Preparing to ace your interview (part 1)

November 04, 2021

You got the interview, good work.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

You got the interview, good work. However, it’s no time to rest on your laurels. Unless you applied to a family member’s business, a favour is being repaid, or you’re the Michael Kearney of this generation, it took a concerted effort to do the research and prepare a professional CV. (Michael Kearney fyi is the youngest ever university graduate).

Just out of interest, Michael Kearney was a child prodigy who graduated high school at 6, got an associate degree at 8, a bachelor’s degree at 10 and a master’s degree in chemistry at 14. But that aside. You took the time and applied the effort to prepare your CV. Now, in order to ace the interview, you need a significantly larger investment in time and effort. You can do it!

Prepare, research, and practice

Everyone needs a little help. That’s why the management at The Fields, Pretoria’s premier accommodation provider, prepared this post. Families help each other and, as a resident at The Fields you’re family.

So where do you start? The answer is research. You must learn everything you can about the company and the position you’re applying for.

Who are they and what is their ethos?

First off, learn as much about the company as possible. Probably the most important thing to understand about a company is their ethos. The ethos is the character of the organisation. It is the impression that is created by the firm to the outside world and the reason people do business with them and people want to work for them.

Companies are looking for people that fit their ethos. In addition it is important that their values fit yours too.  Your career and work environment is going to play a significant role in your life no matter your career path or how much you earn. A job is essentially a relationship like any other – there are two sides of give and take. No matter what you’ve come to envision about money, no matter how much you earn, on its own it is not going to make you content. Especially if the other aspects of your life are out of balance. These 6 aspects in equal measure are required to live a good, successful and happy life.

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Work/Financial 
  • Spiritual

Do yourself a favour and read this: 6 aspects of a balanced person, it could be one of the most important things you’ll ever read.

That detour through the importance of a balanced life was an important one that the majority of people realise this too late.

Back to learning about the company’s values. Start with how you perceive the company you’re applying to. Write down why you’re applying there. Maybe they are a prestigious law firm – so research what made them respected? What type/s of law do they practice? Are they a firm that does criminal law, defending renowned underworld figures? Do they take on cases that champion social causes?  Read as much as you can. Don’t limit your research to their website. Google them, and view the results from at least the first 3 page pages. Look for industry publications and blogs. Read about how they view the company’s values and does it fit with yours? If you decide there’s a good fit, write down what you will tell the interviewer about this and how you see yourself fitting in. Remember you don’t have unlimited time in an interview so pick 3 things that embodies their ethos no more. Of course the more you know about the company the more prepared you will be to demonstrate your ability to be a contributor to their culture.

People are the organisation

So you’ve learnt as much as you could from Googling (yes it’s a word) the company what’s next? Truth is there is no better way to learn about an organisation is from current or past employees.


The best place to find these people is LinkedIn. If you don’t have a professional LinkedIn profile create one. LinkedIn is about professional networking, it’s unlike any other social media platform. A well-executed profile will make an impression and improve your chances of getting employed. So before setting up a profile read this: how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile for graduates and the LinkedIn profile tips for job seekers. Spend the time and it will pay dividends.

Reach out

Once you have your profile sorted, it’s time to search for employees of the company. Use the search feature and filters at the top of the page to find the right people. So who are the right people to make contact with? We would start with the HR manager or the person who wrote and posted the job specification, if you have their name.  If it’s a small company, say a small engineering company then potentially the owner or managing director. For large companies, we wouldn’t contact the Managing Director or CEO, but we would follow them. If they post something that you can make a meaningful contribution to, you can comment, just be sure it’s a smart comment otherwise it could get you noticed for the wrong reason. Other people may include the head of department you are applying to and of course people who perform the same job function you’re applying for.

So what should you say when you contact them. We can point you in the right direction and then the ball is in your court to do the work. It’s all part of you being more prepared than your competition. Read these articles:

Before messaging anyone and once you’ve crafted your message, run it by two people and get their opinion, the best people to help are usually those in human resources, a lecturer or a person in the same industry or similar position to the one you’re applying to.

Get going, there is no time like the present.

You have a fair amount of information and even more work to get you well on your way to getting the job. But dare we say it! Should we? It’s so important we can’t not tell you.Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Okay I think you’ve got it and if you haven’t, well enjoy doing chores around the house.

We will be back soon with the next post in the series, preparing to ace your interview, thank you for reading.

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