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PostSubject: Preparing for interviews   Fri May 27, 2011 10:54 am

If you want to make a good impression at your interview, make sure
you prepare in advance. Before your interview, make sure you read
through the job description again, as well as the CV and cover letter
you sent off. The more you know about a job and the employer, the better
you'll perform in the interview.


  • If you've found a job through an agency, ask them for a full job description and any information they have on the company.
  • Look at the employer's website to get an idea of who
    they are and what they do. Get copies of any brochures or leaflets that
    are available.
  • Have a look on the internet for general information
    about the company, any recent news headlines and - for more senior roles
    - industry trends and developments.


Think about what you'll say


Try and work out what questions the interviewer will ask.
There are some questions that often get asked, so work out in advance
what you might say.
What relevant skills/experience have you got?

> Briefly run through your career or academic history, highlighting relevant skills and experience
What are your main strengths?

> Always have three things ready to say.
What are your weaknesses?

> Try and turn any weaknesses into positives, e.g. I
sometimes get frustrated if other members of my team don't work as hard
as they could
Why do you want this job?

> Is the role perfect? Have you always wanted to
work for that company? Do you think the role will be challenging and
help you develop?
Why do you want to leave your current job?

> Don't be negative about your current job or
employer. Instead find something positive to focus on, e.g., I'd like to
progress my career.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?

> Try and respond in a way that shows you're
confident and ambitious but not arrogant, e.g., in a senior role, having
worked my way up.

Have your own questions ready


Show the interviewer you've thought things through and are interested in the role by having some questions of your own ready.


  • Why has the position become available?
  • Are there training opportunities to develop my skills?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What is the structure of the team this role sits in?


Be presentable


Plan in advance what you are going to wear for your
interview and make sure your clothes are clean and ironed. If you look
sloppy, the interview might think your work will be sloppy too.

Make sure you know where to go


Arriving late for an interview can ruin your chances of
getting a job. Make sure you have the address to hand and a map if you
need one. Work out beforehand how you will get there and plan to arrive
early, just in case there are any mishaps on the way.
Be prepared


If you want to be well prepared and impress in
interviews, have a practice run with a friend or relative. Get them to
to ask you the questions that might come up and ask them to give you
feedback on your responses.

Interview tips


It's important to be yourself in an interview but it can
be hard to relax. Here are some tips to help you keep calm and present
yourself well.




  • Take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves before you go in.
  • A positive attitude can help you getting too nervous.
  • Show you have made an effort by dressing smartly and being well groomed.
  • There's nothing wrong with smelling nice but don't
    overdo the perfume or after shave - you don't want the interviewer to
    pass out from the fumes!
  • Take a copy of your CV in with you, in case your interviewer doesn't have one to hand.


What does your body language say? Find out how to look
confident rather than cocky, and relaxed rather than uninterested, in
your interview.
Do:


  • shake hands firmly - a limp wrist doesn't give a good impression
  • smile - it will help you relax and make sure your personality shines through
  • maintain eye contact with the interviewer
  • accept their offer of a glass of water, then you won't have to worry about getting a dry mouth or having a coughing fit
  • ask the interviewer to explain anything you don't understand

Don't:


  • cross your arms - it will make you look stand-offish
  • slouch in your chair
  • fidget, pick at your nails or play with your hair
  • have a hot drink - you could accidentally knock it over and scald yourself - or someone else
  • interrupt the interviewer when they're talking

It might feel like there's a lot here to try and
remember, but once you've had a couple of interviews it will all come
naturally.

After the interview


You'll probably feel quite relieved when the interview
is over, but don't forget to review your experience. Write down all the
things you have learnt for future reference and - hopefully - that
all-important second interview.

You might want to use a checklist to see where you could improve in future:


  • Did I arrive on time?
  • Did I sit still and not fidget?
  • Did I answer all the questions fully?
  • Did I sell myself as much as possible?
  • Did I describe my experience well?
  • Did I maintain eye contact/remember to smile?


Ask for feedback


In order to learn as much as possible, you can ask the
company or your recruitment agency for feedback after an interview. It's
not nice to hear your own weaknesses but it is important if you want to
become successful and get the job you want. And don't forget, the
company will let you know your strong points too.

While you wait to hear if your interview was a success, there's no harm in keeping an eye out for other opportunities. You can search and apply for other jobs in minutes on this site, so if you do get a disappointing 'no' from one employer, you'll still have eggs in other baskets.
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