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Guidelines for Interview Preparation

27 February 2009
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The prospect of a job interview can be quite daunting for many. The key to doing a good interview is preparation. Always bear in mind that - in failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

  • Consider - from the employer's perspective, what would constitute a successful candidate. The more you think like the interviewer the better your preparation will be. Remember the fact that you have been selected for interview means that they think you can do the job, so - what qualities are they looking for in an employee? What is it about you that like?
  • List your key selling points. Consider how you can best show, by example from your experience (don't forget to include your interests and hobbies) that you have these qualities.
  • List some of the questions you might be asked. Many questions are predictable. In fact there are really only three things uppermost in an interviewer's mind, three questions that he/she needs answered. All questions asked by the interviewer usually fall into these three areas.

1. Can this person do the job?

This question is about experience, track record, achievements etc. and as you have been invited for interview your CV must show that you can do the job.

2. Will this person do the job?

This question is about your attitude and approach to work. How hard working; motivated; committed; loyal; etc are you?

3. Will this person fit in?

It really doesn't matter how good you are, unless you fit the company image and the employer fells you will work as part of the existing team, you are unlikely to get the job.

Practice your answers so that you can emphasise your positive points. Despite the common belief that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, it is the best way of developing fluency in your speech. Talking aloud will help you formulate your answers in a coherent manner. This will help you think more clearly when the pressure of being in front of the interviewer builds. You will also feel more confident in your effort to work the interview to your advantage.

Make sure that you:

  • Arrive on time
  • Dress neatly
  • Speak clearly
  • Smile and be pleasant
  • Avoid simple "yes" and "no" answers
  • Maintain eye contact

Make sure that you don't

  • Appear casual and disinterested
  • Adopt a slouching posture
  • Interrupt a speaker
  • Sound critical or cynical

Selling yourself at the interview - seek to show that you are

  • Willing and co-operative
  • Keen to learn and be trained
  • Self assured and disciplined
  • Sensibly ambitious
  • Qualified to do the job

Remember an interview is a conversation, so speak naturally and be yourself.

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