Career Pointers for the Graduating Class of 2017

Job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience for the applicant and a time-consuming exercise for the hiring company. However, they play a key role in determining whether the company and candidate will make an effective match. As such, the interviewing process provides a great deal of value for the company and candidate alike.

For the candidate, it is an opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer. Here are a few interview pointers for the graduating class as you venture out into the world of work.

Dress Code

  • How well you are dressed for an interview is very paramount and should earn you points.
  • Choose cool colors e.g. Black, Navy Blue, Brown and Grey
  • At least keep a pair of good clothes and shoes for interviews

Documents

  • Always have copies of your CV, certificates and testimonials with you as requested by the employer.
  • Have one copy ready just in case the panel requests for the same and another copy for you.
  • Buy a nice looking folder to carry all these documents and neatly arrange them in there.

Interview Venue

  • Always reach the interview venue at least 15 minutes before your specified interview time
  • Ladies can spend some time freshening up in the wash room
  • Physical location of the interview venue is key – Is the place accessible by public means, walking or must I hire a taxi? Do a pre-visit.
  • Check your shoes and ensure they are not dusty.

Lateness

  • Always be punctual but if running late, it is always important to communicate early regarding your lateness or request to reschedule due to unavoidable circumstances. This may mean you retain the contact of the person who called you for the interview.

Handbag

  • For ladies do not put your handbag on the panel table instead put it on the floor next to your feet.

During Interview

When answering questions kindly take note that the following will be monitored:-

  • How well you communicate, are you communicating in a clear, concise and organized manner, remain relevant all the times.
  • Level of confidence whether the answer is right or wrong
  • Remember to use relevant examples to bring out a point especially in scenario based questions.

Pitfalls to avoid

  • Talking over the panelist where before he is finished asking the question you are already answering
  • Not knowing when to stop talking- when you feel that you have adequately answered the question, stop talking even when you are tempted to go on since the panelist are quiet.
  • Overpromising – ensure that you promise only what you are willing to give. Interviewees will always say that they are team players just to please the panel but the moment they are employed, forget what they promised they are capable of doing.

Salary

  • This is a very difficult and tricky question that takes every one aback. You can never tell what the right answer is
  • By the time you go for an interview do your research and find out their salary range so that you quote in line with their salary range
  • Give a salary which is obviously above what you are earning creating room for adjustments.

Things to note:

Company Policies

  • You will not be able to change any company policy
  • You will be required to adapt and conform to the company rules and working style
  • If you want their attractive salary why not follow their rules

Benefits

Find out what the benefits are as compared to what you have currently or what you would like to have before you sign your offer letter.

It would be wise to remember that you cannot not force an employer to have certain benefits, they may amend them but only when they deem it fit.

Referees

  • Before you decide to add someone as your referee on your CV, request them first and keep them in the loop when you change jobs so that they have the latest information about you in case they are called to verify something by a potential employer.
  • All referees contacts should be clearly indicated and most importantly telephone contact and email addresses.

Feel free to contact the Strathmore University Career Development Services (CDS) for all your career related issues, CV, cover letter and Interview skills training for free.

Contribution by Mrs. Merab Nyanjom – Human Resource officer, Novacom Systems Limited

*CDS has a Placement Service – Your qualifications are matched to a client’s job requirement request and your CV forwarded to the client who then shortlists and calls candidates for interviewing.