What you’re doing wrong in an interview

Being good looking might not always count in your favour in job interviews.
Being good looking might not always count in your favour in job interviews.

HAVING the most impressive CV and cover letter is good enough to land you an interview. But the job will only be yours if you perform well during the interview. Most people mess things up in the interview. Even the most seasoned professionals can get flustered and spoil their chances by small mistakes they could have avoided. If you have been worried about not getting call backs after your interviews, you might be doing a couple of things wrong. One of the most important things you can do is to relax and be yourself in a job interview. Zethu Mthimkulu, who is a media buyer at IQ Academy, has a list of tips for attending an interview.


¦ Do your research on the position and company.

¦ Dress the part.

¦ Prepare samples of your work.

¦ Speak about your remarkable skills, for example, mention that you wish to be a teacher or used to babysit as a teenager.

 ¦ Make eye contact with the interviewer.

¦ Be genuine.

¦ Dont criticise any previous employer, co-worker or supervisor.

¦ Dont make any false statements that could be discovered by your employer in the future.

¦ Dont share any weaknesses which are central to your target job.

¦ Be clear and only state the qualifications you have.

¦ Never act like a know-it-all.


Interviews are definitely not a fashion show but you have to mind the way you appear or your dress code. Zethu says it is very important to dress appropriately for interviews. Interviews are not for the fashion police. Keep in mind why you are going there and think about your appearance. You should know that you will be the brand of the company so wearing clothes that are too tight or too revealing might cost you a job. “You need to look the part and make sure your outfit fits into the work environment you are being interviewed for. Remember, first impressions last,” says Zethu.


In interviews you could be up against scores of other candidates hoping for the same position. All of us want to stand out from others, so having enough information about the company is crucial. At the interview, you must maintain eye contact. Zethu says eye contact can indicate your level of confidence. It will also show the interviewer that you are paying attention. “You must remember that the interviewer is not only listening to what you are saying, but is also looking at your body language. Your eye contact can lead the interviewer to either believe what you are saying or doubt your skills,” says Zethu.


¦ Tell me about yourself – This question is the most common question that is asked. It is normally the opening question so you need to be work specific and tell them about where you are now professionally, what you have learned from your past work experiences and then talk about what makes you excited about this specific opportunity.

¦ Why should we hire you? This is another incredibly common question and it gives you a great opportunity to sell yourself and make sure you stand out from the crowd. Tell them what you can offer their company.

¦ Describe a difficult work situation and what you did to overcome it You need to have a success story ready. Tell them how you executed whichever challenge you came across at your previous workplace. This will show your value to the company. No manager wants someone who cannot solve problems.

¦ Why do you want to work for us? - The manager is trying to get at your underlying motivations for wanting this job. State whether you see yourself becoming an integral part of the company and growing with it.


If you really want to impress the interviewer, come prepared to the interview otherwise you will go home disappointed. Find a way to master the questions that are often asked at interviews. Nothing can beat doing research and being confident about yourself. “Do your research on the company, the position you are applying for and analyse the target areas for the position. Know certain answers to expected questions such as why should we hire you and your strengths and weaknesses,” says Zethu. “Have confidence in your skills and knowledge. Demonstrate what you know in the best way possible.”