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How to succeed at interview

The key to a successful interview is preparation. Almost without exception, the candidate who has done the most preparation will be the person who gets the job.



Prepare your answers:   You can never know exactly what you will be asked, but there are numerous questions which consistently come up at interview and by using the internet and doing your research you can have a bank of answers ready for most questions. There will always be questions that surprise you, but if you’ve thought through your work history, prepared examples and know your CV inside out, then you should be able to answer everything competently. 

Research the company:   In almost every interview situation, you will be asked, at some stage, to confirm what you know about the organisation to which you are applying. The detail and complexity of your answer depends on the role you are applying for and the level of seniority, but it is critical that you demonstrate that you have done your homework and understand the company, the market and the competitor landscape. Their website is always a good research tool and if you have time, call the company and ask them to send you any relevant corporate communications.

Plan your journey:   It is astounding how many people turn up late for an interview, because they got lost. Know the address, print out a map and if possible do a trial run so you know exactly how long it will take to get there. Always take the main reception telephone number with you, in case of an emergency, and give yourself plenty of time. 

Once the interview itself arrives, make sure you follow the lead of the interviewer. Don’t try to use all the examples you have, just keep to the point and ensure your answers are relevant.    An interview isn’t all about being reactive. Try to get the interviewer to tell you what skills they are looking for early on and make a mental note of any information that they give you. This way you can tailor your answers accordingly and ensure you say what they want to hear. 

Finally, an interview is as much about first impressions as it is about your skills and experiences. Be enthusiastic, positive and professional, give a firm handshake, look the interviewer in the eye and smile!


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Career Magazine: How to succeed at interview
How to succeed at interview
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