Research the company before attending an interview. You can use the company’s website, general internet research forums & discussion groups, any relevant contacts that you might have and where applicable your Recruitment Consultant (with some effort your recruitment consultant can find out exactly what the interviewer is looking out for, so make them earn their money!).
Brush up on the content of your CV! Any hesitation on your part when asked to clarify something could easily be misconstrued.
If applicable, find a relevant piece of work that you can take with you; this could be something from work, university or college. It will demonstrate the quality of your work, show that you have come well prepared and take the attention/pressure off you for a few minutes during the interview.
Empathise with the interviewer. If you were interviewing for this role; what would you be looking for your ideal candidate to demonstrate? Spend sufficient time doing this and you will enter the interview much better prepared and therefore more relaxed.
Think in advance of the points that you would like to make and ensure that you have examples to back them up. It is much better to illustrate your point with an example; ‘I am excellent at delegation and have proven this on several occasions, such as…’
Interviewing is a two way process and your interviewer will expect you to ask questions. Prepare some intelligent, relevant questions in advance and you will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the opportunity. It will also help you clarify exactly how interested in the role you are.
If possible find out the reason that the company is recruiting; knowing this could easily be turned to your advantage. Is it because they have won a new contract/project and if so what is it? Can you prepare questions around it? Can you pull out elements of your work history which are relevant to it?
Make sure that you have fully organised your transport to the interview and have settled upon a departure time that will enable you to arrive no more that five to ten minutes early. It is much better to arrive early and go for a walk before the interview than to arrive late. If you do not arrive on time you will already be at a big disadvantage.
If your interview is to be carried out by telephone, make sure you have thought of a suitably quiet space in which you will not be disturbed. Try to avoid using a mobile phone; poor reception is not conducive to a successful interview.
If in doubt, it is better to dress too smart than to be under-dressed…
Finally, the best way to prepare for an interview is to get lots of practise. Aim to attend several interviews per week; even if that means applying for jobs that do not fit your search criteria exactly. With each one you will become more relaxed and your performance increasingly polished; especially if you secure sufficient post interview feedback each time. There is also the possibility that you will find a job more appealing once you learn about it at interview.
Your interview begins when you enter the premises; the person that greets you may well be asked about their first impression of you.
It is important to try to be as relaxed as possible. The worst that can happen is that you do not get the job and even then you’ll be no worse off than you were before you went to the interview.
Never exaggerate the truth; in all likelihood you will be caught out and the rest of your performance will be undermined.
It is fine for you not to know the answer to every question, so be honest but remember to put a positive spin on everything; ‘I do not have experience of teaching football, but I already have experience of teaching rugby and I am very eager to learn about how to teach football’.
Be concise with your answers; avoid vague statements and always conclude with the result of your actions. Give specific examples to back up the points you are making.
Ask for some feedback at the end of the interview and enquire as to what the next stage is.
Getting honest feedback after an unsuccessful job interview is an excellent way of increasing the chances of your next interview being successful. Although receiving negative feedback is rarely an attractive prospect, it is very useful. How can you improve your performance if you are not aware of where you are going wrong?
Getting comprehensive and frank feedback is not always easy, because there is no real incentive for your interviewer to give it to you. They may be tempted to offer a standard response such as ‘we found someone a little more suited to the job’. You must push hard to get the frank criticism you need, so think about the types of questions which might help: ‘if you were me, what three things would you do to improve your chances?’, ‘if you had to pick three weak points in my interview performance what would they be?’, ‘did I come across as shy or too confident?’.
If you have applied via an agency then contact your recruitment consultant and strongly encourage them to provide extensive feedback.