How to prepare a perfect interview

If you have got an interview opportunity for your dream job, you should value it. Dont treat it lightly. Interviewing well is a skill like any other, and it takes knowledge, commitment and hard work to come out on top. Remember, every employer is going to ask themselves two things about you: Are you qualified for the job? And are you enthusiastic? Taking the time to prepare a perfect interview will successfully answer both these questions.

Dress to impress

If you look untidy, that’s how you’ll be remembered.
If in doubt, it’s always better to be too smart than too laid back.
“Wearing a suit or a smart dress sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of candidates who turn up in jeans and t-shirt. It sounds patronising telling someone to dress smart, but a lot of people coming out of school or university just aren’t interview-savvy.” Simon Milne, recruitment consultant

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

List likely questions in advance.
Memorise your answers.
Check the time and place of your interview.
Find out how to get there – do a dry run if necessary.
Research the company you want to work for.
Research the person interviewing you – a rudimentary search on the net might throw up some useful information.

Get physical

Never underestimate the importance of a firm, confident handshake and positive body language.
“I was once told by an employer that they turned down my candidate because he slouched in his chair. You have to look keen and engaged, so mirror the body language of the person interviewing you, lean in towards them at times and don’t cross your arms. Always accept a glass of water, it can create a useful barrier during an uncomfortable question and buy you a few crucial seconds while you take a sip. But never take a biscuit — they’ll often try to throw you with a difficult question the moment you take a big bite.” Alice Stenhouse, City headhunter

Use examples

It’s no good just using abstract terms to talk about how organised or efficient you are. Prepare some examples from your past experience to immediately back up your claims. Emphasise what unique talents you’ll be bringing to the company. Don’t go too far though – pretending you’re some kind of superhero will make you hard to relate to. Show humility – talk about an area you’ve struggled at, and the way you overcame the problem.

Always be positive

“When you’re asked why you’re moving on, don’t start slagging off your old boss. A lot of industries are very close knit and you may be insulting the interviewer’s friend. Think of positive reasons — make it all about the new company, your new career prospects and your ambition to succeed.

“Prepare at least 15 questions to ask at the end – five about the role, five about the company, and five specifically about the interviewer. Candidates look at me like I’m mad when I tell them this, but you’ll find most of your prepared questions will be answered during the course of the interview, and they’re crucial for showing your interest in the role. ” Simon Milne.

Ending the interview

“At the end, try asking if they have any reservations about you – this will give you the perfect opportunity to give an immediate riposte to their concerns and provide you with a clean finish to the interview.” Simon Milne.

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