Congratulations on getting the interview! Interviews can be a nerve wracking experience, it is important to prepare yourself to stop your nerves getting the better of you. The good news is that you can learn tips and techniques to help you share your value with potential employers and present yourself effectively to get the job you want.

> Preparation

Preparation is the key to a successful interview. In order to prove your ability to plan, organise and think ahead you must demonstrate to the interviewer that you have taken the time to prepare fully and discover information about the company and the role. Think about how well your skills, experience and interests fit the job and company. Plan your journey to the interview, do not be late! Plan what you will wear and how you will present yourself.

> Research

Research the company you are going to visit in advance. Get as much information as you can, it’s likely you will be asked how much you know about the company. Company websites, social media, corporate literature, trade magazines and news articles provide valuable information. What is the company saying via Twitter and Facebook, what is their message? Linkedin is also a great resource to uncover information. Understanding the company gives you confidence to answer questions throughout the interview.

> Practice makes perfect

Firstly know exactly why you want the job, express your enthusiasm for the role at the same time as demonstrating why you are the person they should hire. Practice answers to standard questions to help you throughout the interview, for example:

  • What do you know about our organisation?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What motivates you?
  • How would your colleagues/friends describe you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your greatest achievement?
  • How did you add value to your last employer?
  • Give an example of a time when you have coped in a difficult situation
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

> Questions you can ask the interviewer

  • What is the working environment like?
  • What training and induction will be given?
  • What is the team structure?
  • What are your goals for the department in the next 12 months?
  • What attributes does someone need to have to be successful in this role?
  • What have you most enjoyed about working here?
  • When can I expect to hear from you and what are the next steps?

> Make a good impression

First impressions count! Research shows that interviewers create an impression about you within the first 30 seconds.

  • Arrive on time or better still 10 minutes early
  • Greet your interviewer with a smile and firm handshake
  • Remember the interviewer’s name
  • Remain calm – it is normal to feel nervous but try to speak calmly and confidently
  • Try to make small talk on your way to the interview room
  • Show you are organised – take a copy of your CV and any examples of work (if appropriate)
  • Be positive and enthusiastic, demonstrate a ‘can do’ attitude

> The Interview

Usually you are chosen for interview because your CV demonstrates you have the skills and experience to suit the job. Your attitude, personality, how you present yourself and your ability to fit into the team are often the deciding factors.

Interviews usually follow a similar format; introductions, an overview of the process and job, questions from the employer to establish your suitability for the role, an opportunity for you to ask questions before the interview ends.

  • Make eye contact during the interview, listen to the questions carefully, take a moment to think about your response and answer confidently and concisely. If you don’t understand a question or would like it repeated don’t be afraid to ask. Avoid talking over and interrupting the interviewer.
  • Sell yourself – demonstrate how well you meet the requirements of the role and how successfully you will fit into the organisation. Use real life examples to evidence this.
  • Concentrate on your strengths, avoid negatives, if you are asked to describe any weakness convey that you recognise it but are striving to turn it into a positive.

> Employers are keen to know where you will add value to their organisation, think about how you have previously:

  • Reduced costs / increased productivity
  • Improved quality and/or service
  • Generated new business / improved existing business
  • Improved processes / initiated new systems
  • Solved problems
  • Managed a team
  • Met / exceeded targets

> At the end of the interview

Leave a good lasting impression:

  • Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to attend the interview and smile
  • If you haven’t already, ask about the next stage in the process
  • If you enjoyed the interview, are impressed with the company and want the job, be sure to say so with enthusiasm!
  • If you don’t get the job, contact the interviewer and ask for feedback, use the interview as a learning experience to perfect your interview technique for the next one.