How to prepare for job interviews

First things first, you’ve got yourself an interview so congratulations! You have obviously written a great application or CV/résumé and have convinced them that you have the skills and knowledge required to do the job, which is fantastic. Next you will need to prove that, out of everyone they’ve shortlisted, you’re the one that they want. Don’t forget though, you’re also going along to see if you’d like to work there. They need to convince you that they’re perfect too.

Don’t get nervous. Not everyone’s trying to trip you up with difficult questions – it really depends on the sort of job you’re going for and the type of company it’s in. Most of the time people are looking to find a competent person who will fit in with the team so, if you are confident talking about your knowledge and skills, the only other thing you’ll need to do is appear friendly and professional. If they like you, they’ll want you. The interviewer(s) will have to come to a decision about you based mostly on the short length of time that you’re there, so they have to judge whether you could do the job and also whether they’d like to work with you in the space of about 30 minutes. Tricky stuff. Still, it’s relatively easy for you to create the right impression and turn up feeling confident, so here’s a few tips to make your job easier than theirs.

  • Do a spot of research on the company. Even if you don’t need it in the interview, it’ll relax you to know more about them.
  • Keep the pre-interview cigarettes and garlic-y lunches to a minimum, and don’t over-do it with perfume.
  • Wear smart clothing suitable for the company and role you’re going for – suits aren’t always best.
  • Re-read your application and the job description if at all possible, as this will help you feel confident that you know what you’re talking about.
  • Make sure you arrive on time for your interview!
  • Don’t chew gum or take a water bottle with a sports cap – neither look particularly professional.
  • Greet the interviewer with a smile and have a decent firm handshake.
  • Look alert and interested at all times. Make eye contact with all panel members but concentrate on the person who has asked the question.
  • Be enthusiastic. If this shows in the way you respond to questions, they’ll know you’re keen to work with them.
  • Try to answer question with more than just a yes or no, but don’t waffle on. Remember your point and always come back to it.
  • Be professional – don’t complain about your current employer!
  • Have some questions of your own to ask, even if it’s just to find out why there is a vacancy.

That all sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? You probably could have worked it all out for yourself too, but it always helps to have a little reminder. Just try to stay calm and keep smiling, then everything will go smoothly. If you’ve done your best in the interview, all you can do is sit back and wait to see if they thought you were as perfect as you know you are. Good luck, and remember what my gran always used to say: “what’s for you won’t go past you”. Your perfect job is out there somewhere and you will find it.

This article first appeared on BitchBuzz in 2010. Image via BAKOKO‘s Flickr photostream.

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