Landing yourself a job interview is a big step, an opportunity that you should aim to be as prepared for as possible. There are many reasons why a job interview can go south, including issues outside your control but there are many steps that you can take that will at least ensure that you have given it your best shot.
1. Know the Company and Yourself
Securing a job is essentially going to boil down to a good fit between you and the company. Good fit can be in a myriad of aspects - skill set, experience, values, culture. At the point of an interview, you have knowledge of at least 2 things that the company is looking for - skill set and experience. These two items are usually listed in the job description. If the company has a good website, you are likely to be able to find out more about 2 more aspects of the company - values and culture. Once you have all this information in place, prepare for your interview by analysing yourself, and your past experience. Line up your own skill sets based on the job requirements, prepare your anecdotes of past experience, and how best to vocalise your CV.
2. Find out where the interview is
On the day of the interview, you want to focus strictly on the interview itself and not be thrown off by high anxiety situations such as getting lost, or being late. Do a recce, plan your route, give it some extra time for unforeseen circumstances such as traffic, weather or public transport issues.
3. Plan your wardrobe including your shoes and your hair
You want as little unknowns that day, nothing should frazzle you, and leave your mind clear to the interview and the interview alone. So, prepare your wardrobe (if you have not worn something in a long time, put it on a few days earlier - you may discover missing buttons or torn sleeves), prepare everything you are going to wear, down to your shoes and how you are going to style your hair.
4. Prepare, prepare, prepare - do a dry run
If you have the opportunity to get an Interview Trainer, go for it. It will help frame your mind and your answers to get it into a tip top condition. Practice is invariably the best way to do well in an interview, and having an expert guide you through and practice with you is a good opportunity. If you are unable to, do a dry run with a family member or friend. Try and emulate the conditions - for e.g. if its a phone interview, than practice over the phone. If its Skype, then do the same.
Some companies may choose to conduct the interview in a non-meeting room setting, such as over a meal. This is usually done when its an interview with senior management, after you have gotten through the first round. If you are called to do an interview that will be conducted over a meal, find out as much as you can about where it will be, and the dining etiquette required.
An interview can be nerve wracking, but it does not have to be. Brush up your interview skills, and start practicing. Good Luck!
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