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Nine ways to ace that interview
Many people find interviews nerve-racking and fail to present themselves in the best light. Here’s how to acquit yourself well.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Find out who will be interviewing you and Google them; search online and among your contacts to discover what the organisation’s biggest challenges and successes are, so you’re informed on the day.
2. WHAT’S THE QUESTION THAT YOU’RE THE ANSWER TO?
Your CV should have been structured around demonstrating that you are someone this organisation needs. Your interview should do the same. If you’ve claimed skills and qualities, try to evince them.
3. BE CONFIDENT, BUT NOT ARROGANT
You may not enjoy interviews and your interviewer might not either. His or her job is to discover whether you’re suited to the role whereas yours is to show that you are. Use confident body language – sit up straight and make friendly eye contact.
4. ASK QUESTIONS AND REALLY LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS
Venture your own opinions based on your research; but preface them with: “from the outside it seems that…” or “would I be right in thinking…” to come across as thoughtful rather than know-it-all.
5. HANDLING A PANEL
You may be interviewed by several people at once. Give each one similar attention, rather than focusing on the most senior person. More junior people may have the power of veto and you alienate them at your peril.
6. SHOW REALISTIC AMBITION
Make it clear that work is important to you and you want to succeed. Just don’t give the impression you’ll be off to a better job very soon.
7. NEVER ASK ABOUT SALARY IN A FIRST INTERVIEW
It’s fine to have an idea in mind if it comes up, but generally first time round the object is to get to know you and your capabilities. And, if you get an offer, you will be in a better position to negotiate a deal that suits you.
8. DESPERATION IS UNAPPEALING
People don’t give you jobs because they’re sorry for you and someone who comes across as close to the edge won’t seem like a good appointment.
9. WHAT QUESTION WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO BE ASKED?
Gaps in the CV? Left your last job under a cloud? Work out a positive response and practise in front of the mirror until you can speak calmly about the issue. However, don’t disparage your former employer – you’ll be seen as disloyal.