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"I can count on one hand the number of people who wrote me a thank you letter after having an interview, and I gave almost all of them a job.”
- Kate Reardon

Attitude beats Experience in Interviews

Your attitude, your choices, your life

According to Statistics South Africa, the are the hard facts about unemployment and the unemployed are listed on the slide below:


Applying for a Job is a Competition

It’s difficult for unemployed people to find access to opportunities to complete a level of education that will allow them to find skilled work and to prepare for the workplace.

People complain about being turned away for lack of experience. But is experience, in the 15-24 group really that important? Or is it an excuse? After interviewing countless of unemployed people for various projects, the thing that sets one person apart from another, more than experience, is attitude.

Trust me, there are people in offices right now who have regretted employing or trusting someone because they said they had Experience. When the ‘experience’ is applied, they find they would have been better off teaching someone new from scratch.

If you fall into the 15-24 age category, stop believing that there is no hope and start creating the right attitude.

Positive, confident, willing to learn attitude

There’s opportunity for inexperienced people with great attitudes. Employers are willing to take a chance with someone who communicates an enthusiasm for the job, seems easy to like and has a smart appearance.

When you’re in an interview you must communicate confidence. It’s not a problem if you’re nervous, that will settle after a few minutes if you have prepared correctly. You are there to speak about yourself so plan carefully.

Your best You

Right, now lets work on how you communicate a kickass attitude and prepare for the interview. Research the position you are applying for. If it’s a job, find out exactly what that job requires, Google examples of the job description. Compare different examples and prepare questions for the interview. If it’s a learnership, find out what jobs the qualification prepares you for.

Drop a question in the comments section if you need advice on how to find out why the qualification would be relevant to you.

What do you ask?

You’re going to be interviewed, but you also need to prepare questions for the people interviewing you. One you’ve done your research, you should be able to ask questions such as, ‘I’ve seen that some companies include using PowerPoint in the job description. Will there be an opportunity for me to learn that or do you not use PowerPoint?’

Asking questions about relevant tasks or opportunities to learn will make the interviewer’s eyes light up as they see that you have made an effort to UNDERSTAND the opportunity you have applied for, even if you don’t have experience. You should ask the question in a way that although you admit to not knowing how to use PowerPoint, you are willing to learn it.

You have something to offer great companies

Your attitude can create opportunity even when it seems none exists.

Companies need to train for tax rebates and BEE points. If they want to grow their business, the more they train, the more competitive they will be. A trained workforce is more involved in their work, more efficient and more committed. A trained workforce also wants promotion – and that’s where the unemployed youth come in.

Companies look for the right candidates to apply for entry level positions. You need to show that you are willing to start from the bottom and learn in order to work yourself up. Communicate that you are an enthusiastic learner, an enthusiastic person is willing to learn at any time. If you are friendly and can commit to making an effort – people are usually very willing to assist you at work.

We have so many unemployed, inexperienced people that companies don’t have a choice anymore. They have to recruit from and create relevant opportunities for this pool of people. That’s why learnerships at NQFL3 and 4 are excellent opportunities for you to pursue if you are unemployed and inexperienced.

Don’t believe that experience is your limit – your attitude is everything.

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Comments (14)

  1. This guideline has helped me a bit bt now my main questions are what will be asked of me since ive applied apprentice as a bit nervous about the interview because as much as i have N5 engineering theres stil much of field work i dont know and im terrified the panel might ask questions related to that.please help how do i deal with such

    1. Are you a female? Studying engineering? Lol…they’ll love you!!! Since you’ve already studied they will want to know why you’re choosing this program. Why not go get a job? Tell them what your ambitions are and share your enthusiasm for learning what you don’t know. You go to school to learn so just tell them what you want to learn. Be happy, enthusiastic and know who you are. Go get them!!! ☺

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