Tips to a winning introduction during your next interview

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve realized that a lot of people find it difficult to introduce themselves during an interview. That ‘Tell me about yourself’ question is the ice breaker and most candidates are scared to break it because they are not too sure of themselves.

Before I go into tips to a winning introduction, I would like to address a foundational problem that hinders us from selling ourselves properly and the “Lack of CONFIDENCE”.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it.

On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

Are you a fresh graduate or a prospective intern and not sure what to say when asked to Introduce yourself? Here are some things that would guide you:

Think through what you want to say before opening your mouth to talk

Mental preparation and a mirror exercise would do.  You don’t need to cram a speech or start reciting it verbatim, rather it should provide a guideline on what how each point should be said.

Avoid distracting words

Words like ‘urm’ ‘erm’ ‘izz like’ ‘you know’ etc could be distracting for your interviewer and may imply you’re not prepared for the interview. If those interjections are too much, it can be a huge turn-off.

Keep it concise and simple

I remember one of the interviews I sat in a few months ago, this guy legit talked about himself for a whole 30minutes.

Do you know that’s where the interview started and ended? At a point, he was just blabbing and we didn’t understand what he was saying but didn’t want to be rude and interject him.

Besides, we already knew he was a NO and allowed him to land before saying we had no questions and dismissed him.

Self-awareness is important

If you are self-aware, it is easier for you to understand other people and detect how they perceive you in return.

How well do you know yourself and the kind of direct or indirect message you are passing? Here are some things you need to build on to prepare for the next interview:

1. Your Bio

Start with your name, your school and course of study, the aspect in your course that interests you and why (this is not compulsory if it’s not related to your course of study).

2. Your Strengths

This could include something like being very organized, being able to manage your time and setting priorities, being able to communicate in a clear manner, being able to manage people regardless of their temperament, being able to work in a team.

Take note that while talking about this strengths, you should include one or two examples of how you have demonstrated them while in school as a leader in your school project, school activism, Student union or department association and finally through religious bodies you have belonged to.

3. Your Value Proposition

Talk about the value you would be adding to the team or organization. I would advise that you do extensive research about them and ensure what you are saying is relevant and relatable. If you have done your homework properly, they will fall in love with you!!!!

Finally, this is a piece of golden advice that is like the icing on the cake for people who want to give a winning introduction.

4. Humility won’t help you

I have met superb people who have great skills which companies are looking for but because they haven’t worked in a formal organization, they think those skills acquired through volunteering, internship, and personal development aren’t relevant.

Sister, if you don’t sell yourself, who will ??

Be proud of your little achievements and don’t be too humble about them. In the end, the best salesman gets the contract!

I hope you digest this information and deliberately work on your confidence. It may not happen overnight but with time, you can grow and become better.

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Effective ways to ensure a successful job interview

You have managed to leap off the pages of your curriculum vitae and cover letter and have been invited to a job interview for a prospective job role.

Of course, you are stressing out, yes you are one step closer to grabbing that dream but the pressure is mounting and you have to prove yourself one more time (and now there is no paper to hide behind!).

How do you ensure that you are successful in your next job interview?

Prepare and prepare and prepare

Preparation is your friend and is going to ensure your success. One of the first steps should be to find out from your future employer if there is anything you can prepare ahead of the interview.

If they are obliging, you could go further to find out the format of the interview and who will be on the interview panel. This is something you can (and should) also find out from current employees.

Read over your curriculum vitae and cover letter, be familiar enough with them so that you can address any questions on them. Know why you included specific details – what were you trying to get across about yourself?

If this is the first time you are applying for a job, make sure you are able to highlight how your background has equipped you for this position. The same goes for a position you are applying for within the same sector as you are currently employed.

If you are looking at branching out from what you have previously done then it is necessary to be able to illustrate how your skills are transferable.

For example, if you all your experience is limited to corporate and now you intend on moving to a government department, detail skills you acquired during your corporate experience and how these could be applied in your new setting.

Preparing for this pre-empts the inevitable question about why you are making a change and goes one step further in showing that you have thought about how your past experience, although different, translates.


You could go about practicing by either going through a mock interview or even more informally just chatting through some questions. This is a must in ensuring that the actual interview is not daunting.

Work through some basic questions such as personal background to start off with. Then move on to specific experience and education. Make sure you can also address questions about the new position and company.

Would you be able to answer why you are leaving your current position? Or some of the more sticky questions such as what makes you different; what is the biggest challenge you have faced and what is one quality you would change about yourself.

