Image: MRP Foundation / Pierre Tostee

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

Job interviews remain a crucial step in advancing your career and securing employment. They are an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills and present yourself favourably to your potential employer. Some research suggests that it takes just seven seconds of meeting for someone to form an impression of who you are (read the article here). Although you can’t control the interview, there are many helpful tips to follow to ensure you’re as prepared as you can be. As we move into a post-pandemic world, there are also some added safety reminders to follow.

 

Before the interview

  • Take the time to research the organisation and job you are applying for. Not only will this help with answering interview questions but it will offer a better understanding of the job position.
  • Think of possible interview questions, both personal questions and ones that apply specifically to the role, and practice answering them. Don’t memorise answers but rather try to feel comfortable talking about yourself in a professional manner.
  • Put your best foot forward by dressing and grooming appropriately. First impressions count. Ensure you look neat and professional.
  • Plan your travel route to the interview or test the online meeting platform for a remote interview. Arriving a few minutes early on the day of the interview will also help relieve stress.

 

In-store interviews
A career in retail is customer-centric so it’s important to show the interviewer that you have great communication skills. Apart from what you say, your body language also speaks volumes. Due to COVID-19, additional health and safety precautions now have to be followed for in-person interviews.

  • Wear your mask while travelling to and from the interview and during the interview.
  • Speak loudly and clearly and smile with your eyes  — you can still show personality from behind a mask.
  • As a greeting, remember not to shake hands and to keep a safe distance of 1.5m with everyone.
  • Hold a good posture, use appropriate hand gestures and hold your head up high.
  • Don’t touch your face or mask or lower your mask when speaking, coughing or sneezing.
  • Frequently wash/sanitize your hands!

*Note to JumpStarters — if you have an interview but you’re feeling COVID-19 symptomatic please contact the JumpStart Regional Team to let them know. Missing your interview without informing anyone will not look good on your application.

 

Remote interviews
Remote interviews, facilitated by either telephone or online platforms, are fast becoming an additional method for job interviews. For the JumpStart programme, the team will often contact candidates telephonically before an in-store interview to assess if you’re ready for potential employment. To ensure you make the best impression, it’s important to understand the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of a remote interview.

  • During any communication with a potential employer, it’s vital to speak professionally. Phone calls are frequently used as a mini-interview before the big interview that test people and communication skills.
  • If you’re expecting a call, make sure your phone is always on and charged. If you miss a call, politely follow up. *If you have completed a JumpStart programme and your number has changed, please contact the JumpStart Regional Team to let them know.
  • In the same vein, make sure your laptop or phone is charged and ready for an online interview. It’s also important to check the load shedding schedule, test the connection and online meeting site, locate a quiet place in your house that is free from distractions and be camera ready.

 

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Bobby Unser​

Good luck with your interviews. You got this!