Know your stuff: Interview panelist get excited when they interact with someone who knows their stuff- a subject matter expert- the interview can easily turn into an informal gist where they start asking you how to solve a problem they are currently having. This was the case in a couple of my interviews, the moment we shifted to an informal discussion, I knew I had the job. You must be ready and willing to use the board or flip chart to pass across your knowledge, doing this also reduces the tension in the room and increases your confidence as you display your proficiency.
Let’s drop the anchor for now with these 6 nuggets, we will take it up with more in another post.
This is my snippet, I am SHALOMESQ!!