Make sure that you do not over-practice, you do not want to come across as rehearsed during the actual interview. So walk that fine line between practicing and coming across as rehearsed!


During the latter part of an interview, it is inevitable that you will be asked whether you have any questions for your prospective employers. It is imperative to ask questions and in order to be able to do so, you need to factor this into your preparation.

Questions can relate to the working environment; the type of clients and if you are aware of who the interview panel will be ahead of time – questions can then be addressed to specific people.

For example, if you know the head of the department will be part of the interview, try to research some of the work she or he has recently been a part of so you can ask a more detailed question.

Remember, inasmuch as an interview is about you being judged, it is also your opportunity to assess whether this position is the best fit for you. So if work/life balance is integral to your happiness then be sure to ask about this in the interview.

Current Employees

Try to connect with current employees. They can assist in shedding light on what the work environment is like and what the position you are applying for entails. A good starting point for connecting is LinkedIn.

More often than not you will have connections in common, which makes connecting a lot easier.

They can also help you figure out if the position advertised is really what is described or in substance is something else. Current employees can be a great resource for understanding our potential work environment and role.

Outcome of the Interview

Before you leave the interview, be sure to find out how the communication following the interview will go and who you can contact if you would like feedback.

Whether you secure the position or not, feedback is key. You have an idea of how you would like to come across but did that materialize and is there anything you could have done better?

Of course, these are more critical to know if you did not secure the position. So often when we fail we want to forget about the experience entirely. But knowing what did not work will put you one step ahead in terms of preparing for the next interview.

Do not read notes up until the last moment before you enter the interview. Take some time before to try to relax! It is really difficult to do, especially when you know you need to ace the interview, but having that sense of calm will translate when you go into the interview.

Small things like speaking slowly are also important and are sure to ask for a minute to think something over if you are unsure – there is no need to answer immediately!

And lastly but most importantly, be yourself and do your best.

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Emeline Nsingi Nkosi: Never sell yourself out – stand up for what you believe in

Emeline  Nsingi Nkosi is a confident and experienced bi-lingual actor and presenter based Accra, Ghana presenting for GHOne TV. She is currently presenting and producing a lifestyle and entertainment show called ‘The Core’.

She has interviewed the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Ozwald Boateng, Abedi Pele, Azumah Nelson, Sarkodie, M.Anifest and many others.

 Emeline has a background in Fashion Textiles. She was named Hilary Alexander’s “Secret Seven to Watch” and nominated for the Ethical Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2012. 

During her final year in the university, she created a visual dissertation on natural hair which awakened her love for presenting and producing.

 Emeline founded M about Town, a London based Lifestyle show in 2015.  Highlights include interviewing Rosario Dawson, Ian Taylor and documenting the Ethical Fashion Forum Summit and Fashion Africa Conference 2015.

Emeline has been writing and interviewing celebrities for since early2016, concentrating mostly on inspiring individuals, she has interviewed Angela Bassett, Ade Hassan, and Zuriel Oduwole.

She has joined Alexander Amosu’s prestigious LuxAfrique and covers Art exhibitions, Luxury Travel, Restaurants and Fashion in London and internationally.

Emeline Nsingi Nkosi makes us proud to spell our name W-O-M-A-N!

Pace is better than haste - @emelinenn Click To Tweet

What things have you learned about life from being a media personality?

Everything is about great PR and image, it’s no coincidence when you see more of an artist or actor in the media, it’s all carefully curated, and nothing is random.

Your mood can really impact your work, if I have an argument with someone I care about, I can’t leave it to linger, otherwise, my day just feels dark and negative and you need to able to put on a happy face for TV.

Life can sometimes feel lonely especially when knowing who to trust, surround yourself with people who really have your best interest at heart.


Tell us about an interview you conducted that taught you the most?

My interview with the boxing legend Azumah Nelson. He shared that his ill wife had found out that she wouldn’t survive just before he was about to have one of the biggest fights of his life.

Although he didn’t want to fight, he felt he couldn’t cancel it as it was sold out.

It taught me that sometimes you have to put your work before your own needs but also that at the end of the day, what really matters the most is those you care about, without them life feels meaningless.

What’s the one question you wish you’d asked someone you’ve interviewed but never did?

When I meet key personalities I have an idea of what I would like to ask but if it’s not possible, I tend not to dwell on it.

The only person I wish I could have probably gone for a coffee, drink or dinner or maybe all three was Angela Bassett.

