Successful Job Interview Skills

So you believe you are the perfect job candidate for the retail or hospitality position you have applied for on our JobsAfricaGroup.com website …. Your dedicated recruiter has just given you the opportunity of an interview with a great employer to convince them you are the right job seeker for the advertised role. So how do you go about preparing yourself for the interview? It is completely natural to feel nervous before a job interview and that is why it is essential to prepare yourself for the interview as much as possible so that you are brimming with confidence and energy instead of nerves.

Here are some of our tips for preparing for your job interview:

Retail and Hospitality Job Interview Tips

  • Do your research on the company and brand
    Do your homework on the employer and the broader industry so you are ready for the question: “What do you know about this company?”  For example, if you are applying for a job in a 5* hotel, but you have been working in a safari lodge, do your research about how hotel jobs may differ from the position you have held in a lodge.  Likewise, if you have been working for a large retail store and are applying for a position in a boutique fashion retail shop, make sure you have an understanding of the fashion industry and how job roles will be different when working for a smaller employer.   Know the interviewer's name and use it during the job interview in order to create a personal connection.  Try to relate what you have learned about the company when answering questions.
  • Prepare for the recruitment interview
    After you have familiarized yourself with the company you need to prepare for the interview. Go through our “Interview Questions and Answers” – and practice with someone. Make sure you go through the job description and specs that you applied for and make notes on question you would like to ask during the interview.
  • Present yourself as a winner
    Dress the part! Look the part! Get the part! Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with.
  • Stay calm before and during the interview
    During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. Remember that your body language says as much about you as your answers to the questions. Proper preparation will allow you to radiate confidence. Take a moment to regroup. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question.
  • Show What You Know
    Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions. When discussing your career accomplishments match them to what the company is looking for. Use examples from your research when answering questions.
  • Answering Questions
    Listen carefully to the question before answering. Don’t answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Always answer questions truthfully, frankly and as concisely as possible. Never make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers, colleagues or companies.

The Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
    Don’t give your complete personal or employment history, rather make it a pitch that is concise and compelling and shows why you are the right fit for the company and position you are applying for. Share 2 or 3 specific accomplishments or experiences that positioned you for this specific role.
  • What do you know about the company?
    Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when interviewers ask this, they aren't necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—they want to know whether you care about it. Start with one line that shows you understand the company's goals, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two.
  • Why do you want this job?
    Companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you, then share why you love the company and why you would be the perfect job candidate.
  • Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
    This isn’t an invitation to boast – you are being asked to match your strengths to the qualities needed to do the job. Why are you suited to this job, as opposed to any other? Thorough employer research will save the day as it will enable you to match your skills, interests and experience to the job role and the company.
  • What are your greatest professional strengths?
    Be as accurate as possible by sharing your true strengths, not those you think the interviewer wants to hear. Be relevant; choose your strengths that are most targeted to this particular position.
  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses / areas of development?
    What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can't meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I'm perfect!”. Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve.
  • What is your greatest professional achievement?
    Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don't be shy when answering this question. Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context, but spend the bulk of your time describing what you actually did (the action) and what you achieved (the result).
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn't the first time you're considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.
  • What motivates you?
    You are particularly likely to be asked about your motivation in a strengths-based interview, which focuses on what you enjoy doing and what you do well. Your answer should draw on an example from your extracurricular activities, work experience or studies that suggests you would be strongly motivated by the job you are applying for.
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
    This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you'll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your past employers. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you're eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you than your current or last position.
  • What are you looking for in a new position?
    Ideally the same things that this position has to offer. Be specific.
  • How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
    Choose an answer that shows that you can meet a stressful situation head-on in a productive, positive manner and let nothing stop you from accomplishing your goals. A great approach is to talk through your go-to stress-reduction tactics (making the world's greatest to-do list, stopping to take 10 deep breaths), and then share an example of a stressful situation you navigated with ease.
  • How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?
    Your interviewer wants to know your tactics and strategies for getting yourself organised, so whatever approach you use to prioritising and listing your tasks, you should be ready to describe it.
  • Give an example of a time when you showed initiative.
    If an interviewer asks you to describe a situation in which you showed initiative, avoid giving an example of an idea you had but never put into action. It’s much better to talk about a time when you not only came up with a solution to a problem but also acted on it. Then you can explain the effect your decision had when you put it into practice.
  • Give an example of your lateral thinking.
    Lateral thinking is the ability to use your imagination to look at a problem in a fresh way and come up with a new solution. Companies prize employees with lateral thinking skills because without them, they can’t innovate and create new products. Think about times when you’ve been faced with real-life problems and have somehow managed to overcome them. Chances are your solution involved an original, creative approach, and that’s what employers want to find out about.
  • Do you have any questions for us?
    You probably already know that an interview isn't just a chance for a hiring manager to grill you, it's your opportunity to sniff out whether a job is the right fit for you. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The department? The team? You'll cover a lot of this in the actual interview, so have a few less-common questions ready to go. Especially questions targeted to the interviewer like “What's your favorite part about working here?" or “What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?".