Unemployment in South Africa is sitting at 27,5% and the economy is struggling, which makes finding a job very difficult. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your chances of securing a job.

According to GetSmarter.com there are ways to respond to questions that will set you on the right path to acing that all-important interview.

“Your experiences prior to this interview are important for positioning your key elements that’ll set you apart from other candidates. Don’t be caught short by the simplicity of certain questions and fail to prepare your responses.”

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  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Choose three or four achievements or pivotal moments you want the interviewer to know above all else. Finish with an outlook on your current situation and why you are ready for this role.

  • Describe yourself in three words

Ditch the broad thesaurus regulars every interviewee uses when asked this question.

Instead, look to use words that you actually use, ones you are able to back up. The aim is to name three positive traits about yourself, so look to include ones related to your thinking, your ethics, and your personality.

  • What type of environment do you thrive in?

Be strategic in your response by making subtle connections between the business environment at the company you want to join and specific situations in which you excel.

Avoid being too general with your reply. Using words like “busy”, “exciting”, “challenging” or “fun” will not give any indication of your individual motivators or drivers.

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  • Describe a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?

You need to show how you handle conflict both within a team and in the workplace. Focus on how you acted in the situation, how it played out, and the resolution that was reached.

  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

Skip the canned response that plays towards some sort of strength. “I’m too hard on myself” is not a genuine reflection of your honesty.

Show off your self-awareness by admitting to a professional weakness and then delve into how you are actively trying to overcome it. By indicating you’re working towards improvement, you’ll place the focus on your problem-solving and the progress you aim to achieve.

  • What do you know about the company?

Repeating the “About Us” section won’t do you any favours. You need to show that you’re aware of and understand the mission of the organisation.

Start with keywords from their core values and align them to your own professional pursuits. This will show that you care about what the business stands for and why you believe in its goals.