Want to nail that job interview? Here are 5 tips

by Guest Author, Ina Opperman

Getting a job interview is wonderful, but what can you do to nail it and get the job? Although going for an interview can be stressful, there are things you can do to give yourself the best shot at making a good impression.

According to Annemie Burger, HR director at Penquin, these are the five things candidates should keep in mind when they go for an interview:

Tip #1: Tell your career story with confidence

Hiring managers look for a couple of standard things, such as your qualifications, level of experience and general skills. They usually check these on your CV before an interview is scheduled and therefore you do not have to rattle off the specifics unless they specifically ask about something.

Instead, tell the story of your career so far with confidence. This will take some practice and you have to go over the key aspects before the interview. It is even better if these relate to the needs of the position you interview for.

The Penquin team gives metaphorical bonus points to candidates who acknowledge and understand the importance of company culture while telling their stories. Emphasising that you are a team player is also a good way to signal that you are able to adapt to the company culture.

Tip #2: Prepare well

Showing up and winging a job interview is one of the easiest ways to guarantee a rejection email. HR teams have seen it all and can tell when a candidate arrives unprepared and therefore it is essential to do proper research about the company and the role.

Learn as much as you can in the days leading up to the interview by working through the company website and social media channels. Also plan what you will wear by checking a team photo on Instagram to see how formal you need to be.

Make a list of questions to ask the interviewer(s), such as growth opportunities or how the company prioritises training and development. Having questions to ask at the end of the conversation instantly sets you apart from candidates who simply covered the basics.

Tip #3: Know your worth

The hiring landscape has changed thanks to the widespread adoption of remote work. The marketing industry, for instance, is currently big on creative, digital and media roles. In previous years, these roles would have been limited to local positions for locally based candidates only.

Companies are now more willing to hire employees from anywhere in the world, which means increased competition to find the best talent. A job interview is ultimately a discussion to enter into a partnership with commitment from both sides. Know your worth going into the interview, rather than grabbing at the role even if you realise it is not a good fit after the discussion.

Tip #4: Show how creative you are

A good CV is important for landing a job interview in the first place. It should cover the essentials, such as contact information, work experience and your education history. It should also be concise, with good grammar and no spelling mistakes. A short summary is highly useful to grab the attention of the HR team and may well be the reason you end up getting the call for an interview.

The Penquin HR team agrees that a bit of creative zing can also elevate the interview itself, especially in marketing roles. Showcasing your creativity in the interview, whether it is talking about completed projects, your interests or hobbies, will help with making the conversation flow. If you can create a link between your creative skills and the position you apply for, you can pocket the job.

Tip #5: Always be yourself

There is no point in putting on an act during a job interview. Even if you miraculously manage to land the job, you will not be able to keep it up. A sense of authenticity will shine through, building trust between you and your potential colleagues right from the word go. Speak honestly about why you think you are the best fit for the job as this is why you are there to begin with after all.

Being yourself in an interview extends to opening up about how you strike a balance between working hard and having fun. A good sense of humour and a positive attitude can make all the difference too.

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About the author: Ina Opperman has been writing about consumer issues since 1986 and was one of the founding members of the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs in 1996. She returned to journalism in 2001 when she became consumer editor at Beeld. She has been a freelance journalist and copy writer since 2009, writing about various business issues such as mining and digital transformation. She holds an Honours degree in consumer science.


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