If you, like many, have included “be more fearless” on your list of goals and want to apply that mentality to landing your dream job, keep reading! Yes, job hunting is nerve-wracking, but persistence and commitment will pay off to land your dream position. If your CV ticks all the boxes, keep your phone glued to your pocket because you may be a suitable candidate and before long someone will call you to schedule a job interview. To make an impression on your potential employer and secure a job offer, you’ll have to prepare to confidently answer questions or navigate curveballs thrown your way in the interview. To help you, LAW FOR ALL has put together legal advice and job interview tips to impress and legal advice to spot illegal questions that may infringe on your rights.
A second first impression: the face-to-face meeting
Up until your job interview, your CV has been doing most of the talking, so to speak. Now it is time for you to back up your impressive resume and put your best foot forward in your interview. To steer you in the right direction, here are some job interview tips to make a good impression at a job interview. As BusinessTech highlights:
Tip#1: Do your research and be prepared!
You want to make sure you find out as much about the company as possible – it’s origins, stand-out work, culture and environment. This will prepare you for the almost always-asked, “So what attracted you to our company?” With all this knowledge, you will come across as well informed and invested. It’s always a good idea to try and find out more about the person who will be conducting the interview and what position they hold. Not only will this information make you a little more comfortable, but it will also help you formulate specific questions you might have. Lastly, be sure to have relevant work examples on hand. You never know if the interviewer will ask for more details or for you to back up some of your experience.
Tip#2: Plan and be punctual.
If you are planning to, or are in the process of leaving a company, make sure you respect your current employer. You don’t want to part on bad terms. Remember, your manager is likely to be listed as a reference on your CV after all. Plan around your work schedule, ideally, try and put in a leave day to attend an interview.
Punctuality is essential when it comes to a job interview. Unfortunately, being late can give the impression that you are not taking the process seriously and have bad time management skills. Therefore, you should carefully plan your route and give yourself ample time to get to the interview. You also want to make sure you “look the part” and put some effort into your appearance. This is important if the role you are in the running for requires you to meet with clients and represent the company.
Tip #3: Practice frequently asked interview questions.
Companies often make use of standard interview questions. You can Google some of the most common ones, to help prepare suitable answers. Consider asking a friend to set up a mock interview for you so that you can practice your responses. In addition to those answers, formulate replies for general questions, such as, “What makes you a perfect fit for the role?” and “Would you consider yourself a go-getter?”. Of course, you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, but you want something to fall back on and not fumble to find words.
Which questions are off-limits or even illegal during a job interview?
While it’s necessary to prepare and practice to answer typical interview questions, it’s also essential to know how to spot illegal questions and deal with unexpected or even inappropriate questions.
In South Africa, the Constitution protects a job candidate’s right to privacy and dignity. “This means that interviews questions about an applicant’s sexual orientation, race, nationality, age, disability, religion and HIV status are inappropriate and illegal,” says Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, LAW FOR ALL’s Managing Director. Other no-go topics include gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, conscience belief, political opinion, culture, language and birth.
“If hiring decisions are based on any of these, it could constitute unfair discrimination. However, there are instances of so-called fair discrimination, for example, taking affirmative action measures or excluding or preferring a candidate based on the inherent requirements of the job,” explains Nagtegaal.
Affirmative action, of course, is implemented to be consistent with the purpose of the Employment Equity Act and to “makes sure that qualified designated groups (black people, women and people with disabilities) have equal opportunities to get a job“.
A job applicant’s right to privacy must be respected and protected. There is only an obligation on a job applicant to disclose private information during an interview regarding the inherent requirements of the job. This means that an applicant may be asked to disclose private information if it could affect their ability to do the job. “For example, while a person’s medical history is private, if a specific job can only be executed by someone who doesn’t have a specific condition, the interviewer may ask about it,” clarifies Nagtegaal.
The interview went well, but I didn’t get the job. Can I ask for reasons?
Because the job market is extremely competitive, there is always a chance of not being hired, despite the interview going smoothly. The right to employ the best possible candidate remains with the employer, but they must do so without breaking the law. Many candidates are qualified on paper, but often employers will also consider other factors, such as social responsibility and economic realities. While it is disappointing, and it could leave you wondering why you weren’t hired, you can ask for feedback from the recruiter or HR department. Keep in mind; the company isn’t legally obligated to respond. Still, if they do, they also don’t have to go into too much detail about why you were unsuccessful. The business will avoid criticism by all means to dodge accusations of unfair discrimination. But, it’s certainly worth asking, and if they give you constructive feedback, you will know what to work on for next time.
What if there is unfair discrimination?
“This is, of course, a different story,” maintains Nagtegaal. “A candidate who is unfairly discriminated against in an interview is protected by the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 4 of 2000. A victim can bring a case to the CCMA or the Labour Court who will apply an objective test to determine whether the decision amounts to unfair discrimination”.
Focusing on the future.
Remember, with the right preparation and guidance; you will enter a job interview with confidence! So, brush up on what to do, what to ask, and what to look out for when it comes to questions that might infringe upon your privacy and dignity. We know our guidance and job interview tips and legal advice on spotting illegal interview questions will come in handy.
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