If you are looking for a job then at some stage you are likely to have an interview. 

There is no getting away from the fact that times are tough and competition is fierce.  You are going to be battling against others who want the job you want. 

Being invited for interview is a huge step forward because you now have the opportunity to show the person you really are, beyond a description on a piece of paper.  The organisation looking for an employee now has to make a choice.  Of course, you know just how wonderful you are but even so here are some top tips about how to help them make the right choice by selecting you at interview.

1. Turn up in good time.  Blindingly obvious you may think, but it is surprising how many people miss deadlines – not a good message!  Get there around 10 minutes early, introduce yourself, why you are there, who you are meeting.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  It is surprising what information you can pick up by watching and listening for 15 minutes.  This information can be used during the interview.

2. Be prepared!  Read the advert and any instructions carefully.  If the advert says bring some documentation then bring it.  One sure fire way to count yourself out is to not do what you have been asked!  Take a pen and a piece of paper in your pocket just in case you need to make a note of something.

3. Present yourself well – look the business part 1.  First impressions count and organisations want people who reflect the qualities of their organisation. Pay attention to your appearance, wear smart clothes (unless specifically told otherwise), shave, wash your hair, clean under your nails, clean your shoes. Avoid excessive jewellery and make up, it is an interview not a night out!

4. Present yourself well – look the business part 2.  Manage your entry.  Be positive about entering the interview room.  Step in, don’t slither!  Make eye contact, look pleased to be there.  Smile if appropriate, shake hands, introduce yourself by name and say the name of the person you are there to meet if you know it.

5Have an opening prepared. Say who you are and say thanks for taking the time to meet you.  Work out a short form of words about yourself, your journey and the place.  This acts as an ice breaker. 

6. Show an interest in the organisation and the job.  Research the organisation as far as you can. Visit their website. What do they do?  Where do they work? Who are their customers? How long have they been running?  Learn some facts about them and their industry and let it be known that you have done this.  Ask questions about aspects of their work and even the interviewer’s experience within the organisation; what attracted them to join, what roles have they done?

7. Know the wording of the advert and refer to it.  Think about the advert and what sort of person it is trying to attract. Be ready to tell the interviewer what sort of person you are.  If the advert asks for someone who is willing to travel then make sure you say that you are willing to travel.  Very importantly back up what you say about yourself with proof.  What can you tell the interviewer that will help them believe what you say?

8. Be prepared to ask questions – Why has the vacancy arisen? Confirm basic details; hours, holidays, start times, training, who you will be working for, where will you be working, rates of pay, and when pay and performance are reviewed.

9Be ready to offer information about yourself – travel, interests, any achievements. Remember the interviewer doesn’t know anything about you.   Far better that you volunteer information than it have to be dragged from you.

10. Have a closing strategy prepared. When and how will you hear the outcome? Ask is there anything else you can provide that would be of help? Thank the interviewer again for the opportunity to meet and see more.  Say you have enjoyed meeting the interviewer, learning more about the organisation and that you are still very interested in the role.

There is no guarantee of success but by taking some of the initiative and avoiding some basic traps you can increase the chances of succeeding.  Good luck!

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