I interviewed her for ThandieKay at a beauty brand launch that she had collaborated with. When I went to sit next to her, I felt such warmth and love. We spoke skincare and American Horror Story.


What should every woman try at least once in her life?

Travelling alone. It gives you such self-confidence and belief in your strengths. Before visiting my cousin in the US, I spent the first 7 days alone in New York and at a Yoga ashram in Monroe.

It was both thrilling and petrifying. I’ve never relied on my senses and my gut as much as when traveling alone to various places.

Advice for aspiring media entrepreneurs?

  • Start: What can you do today that will impact your career positively?
  •  Look at how your favorite media entrepreneurs started and how can you replicate that for you?
  • Get onto casting websites such as Starnow and look for opportunities if you want to get into presenting.
  • Head to relevant networking events
  • Get onto Linkedin, build your network.
  • Hone your skills, can you do a part-time course? Check out Coursera or Masterclass

What app do you most often use?

Sleep Cycle. I’ve used it for around 983 nights as of today, I’m obsessed with my sleep and getting enough of it.

What can you not miss on TV?

I don’t watch TV at home but when I’m traveling I’ll put on the TV to see which channels are in that country and which programmes they watch.

At home, I’m more of a Netflix chick, I’m currently waiting for the new season of The 100.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

One of my uni teachers told me to slow down and remember that I have a long career ahead of me. For one project, I must have put about 5 different design ideas into one and she reminded me that if I am to have a long career ahead, then why use up all of my ideas in one go.

I want to achieve everything yesterday but actually, there is no need, pace is better than haste.

What’s the key to developing a successful personal brand?

1. Being authentic to yourself and your audience, I’m really not good at lying and then remembering that lie, so I can’t pretend to be something I’m not or will be found out. At the end of the day, there is only one you and those that like you will stick with you.

2. Knowing what you stand up for, so when opportunities arise you know if they fit.

For example, although I love red wine, I’m not a big drinker, so an alcohol brand sponsoring one of my shows wouldn’t really fit, it’s not me and I can’t stand there pretending to like something that I don’t.

3. Never sell yourself out – stand up for what you believe in, don’t be swayed easily but be flexible. Rooted in a tree but flexible like the branches.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Simple things in life, the sun, warmth, my partner, mum, brother, those close to me being happy and fulfilled.

When I see a project realized and it has impacted people positively, yoga, good smells, music, amazing food, and red wine.

What does sisterhood mean to you?

Sisterhood to me means genuine support for women, knowing that everyone has their own journey and there is enough space for everyone.

I see it over and over where women are catty towards each other but it’s so pointless and a waste of energy.

What song instantly gets you up and going?

Fabregas – Mascara – When I working as a Graphic Designer, I had many lunchtimes where I would go for a walk listening to this song to uplift my mood.

Anything by Koffi Olomide – Effrakata, Micko, Loi … it reminds me of my childhood and feeling carefree. It puts everything into perspective.

What’s next for you?

More seasons of “The Core”, starring in a film out later in the year, producing season 3 of Revealed with Bola Ray, more travel.
I have a good feeling for this year.

2018 is the year of ……?

Money, work, and sleep

I feel like this is the year to grow the finances and as women, being able to talk openly about it, being able to ask for what we are worth and then growing those finances by investing.

Work because I love what I do and want to create more entertaining but impactful content and sleep because I promised myself that I would take better care of myself this year.

Health = Wealth.

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Six Soft Skills to Help You Ace Your Next Interview

Imagine two people being interviewed for the position of customer support team manager.

Both candidates have what it takes to deliver on a professional level, however one is more apt in relating with people based on his past behavior and the assessment of the interviewer. That is to say, he possesses excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Who do you think will get the job?

Assess your ability and prepare ahead before going for the interview Click To Tweet

A LinkedIn survey revealed that hiring managers look for candidates who in addition to skills and experience have the potential in performing the role. By potential, they mean the candidate’s own perspective and soft skill set that enables him to do the job effectively.

They ranked the following six soft skills in order of their importance.


In today’s world, the business environment is continuously changing and so are highly effective organizations because any organization who does not or cannot adapt to the constant changes in the environment will either be left behind or fizzle out.

As such, effective organizations seek candidates who can easily adapt to changes so they can remain competitive. According to the survey report, the most popular question hiring managers ask in this regard is:

‘Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you react? What did you learn?’

Culture Add

Hiring managers have been advised to seek candidates who are not only like them (culture fit) but also bring a different perspective to the table.


