It is important to ensure that you are well prepared for each interview you attend. The better prepared you are, the more relaxed and confident you will be.
Do some research about the organisation that is interviewing you. Company brochures, annual reports, websites and back issues of the trade press are all good sources of information. This knowledge will not only allow you to demonstrate your interest in the company but will also help you decide if it is going to suit you.
Ensure that you’ve not only prepared yourself to answer in-depth technical questions relating to your particular skills and experience – but also that you have prepared questions to ask.
Your preparation should also include ensuring you know the interviewer's full name, the correct pronunciation and their title together with the time and location of your interview. Arriving late always creates a bad impression so plan your journey well and allow sufficient time for heavy traffic, bad weather and parking.
First impressions count
Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early and be aware that the interview begins when you arrive at the reception and finishes when you leave the premises.
Receptionists and secretarial staff are often asked to give their opinions on jobseekers so creating a good impression from the start is very important.
You only get one chance at a first impression, always make it count. Standard business attire is normally appropriate, however, find out what is expected. Turning up smartly dressed for the interview tells the interviewer how much importance you place in their company and the position.
Ensure that you walk into your interview confidently with your head up, a smile on your face and a positive attitude. Shake the interviewer's hand firmly and maintain eye contact with them throughout your interview.
The type of questions you will be asked will vary from position to position. Where possible, give positive responses to the questions asked and try to expand beyond a simple “yes” or “no”. You should keep things concise but give something back by explaining things wherever possible.
Always prepare a few questions of your own as you need to evaluate the employer as much as they need to evaluate you. Don't bombard them with your knowledge of their company but ensure the interviewer is impressed as it will show that you have given serious thought to joining their organisation.
When explaining your reason for leaving your present or former employers, limit your comments to those necessary to explain your rationale and avoid making any derogatory remarks.
Ask for the job
If you are still keen on the position, reinforce this before you leave. Ask the interviewer about what happens next, when a decision will be made. Don’t forget to thank them for seeing you.
After the Interview
Afterwards make a note of everything you need to remember. This may include the name of the interviewer, the date you expect to hear back from the company and any questions you were unable to answer.
Consider all job offers carefully and make certain that you want the position. It is important to think back to your reasons for wanting to move and ensure the prospective post will satisfy those requirements.
Even if you are unsuccessful, use what you have learned from the interview to help you prepare for the next one. Look at what went well and what needs improving and work at making each interview better than the last.