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How to Prepare for a Job Interview

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

You’ve applied for the job and great news; your brilliant CV has piqued the company’s interest – but now reality sinks in (along with some nerves) and you realize that very soon it is time for an interview! You may know the saying “first impressions count” and nowhere is this more true than in the hiring process! According to a Harvard study, it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression on another person, so there is not a moment to waste! But how do you best enable yourself to make a great first impression? We asked our recruiters for their professional advice on how to prepare and start your interview off on a good foot. Below are some points to keep in mind. Always remember – while a CV may describe you, an interview distinguishes you.

Understand and respect your own professional journey.

One of the easiest means of this is to know your CV, how it expresses your vocational narrative and how your next step fits into this. It’s important your CV is accurate to avoid being misconstrued by a question on your achievements and previous employment. It is much better to have a strong grasp on what you have done so far in your career compared to a weak understanding of something that features in your CV. Your recruiter will go through your CV with you in preparation – ask them for insight into what may be asked. It is also important to know why you’ve applied for the role and how this job ties in with your future goals. Being asked where you see yourself in 5 – 10 years is a popular question for a reason!

Find out as much as you can about the company and specific job.

Your recruiter will provide information about the company, but it is important for you to do research on your own. It is incredible how many candidates will spend years on qualifications but fail to spend time preparing for an interview. This is like having a Ferrari in the garage but leaving your house without the keys! The horsepower means nothing if you can’t get your foot in the door. Interviewers like to see that you’ve taken the time to find out about the company, and it is important to know exactly what the company does in case you get asked such a question. Not knowing what your potential employer does, does not make a good impression! You can also research the role you’ve applied for. This will help you to think of potential questions to ask during the interview.

Prepare yourself for common questions.

Your recruiter will run through basic interview questions with you, this is a great way to prepare your answers. During an interview, you want to avoid not knowing what to say where possible, so preparing for common questions such as ‘what are your strengths?’, ‘what are your weaknesses?’, ‘why do you want to work here?’ is a great way to be prepared. Knowing what to say before the time will also help you feel calmer and more relaxed during the interview.

Take steps to make yourself and the conversation as comfortable as possible.

Your recruiter will let you know who in the company you’re interviewing with, use this as your opportunity to get to know the person you’ll be speaking to. Look them up on LinkedIn and find out more about the role they play within the company. You can also use this to try to figure out what sort of questions you may be asked. If the interviewer is in Human Resources, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked culture-based questions as opposed to a Head of Department who might ask more technical questions.

Better to be an hour early than a minute late.

If you are having an in-person interview, plan how you are going to get there – what route you will take and what mode of transport you’ll use. Ensure you set your alarm to avoid oversleeping, and aim to arrive 5 – 10 minutes early to give yourself time to settle in. Due to Covid-19, more interviews are taking place online. If this is the case for you, make sure that you have a stable internet connection, and test out your camera and microphone beforehand to avoid any technical problems during the interview.

Believe in yourself!

Remember that the interview goes both ways. You need to learn about the company as much as they need to learn about you. Based on research you’ve done on the company and the role, prepare questions to ask when given a chance. It’s important to take time to think about what you need to know about the job and the company to ensure it’s the right role for you.

Closing the interview.

If this is the role for you, be sure to express your interest and thank the interviewer for their time. Your recruiter will want to find out from you how you felt the interview went, and they will provide you with feedback from the company as soon as they can. If you are asked for a second interview, be prepared for further questions about yourself and your CV. Once the interview process is over, if you are the successful candidate, your recruiter will guide you through the job offer stage to ensure a smooth transition into your new role!

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Sean Gibson

Managing Director

“AltGen is all about effecting change, through people. With integrity, and passion”. 

Managing Director and Founder of the AltGen’ Group. Sean has played a pivotal role in steering and leading the vision and mission of AltGen, making AltGen the only highly specialist renewable energy recruitment firm operating within the renewable energy and sustainability space in Africa. Sean oversees the success of the entire group of AltGen companies.

Sean holds a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University as well as an Honours degree from Rhodes University

Robert Veith

Sales Director

“Without quality and intelligent effort, there is no success and no reward.”