Candidates who can work well with and in teams are what hiring managers are looking for according to the survey. No one can achieve much working alone. Do you get along well with others?The survey says one question to expect from this area is:

’Tell me about a time when you were communicating with someone and they did not understand you. What did you do?’


Not only are leaders born, leaders can be made. Hone your ability to inspire, motivate and unleash the potential in others.

One popular question according to the survey report hiring managers ask pertaining to leadership is:

‘Tell me about the last time something significant didn’t go according to plan at work. What was your role? What was the outcome?’

Growth Potential

It is the ability of a candidate not only to perform on the current job but also in future and more prominent roles within the organization.

Hiring managers have been told to look out for candidates who are goal oriented and self-motivated. Such candidates are said to have the ability for growth potential.


Candidates who can demonstrate that they know what task comes first and what task should be put to a later date have gotten their prioritization and time management skills right. This will help you meet deadlines and also increase your productivity.

Besides the aforementioned soft skills, some hiring managers clearly spell out the soft skills they expect candidates to have for the role they are applying for.

Assess your ability in terms of those skills and prepare ahead before going for the interview.

Do you have some special skills you use for your business and career?

Share it with us here.

Interview Prep Sheet

Your resume was on point. Your cover letter showed them how passionate you are for the job. You passed the screening call. Now all you have to do is ace the interview to get that dream job right?

The interview is where so many people stumble and lose out on the job of their dreams. Those of us who are good public speakers think we can just run up in there and say whatever comes to our minds. Those of us who are a bit more reserved have a hard time coming up with the right answers to questions even though we know what to say.

So how can you avoid missing out on a great opportunity due to silly interview mistakes? PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!

Yep, we’re talking about practice. Not the actual interview, but practice. The best way to succeed in an interview is to do the work beforehand so you know your story top to bottom and can effectively communicate that to the hiring manager. We don’t want to see you answering questions like this:

Job Interview Meme

Girl bye. Like good bye and don’t come back again until you get your life.

Since you’re a smart woman and those smarts brought you to this page we know you’re ready to get started on some serious interview prep. The SLA Interview Prep Sheet will give you a checklist of top questions to think about in advance of your next interview and the space to work on what your top answers should be.

So how do you download this prep sheet? Easy –  just fill out the form below to join our community and get access to this guide and AWESOME weekly content.  


How to answer these 2 key interview questions

black woman on interview
Get a better understanding of who you are before you set out for that interview Click To Tweet

Before you attend any interview, you need to prepare adequately. Research the company and review the details of the position you applied for. Evaluate your expertise and strengths, and ways in which you can use your skill set to be an asset to the hiring organization. Anticipate how you will confidently answer questions asked. This preparation will help you get a better understanding of who you are, and enable you to clearly outline your competencies, qualifications and goals.

First impressions are very important in the hiring process. In order to stand out from the competition, you need to make a lasting impression. This is not only determined by how you carry yourself, but also the way in which you respond to questions.

Here is how to answer two key interview questions:

 1. “Tell us about yourself”

This is a common question. So, where do you even begin? Do you treat the question as if you are on a date and start talking about your interests, dislikes and whatnot? Stop. HR doesn’t want to know about where you grew up, the kind of hardships you went through to get to the position you are in today, or the number of siblings you have.

When asked this question, you have to first focus on your academic background and professional experience. Give a brief overview of the two. For example:

My name is Anastacia Kihoti, a communications graduate from Africa Nazarene University. I am currently a customer service manager with four years of experience working for SMEs and large organizations in the service industry in East Africa. Additionally, I have more than two years of experience in inbound and outbound campaign management in call centres…

How to flawlessly answer the common interview question; Tell us about yourself Click To Tweet

The next step is to talk about your career progression as well as what you have learnt or achieved through the years. Capture the HR’s attention by mentioning the accomplishments that you are most proud of. For example:

As the customer service manager,  I managed a team of  fifty customer service representatives in introducing call centre systems by developing customer interaction and voice response systems, and executing user acceptance test plans. I came up with a strategy to get the job done within two weeks and successfully completed it at a lesser cost than that of outside consultants…

Finally, you should give a summary of what you want your next career step to be. Make sure this logically ties in to the responsibilities of the position you are interviewing for. For example:

I am looking to move away from customer service to coaching and developing team leaders and agents, managing the daily running of a call centre and driving performance of the team leaders to meet the business KPIs…

2. What are you looking for in a new position?

In a recent email exchange with a job candidate, who was asked this question during an interview, he said, “I didn’t know what to say but the first thing that came to mind was ‘More money’. I regretted it as soon as I had said it because of the look I got from the HR. Although he didn’t say my reason was wrong, I got the feeling that I had blown my chances. How should I handle such a question in the future?”

