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Job Interview

The midst of a pandemic is a tricky time to look for a job – but there is good news. Many companies and organisations are still hiring! Talent manager Busi Mbele gives Go Hustle the lowdown on why it’s crucial to prepare (and practice) ahead of time to secure that job. (Also, what not to do. Because a talent manager has seen it all…)

Carry yourself with confidence

If you feel unsure about yourself during the interview, it’ll show, explains Busi. “What you say in response to questions is essential, but how you say it, as well as your overall appearance and how you carry yourself, is also meaningful,” she says.

Mind your body language

“Are you slumped in the chair? Fidgeting? Avoiding eye contact? These no-no’s can make you appear unfocused, uninterested in the job, or unsure of yourself. Maintain good posture, make eye contact when you shake hands, and sit in a position that radiates engagement with the conversation,” says Busi.

Watch your choice of words

Nerves can make verbal tics even more prominent. “Try to avoid saying ‘um’ or ‘like’ too much and speaking with a rising tone at the end of each sentence. Recording yourself practising interview questions—or having a friend practise with you—can help you identify these habits,” she says.

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Choose an industry- and interview-appropriate outfit

Busi recommends wearing something you’re comfortable in, but also choose an outfit that’s suitable for the specific interview. “What’s appropriate for an interview at a fashion magazine, tech start-up and retail job differs. For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie, or a sweater and button-down. For women, a blouse and dress pants, or a statement dress, is appropriate,” she says.

Practise answers, but also ensure you develop ones that are specific and memorable

“It’s good to practise what you’ll say in response to common interview questions. Interviewers will expect you to be prepared. But just because the questions are common, doesn’t mean your answers should be,” says Busi. Remember: you want to sell yourself during the interview, and no one is eager to buy a humdrum product. Aim to be memorable, so your responses stick in the interviewer’s memory, even days after a conversation.

Put your strengths on display

An interview is not the time for modesty! Rather, it’s a moment when it’s appropriate to say, “I did XYZ” or “My work helped do ABC.” Avoid saying ‘we’ and be sure to mention your accomplishments.

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Four big no-no’s a talent manager sees that could lead to you not getting the job

1/ Your lack of passion shows.

“If you find yourself applying for positions that don’t excite you, don’t be surprised if potential employers sense this lack of passion. Employers know that skills can always be taught, but that passion is either there, or it’s not,” says Busi.

 2/ You don’t sell yourself.

“If there’s ever a time to sell yourself, it’s when you’re job hunting. If you don’t clearly convey your skills, knowledge and education, it’s no one’s fault but your own if you don’t get the job,” she says.

 3/ Your CV doesn’t showcase your value to the company.

Your CV is what’s going to get your foot in the door, says Busi. “If it isn’t accurately showcasing your suitability for the job, you’ll never get the chance to impress in an interview,” she adds.

Should “experience” requirement stop you?

Ultimately, experts agree that even if you don’t have the requisite number of years of experience, it’s still worth applying for the position—within reason, of course. “If the company is looking for 10 years of experience and you have one, don’t waste your time, but if you have one to two years of experience and they are looking for three to five, that doesn’t rule you out, and you could be just as qualified,” she says.

Four things HR managers look for in a candidate

1/ Patience/endurance

2/ Multitasking skills

3/ An ambitious nature

4/ A team player 

Rejection isn’t bad… sometimes

Rejection is part of growth, says Busi, who lives by this quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

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