What Potential Employees Notice in an Interview

Going for an interview is scary and exciting, and not to mention absolutely nerve-wracking. You often don’t know what to do with your hands while speaking or have a nervous tic that you are unaware of. However, if you are going for interviews for jobs in the Western Cape, there are some things to take into account before you head into your interview. Outlined below are a few things that potential employees notice in an interview.


The number one rule to remember for going to an interview? Don’t. Be. Late. Your potential employer will take notice of this, and in fact, it is the first thing that your interviewer will notice. You should arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes early, although on the flip side, do not arrive too early or waiting can become awkward.

Arriving on time or slightly earlier than the specified time will show your interviewers that you are eager for the position and that you value their time. It will also allow you to calm down and not feel so anxious, which is a great asset to boosting the success of your interview. Being punctual should be carried into your daily working life, and you should strive to arrive on time to work every day.

Your appearance

It might be sad to think that your appearance matters so much, but to an interviewer, it is the second thing they will notice about you. Dressing appropriately for an interview is about so much more than wearing a sharp suit or a smart pants-suit, it is about making sure your hair, face and shoes are clean and presentable too.

If your chin feels like it could do with a shave before your interview, be sure to do so ahead of time, so that  you can fix any nicks and relax your skin beforehand. Chipped nail polish? Repaint your nails or go for a manicure the day before your interview is scheduled. Avoid wearing heavy makeup and jewellery, and men should avoid wearing any earrings or showing any tattoos. Be sure that you are well groomed, and try not to drown yourself in aftershave or perfume.

Um’s the word…to avoid

Saying ‘um’, ‘err’ or ‘ah’ a lot during your interview shows that you have not prepared ahead of time, and your potential employer will notice this. While it is often a nervous reaction, saying ‘um’ when answering a question can make your interviewer lose interest in your answers and your CV.

You can avoid using these words by practising interview questions and answers a few days before your interview, and by changing them with phrases such as ‘Let me think’ or ‘That is a great question’. If you feel yourself becoming nervous, take a breath and take a few seconds to think of an answer. Your interviewer will not mind if you take a minute to think about your answer, and it will show that you want to give your best to your potential employees from the get-go.

Your body language

Body language ties into being nervous for an interview. It will communicate to the interviewer that you are confident or anxious, and it is important to take note of what body language you use when talking to people. If this is perceived negatively, try to change this.

Aim to be comfortable but not too casual. Keep your posture as upright as possible and avoid slouching. Avoid direct eye contact, instead opting for direct ‘face’ contact (looking at different parts of someone’s face every two seconds, rotating from eyes to nose and lips) as it is less intimidating and try not to fidget if you feel nervous. Try not to touch your hair or face too often during the interview.

Did you do your homework?

One of the major things that your interviewer will notice is if you have done your homework on their company. You should not only visit their website and read their about page, but also go onto their social media and read what they have been posting there.

Don’t stop at scrolling through their Facebook and Twitter feeds, look at their Instagram page (if they have one) and their LinkedIn page. Doing a thorough amount of investigating into the company will allow you to be more prepared for your interview and will also show your potential employer that you took the time to research where you could be working.

Stay calm, cool and collected

Dressing well and having a neat appearance, as well as arriving on time, will impress your interviewer and could make your interview more successful. Be sure to avoid using the words ‘um’ and ‘ah’ too much and rather take a moment to think about your next answer. Try to control your body language and remember to do as much research into the company as possible, in order to answer that inevitable question: ‘So, why do you want to work for us?’ If you prepare ahead of time, the potential employer could soon become your new boss.

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