Last week’s article on Nuts and Bolts of Interview Room Delivery was liked by many readers. For that reason, we want to spend more time on the topic of job interviews. What we will do is to publish again, a series we published on interviews under this column four years ago. Most of the content will be from a talk that I delivered to young graduates in 2013 at an event that was organised by Daniel Dunga and Agrippa Phiri under the Training for Employment and Entrepreneurship (T4EE) project.
We will begin by publishing a testimony that the organisers received from one of the training participants, a young lady who used the winning techniques and tools we empowered them with, and within three weeks, she landed her dream opportunity-breaking through a big interview. We will then discuss the key techniques that she used to pass her interview. First, the testimony:
To the organisers of T4EE,
Mine is just a little testimony. When Dr. Mtumbuka finished his lessons, I went to give him a handshake and said he should wait for my testimony. I have attended interviews before and one thing I lacked before was lack of practice. I took interviews for granted and never practised.
Some days after T4EE training, I was called for interviews at Standard Bank. This time, I told myself that I was going to make it and I practised. I even imagined some of the questions the panel could ask me and practised answering the questions. When I say I practised, I really mean it! To my pleasant surprise, I was asked the same questions I had imagined. The interview went very well and I did not even jam when responding.
Today, I have just received a call from them telling me that my performance was really outstanding among the rest and they hope I will also do the same when it comes to work.
Thanks to T4EE, thanks to everybody who supported us, thank you guys, and thanks to Dr. Mtumbuka for the coaching.
Clearly, the young lady whose testimony we have shared above spent a lot of time to prepare for her interview and implemented the key interview winning techniques that we taught them. In fact, while she has mainly highlighted rehearsing answers to expected questions, there are four other important steps you need to go through as you prepare for a job interview, making a total of five mandatory things you need to do if you want to maximise your chance of getting the job: Study the employing organisation, understand the job, understand details of the qualities the employers want in the successful candidate, analyse the candidates and rehearse ‘Why should they employ me?’
1. Study the employing organisation: A lot of job interview candidates are so excited about the imagination of getting the job and so scared of failing that they lose sight of very basic necessary winning building blocks. The first such building block is researching on and understanding the employing organisation. These days, most companies and other organisations have their own websites and they publish a lot of information about them on the website. Spend a lot of time browsing the website to study the employing organisation. Also, speak to some of their employees and their key stakeholders to get a well-rounded picture about the employing organisation. Make sure you have a good understanding of what their key products and services are, their values, their goals and mission, their main competitors or partners, their regulator (if applicable), their current key challenges and opportunities and so on.
2. Understand the job: It is not enough to just read about the job in an advert and then go for an interview. Try to speak to people who are familiar with the job so that you gain a much better understanding of the nature and shape of the job. Try to understand the activities involved beyond the official job description. This information will help you to prepare interview answers that directly fit in with what is actually required for the job at hand.
To be continued next week…