So you’re seeking a job and have just been asked for an interview by a prospective employer. Congratulations! However, job interviews can be nerve-wracking things that can be the difference between a successful job application, or a rejection. This is why we’ve created the ultimate job interview cheat sheet for candidates.

Follow this full guide on what to do before, during, and after an in-person job interview to help you nail it.

Your complete job interview cheat sheet

Before the Interview

  1. Research the company
    Familiarise yourself with the company’s background, mission, values, products/services, and recent news. This will help you tailor your answers and demonstrate your interest.
  2. Review the job description
    Understand the key requirements and responsibilities of the role you’re applying for. Identify how your skills and experiences align with the job requirements.
  3. Prepare answers to common interview questions
    Practice giving answers to common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” “Why are you interested in this position?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Prepare thoughtful responses that highlight your relevant skills and achievements.
  4. Put together a list of intelligent questions
    Prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company, team dynamics, or the role itself, to show that you are engaged and truly interested in the position and the organisation.

On the day of the Interview

  1. Wear an appropriate outfit
    Dress professionally for the company culture and industry norms. It’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. Choose smart and modest, neat clothing, and plain and professional shades such as black, grey, beige, or blue.
  2. Arrive on time
    Don’t be too late, but don’t be too early either. The perfect time to arrive for an interview is 10-15 minutes before your time slot. This will show you are punctual and demonstrates respectfulness. It also gives you enough time to shake off any nerves and get in the right mind space.
  3. Make a positive first impression with body language
    Greet the interviewer with a genuine smile and a firm handshake and make eye contact with them. All of this portrays confidence, trustworthiness, and friendliness, and will be sure to make an instant good impression.

    Stand tall yet relaxed with your arms by your sides. This conveys openness, as opposed to placing your hands on your hips or crossing your arms, and makes you appear approachable.

    In the interview, don’t fidget in your seat – this will make you appear bored or as though you aren’t paying attention to the interview. So, stop clicking your pen, playing with your hair, tapping your feet, and doing other fidgety things!

    While speaking during the interview, use hand gestures and smile when appropriate to emphasise that you truly believe what you are saying. When your body language is in harmony with your words in this way, you come across as more honest and authentic.

    Meanwhile, when you’re listening to the interviewer speak, be sure to nod when appropriate and avoid looking around the room; instead, look at them – but don’t stare them out. This shows you’re paying attention and are engaged and interested in the interview. This takes us to the next point…
  4. Demonstrate active listening
    Nodding and looking at someone while they’re talking is one of several ways to practice and demonstrate active listening. Other than using body language to indicate active listening, you should also:

    – Ensure you are actually paying attention to the interviewer’s questions
    – Ask for clarification when needed, which shows you are following along with their words
    – Give thoughtful responses to questions.
  5. Illustrate your accomplishments
    When telling the interviewer about your achievements, skills, and experiences from your work experience, back up what you’re saying with concrete examples and context. Where possible, when giving an example, include measurable achievements with numbers. For example, “I led basic safety training for 100 staff.”

    Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers clearly and make them. Here’s a quick breakdown to show you how the STAR method works:

    Situation: Describe the scenario or situation your answer is based on to the interviewer. This allows them to understand the context of what happened. Be specific and provide enough necessary details.

    Task: Explain the specific task or action that needed to be carried out to resolve that situation or achieve the goal, and your place in relation to the task – what were you responsible for carrying out to help in the situation?

    Action: Talk about the actions you took as an individual that contributed to resolving the situation or achieving the goal. Here, mention the skills you used in performing the actions.

    Result: Describe what happened as a result of your efforts and contribution. Highlight the positive impact your actions had, lessons learned, and quantifiable achievements. What happened as a result of your efforts? Emphasize the positive impact you had and any measurable achievements or lessons learned.
  6. Ask your interviewer questions, too
    Typically, at the end of the interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Remember those insightful questions you prepared before your interview? Now is the time to ask them.

    BE AWARE: Do NOT ask about salary or benefits at this stage of the game, unless the interviewer brings up the topic first. This is a tricky subject and you may come across as demanding or even impolite if you bring it up this early in your application process.
  7. Be real
    Be yourself and show your personality. Interviewers appreciate authenticity in a candidate, and being genuine will help you to establish rapport and give you a leg up.
  8. Keep your emotions in check
    You may be faced with difficulties during the interview that will be tough to handle and may make you feel difficult emotions, such as frustration or anger. However, it’s crucial not to act on these feelings, and instead maintain a calm and professional exterior. Whether it’s a rude interviewer, an inconsistency in your CV that they bring up, or an overly long interview, be prepared to meet these with a cool head.

After the interview

You may think that once the interview is over, your work is done. However, there are a few things you can do after the interview that will help your chances of success. Here’s what to do within 24 hours of the interview:

  1. Follow up with a thank-you email
    Sending an email to the hiring manager or interviewer after meeting with them is always a good idea. In the email, tell them it was good meeting them, express your gratitude by thanking them for the opportunity, and emphasise again your interest in the position.
  2. Reflect and assess
    Take a moment to think about the interview and evaluate what went right, and what could have been improved on. This will help you take what you’ve learned from the experience into your future interviews. If there was somewhere in the interview where you think you failed, DON’T STRESS – simply take it as a lesson to use.

At the end of the day, when it comes to job interviews, you can’t control the outcome. What you can control is your level of preparedness. Gathering tips, knowing what to roughly expect, and practicing your body language and what to say in an interview will all increase your chances of getting the job.

All the best with your interview!

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We serve the entire mine-to-metals chain and specialise in identifying scarce-skill talent as well as local, diaspora, and foreign expatriate candidates for projects.

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