Navigating corporate is a difficult thing to perfect. There are a lot of rules and regulations to adhere to before you even officially get the job, from the best tips to crafting your Cv to highlighting things that you should be aware of, Penny uses her experience in corporate South Africa to assist job seekers in finding their best employer. 

In part 3 of interview tips from renowned HR manager Penny, confidence is key. What you say and how you say it will indicate how well versed and prepared you are for the interview and help the interviewer understand your knowledge and skillset for the position you’ve applied for. It’s therefore important that you put your best self forward, we’ll be focusing on the things or phrases that a candidate shouldn’t say in an interview. 

“Perfectionism is my weakness” 

Telling this to the interviewer and potential employer will not surprise them at all, because they hear this same thing often from candidates. It also doesn’t give true insights into your work style or personality. You need to stand out, so be honest about what your weaknesses are for example rather say: I’m assertive and confident, and at times my assertiveness and confidence can be seen as aggression. Understand the position you’re applying for. For example, if the job is admin heavy, don’t say that you dislike doing admin.

“I think outside the box” 

Using resume buzzwords won’t get you very far. Your potential employer is well-versed in understanding how candidates use these terms. Skip the overused business phrases, be yourself and use your own words. For example: Rather say “I am a creative who likes to dissect my own ideas.” This showcases that you understand that your ideas may be brilliant and also have blind spots. 

Using filler words

Be aware of how you speak and the things you say. Using filler words such as “like” and “Uhm” can indicate that you lack confidence, or worse, the ability to communicate. It is imperative that you are able to communicate effectively during your interview, it will give an indication of how you will communicate with your colleagues if you were to get the job. 

“How soon do you promote your employees?“ 

This question makes you come across as arrogant. So reconsider how you ask this question.  A better-suited question would be “What developmental programs does the organization have?”

“No, nope or no questions”

When asked if you have no questions do not say “Nope, or No questions”. Having no questions for the interviewer or potential interview means that you’re not interested enough to learn anymore. You need to have some thoughtful questions prepared. In the article here, I have given some examples of questions to ask a potential employer. 

Awkward Pauses

Be wary of awkward pauses and not wrapping up your answer assertively. Avoid Awkward pauses like saying “so, yeah”. Conclude your answer in a way that shows that you are sure of what you have just spoken about. 

“Yes, I have a great answer for that”

This response makes you sound like you have over-prepared for the particular question in the interview and this indicates that you are not interested in a genuine conversation, which is what your potential employer will prefer. The aim is to get to know you and for you to get to know them. The flow of the conversation is important as well. 

“I’m sorry I do not have the experience” 

Do not apologize for not having the experience required for the job. Apologizing for not having the right experience tells the interviewer that you are not the right person for the job and basically that they are essentially wasting their time with you. You may not have the experience but showcase that you have taken the time and energy to invest in yourself. The aim here is to indicate that even though you may not have the experience you have taken the time to start learning because you have a genuine interest in going into this space in your career. 

Penny hosted an episode of #HotSeatWithPenzola, where she speaks to Zinzi and Dinare about the evolution of careers in relation to traditional norms. They speak about navigating varsity and entering the workspace to career disruption. You may watch the full episode here:

You may find Penny on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok or LinkedIn.

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