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Job offers are won or lost on the thoroughness of the preparations you make before an interview.
It is well-established that if interviewers have formed an opinion about a candidate before the interview then they will expect this to be fullfilled during the interview and will treat this candidate differently. Consequently, anything you can do to create the right impression will be valuable.
Begin by submitting in the first place:
- a professional-looking CV that focuses on your achievements;
- a well-written application form which emphasises your strenghts;
- a positive covering letter that touches on your main "selling points" and conveys your enthusiasm for the job.
It is surprising how many people prepare themselves to fail the interview. They create barriers before they start by saying such things as:
"I'm too old/young."
"I'm too experienced/inexperienced."
"I'm male/female and they'll want a woman/man for the job."
"I'm not clever enough."
You should remember that you have obtained the interview on the strenght of your CV/application. The interviewer is already aware of your details, so don't be too concerned on these issues.
THINK - AND BE - POSITIVE
Before attending an interview it is important that you find out as much as possible about the job concerned; you may be able to obtain more details from the Personnel Department. You also need to find out as much as possible about the company - its background, the range of goods/services it provides, its policies on staffing, promotion and so on.
The better you prepare and practise your answers, the better you will perform on the days. We use different parts of our brain for thinking and talking, and that is why it is important to practise your answers out loud. Keep asking yourself those open-ended questions that interviewers use: "How...?", "Why...?", "What...?" etc.
It is important that you do not "freeze" when the interviewer says "and have you any questions for me?" Try and think of a list of questions before the interview. Asking questions shows that you have thought about the job and demonstrates an intelligent and enquiring mind.
Keep your questions to "safe" areas such as "How does the management training scheme work?" or "What will my induction programme entail"? rather that "How much sick leave am I entitled to?"
The more you prepare beforehand, the better your chances of success. This could be your future at stake - so do take that little extra time and trouble that will enable you to perform with confidence and do well on the day.