Joining AltGen in 2014, Robert started as a Recruitment Consultant and has since become our Recruitment Director overseeing the Recruitment and Executive Search division. Robert has extensive experience in securing talent for rare skills in the energy engineering market, including skills to the likes of Power System Engineers, SCADA Engineers, Project Developers and Electrical Engineering skills specific to design.

Through Robert’s leadership, each recruitment team is enabled to focus on their specific area of expertise, ensuring all client hiring needs are met. Through Robert’s years of dedication to sourcing and securing top talent in the industry, he has a wealth of insight into the skills market and provides our clients with a competitive advantage in a scarce skills environment enabling them to effectively execute on some of the most challenging renewable energy projects across Africa. Robert is also responsible for growth of the engineering recruitment team.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management from UNISA as well as a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from CPUT.

Lindy Taylor

Business Development & Innovation Director

“The success of an organisation is defined by its people.”

As the Innovation & Business Development Manager, Lindy is responsible for the marketing and business development activities of AltGen. Through her big picture vision, Lindy has enabled AltGen to remain responsive in the cleantech space. She is responsible for engagements with new clients.
 
Lindy initially joined AltGen in 2015 and has grown into being an integral member of the senior management team. She ensures a collaborative approach with clients catering to their custom needs. Her focus is on attaining new clients, as well as handling contractual relationships with new and existing stakeholders.
 
Lindy holds a Bachelor’ Degree in Social Sciences from Rhodes University.

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Chris Roetz

Workforce Management Services: General Manager

“My goal is to deliver exceptional operational performance within AltGen – Northern Cape building on people, energy and sustainability”

Chris Roetz oversees AltGen’s Workforce Management division in the Northern Cape. He is responsible for the successful execution of HR advisory and management services for clients’ utility-scale projects in the region. Currently, Roetz mobilises an outsourced staff complement of over 200 employees. He also steers AltGen’s Solar Works programme in conjunction with his Pofadder based team.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in an HR and outsourced staffing capacity within the energy environment and holds a National Diploma in Human Resource Management from UNISA.

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Muslim Janoowala

Consulting Services: Senior Consultant & Business Development Lead

“My focus is to be able to do impactful work, being in the front lines of the development sector finding solutions to safe and reliable drinking water, power and sanitation”

Muslim Janoowala drives AltGen’s consulting services arm. Muslim has 10+ years of experience in the renewable energy, water and general engineering space in Eastern Africa and has played an instrumental role in the success of AltGen consulting engagement on the AFD Green Mini-grid Programme in Kenya. His expertise caters to M&E activities, project management, impact analysis and assessments of funded water and renewable energy programmes that “enlighten” and uplift communities in rural Africa.

Muslim holds an MSc in Construction Management from Cass Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

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Wiehahn de Jager

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Wiehahn de Jager has specialist recruitment expertise in the finance sector and has worked on various mandates for large international and national clients on both a retained and contingency basis. Wiehahn has gained an in-depth understanding of the professional skills operating within the capital markets, fin-tech, and green finance space, with a keen focus on talented professionals within the African context. He has a strong track record successfully working on a range of skill levels, from Directors to Analysts, with a special focus on professionals from mid-level up to Corporate Executives.

Wiehahn holds a Bachelor in Law from the University of Stellenbosch.

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Robert Slater

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“I love to serve people and be the steppingstone between them and their dream job.”

Robert Slater is an expert in the talent acquisition of carbon management, environmental and social governance-related professionals across Africa. Robert has successfully closed mandates for clients who are focused on sourcing skills with experience in climate change, clean cooking, sustainability, and agricultural environments.

Slater cares deeply for people and the planet, he has a Life Coach Training certification from New Insights and volunteers at ON A MISSION, an NPO which enables businesses and individuals to invest in carbon offset projects. He holds an Honours Degree in Environmental Management from UNISA.

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Natascha Marais

Consultant

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I look for people who want to change the world and introduce them to like-minded companies.”

Natascha Marais is highly skilled when it comes to sourcing those “unicorns” for our clients in the OEM, AI and technology, economic development, and legal spaces.

Natascha has proven experience in identifying and onboarding professionals to the likes of business developers, sales, and account managers as well as technical sales or software developer skills.

Marais holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from Pearson Institute.

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