Well, we are all looking for greener pastures but mentioning money as the first thing may put off a recruiter. It makes it seem as if that is all you care about. Although money is important, don’t let it be your first response.

Mentioning money as the first reason you're looking for a new job may put off a recruiter Click To Tweet

Start by mentioning that you are looking for a job which has the potential for advancement. Talk about the desire to work in an environment where you will be challenged and in which you can grow your skills while being mentored. Highlight the experience you expect to get from the position. One of the most important things you can do is gain as much experience as possible from every job you get.

If you strive to work in a place that you’re excited to go to every morning or where you’ll be mentally stimulated, be honest about it. Tell the recruiter that those are the crucial aspects you want in a new position.

What are some other ways you have navigated these key questions? What other questions often give you pause at interviews? Let us know.

Use these 3 Ps to land your dream job in Africa

Florence Hutchful

It is not enough to show up for an interview having submitted a stellar resume. There are a few tips for blowing your interview out of the ballpark. At SheHive Accra 2016, Mrs. Florence Hutchful, Head of HR for West Africa at Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, summarized these tips into what she termed, the 3 Ps to acing your interview.


It is important that you are able emulate the persona described and detailed in your resume. This means that you must come off knowledgeable and prepared for your interview. To be able to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the job, it is essential that you research the company.

Read about the company online, spend time on their website and get to know the company. If you cannot find any valuable information online, go the extra mile and walk into the institution and ask questions. Furthermore, be ready to answer questions regarding your salary expectation. It is important to have a fair idea about salary brackets in any given institution.

ALWAYS quote an expected salary; it shows that you know your worth and you are fully aware of the value of your time, skill and experience. Never compromise on preparation, it is what will make or break your presentation in an interview.  


Presentation in any interview begins with your physical appearance. Even before you speak, panelists will assess you based solely on what you are wearing and your demeanor – your posture and composure. It is imperative that you dress and appear smart and confident.

Make sure your skirt is a good length, check the cut off your blouse and say no to overly elaborate jewelry, you must look professional. Confidence is always seen in the way you carry yourself, look up, straighten your shoulders and strut your stuff like the motherland mogul you are. Your ability to exhibit confidence in yourself through your outward appearance scores you several points even before you begin to speak.

Adequate preparation will be key to ensuring that your spoken presentation is top notch. Remember to clearly articulate your views, present your ideas in concise and direct responses. Do not beat about the bush, exhibit clarity of thought and speak with authority. In the event you do not know the answer to a question, assess the panelists, are they attempting to evaluate your ability to think on your feet or is this a direct question?

If it is the former, exhibit creativity and find a suitable answer, regardless of how far fetched it may be. But if it is the later, be candid and ask to get back to them later. Nothing beats honesty.


To get the job you must want the job. Remember that jobs aren’t just lying around for people to pick up. You have to demonstrate you are interested in the position, and mention the skills you can bring to the table and what the organisation will gain in return.

Be keen for the job; don’t be passive. Engage panelists; look them in their eyes when you respond. Ask questions and show your excitement for the position. There is nothing better than an employee who is passionate about their job; this fuels engagement and the desire to succeed in any position. Your ability to show a keen interest in an interview may very well be what scores you the job.   

Hopefully, with these three Ps you are sure to ace any interview and land yourself that dream job. All it takes to win is preparation, which will fuel your presentation and your ability to participate.

Write The Perfect Cover Letter In One Hour

If you’ve found a job that you’re really excited about and can’t wait to apply for, this is the time for you to put your best foot forward. But do you know how to stand out from the competition? Everyone knows that resumes are critical but what about your cover letter?

Cover letters give you an opportunity to distinguish yourself from a flood of resumes. Use them to highlight your passion for the role, why you’re great fit for the company, and  your stellar communication skills.

Download the workbook, and in just a few step you’ll polish the cover letter that will differentiate you from the crowd.

Topics this guide will cover:

– How to select which work/volunteering experiences to highlight in your cover letter

– How to personalize your cover letter and showcase your research

– Structure and format

– How to write a strong opening and closing paragraph

Want access to this free guide and to start churning out cover letters like Kermit?Kermit typewriter

Just fill out the form below to join our community and get access to this guide and AWESOME weekly content.