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Interview tips for candidates





Find out everything you can about the company. It goes without saying that you must know what the company does. Go beyond just looking at their website and brochures. Find out what is being said in the industry. Scour through trade magazines, talk to your peers and visit their competitors’ sites. This will enable you to answer questions with authority.


The right approach is everything. Define, in detail, how you are going to perform in the interview. Imagine how you are going to sit, where you will put your hands, what tone of voice you will adopt. Work through every possible outcome and question. (Teachers of NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming – state that being able to visualize a successful interview clearly in our head is as good as having a dress rehearsal for the big day.) If the technique worked for Andre Agassi when he was in his prime, it’ll work for you.


Unless you’ve met the person before, prepare yourself for encountering any kind of interview. If he’s antagonistic, avoid getting defensive, If he’s challenging, practice answering questions calmly and confidently, If he’s friendly, reflect his mood but don’t become over-familiar. If he loves long silences, don’t fill them with senseless chattering.


Watch your body language:

There are coaches who say that you have precisely four minutes to make a good impression. Others say it’s a mere thirty seconds. Either way, all stress the importance of making an immediate positive impression. Body language is one way of doing this. You’d be amazed at the bad body language habits we pick up over the years. Being aware of the power of body language helps avoid sending bad signals and actively put out good ones, which ensure you aren’t out of the running before you’re even out of the gate.

Go Eye-to-Eye:

According to the experts, failing to look an interviewer in the eye is tantamount to declaring out loud that you are shifty and untrustworthy. It may be untrue, you may be just shy, but perceptions and everything. Always make eye contact, especially when answering questions.

Ask questions:

Asking questions shows that you are truly interested in the company. According to, not asking questions is the pet peeve of most interviewers. Here is a list of their top ten peeves:

  • Doesn’t ask questions
  • Condemnation of past employer
  • Inability to take criticism
  • Poor personal appearance
  • Indecisive, cynical and lazy
  • Overbearing, over-aggressive and “know-it-all”
  • Late for interview
  • Failure to look at interviewer
  • Unable to express self clearly
  • Overemphasis on money

However, your questions must reflect favourably on you. Asking how many days leave you get is not a good idea. Asking whether the interviewer has any reservations about you is a good idea, because it gives you a chance to reassure him.

Remain Ethical:

Watch what you say about your current employer. Don’t lambaste, ridicule or talk about the cow that made your life a living hell, what’s more, never talk about your previous company’s policies. You may think you are winning favour by giving your future employer the inside gossip, but you are merely making yourself look untrustworthy and unethical.


Less is More:

Don’t hound the interviewer by nagging to find out whether you got the job or not. According to however, it is acceptable to send them a short email thanking them for the opportunity and stating how much you enjoyed meeting him.


If you don’t get the job, drop the person an email and ask why. This isn’t the time to re-pitch your services however. Simply express a desire to find out where you went wrong.

Interview etiquette is a subject that numerous good and not so good books have been written about, but if you really want to know which area of your interview behaviour will make the biggest impression perhaps you should take heed of Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s study on what influences the communication of attitudes and feelings. According to him, 7% is what you say, 38% is how you say it and 55% is visual communication, such as appearance and body language. It seems that talent, and not beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


Stay out of Company Politics:

When employed as a temp / contract employee you will always find someone in the company who will try and embroil you in company politics. Do not get involved.

Financial Irregularities:

Should you find any form of fraud during your assignment / contract, report this to your consultant. Do not report it to someone in the company. Your consultant will take the matter further.

Code of Conduct:

Adhere to the code of conduct in place for all employees, including dress code, timekeeping. Etc.


During your assignment you are likely to meet other assignees / contractors within the company. Do not discuss the rate you are being paid with anyone.

Notice Period:

As a temp / contractor, you are obliged, by law, to give a notice period depending on the length of time you’ve spent on the assignment / contract.

Please remember – walking off assignments / contracts, reflects badly on both yourself and on National Appointments. If you experience any problems, always contact your consultant.

Time sheets:

You are requested to have time sheets signed and faxed to our offices every week, by Tuesday latest. Failure to do so would result in you not getting paid.

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