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HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF AN INTERVIEW

Interview can be stressful - particularly second interviews, but preparing for them will boost your confidence and help you to show interviewers what you can offer their organisation. No matter how well-qualified you are for a job, your personality and presentation at interview are very important. Whatever your confidence levels, you can develop and practice the skills that are needed to succeed in interviews.

Get organised – be prepared

Know who it is you are meeting, where the building is and how to get there
Bring your contact details, spare CV, pen and notepad
Have information ready to impress the interviewer with your research
Do your homework – find out about the company, read trade magazines, visit competitors' websites, etc.
Study the job specification, match it to your CV so you can provide evidence that you meet the criteria

Your first impression 

Remember that you're making an impression as soon as you walk through the door
Be courteous to everyone, from the Receptionist to the MD – you never know who might influence the final selection of candidates, or even the job winner
Look at all interviewers (if a panel) when greeting them, smile and carefully remember their names so you can address them throughout the interview
If the sun is in your eyes or the chair is wobbly etc. say something rather than squirm and fail to concentrate

When they are asking you questions

Relax and imagine you're having a conversation with a friend
People get so caught up in their feelings they forget to listen to the questions; slowing the pace will help you hear the questions and answer them correctly
Before you respond to more difficult questions, think about your answers and how you want to express them. This will help you speak more confidently
You could practise talking slowly and evenly before you go. Record your answers and listen to your pace and tone
Body language demonstrates how comfortable you are with your subject matter. If you're enthusiastic about what you are saying, smile and let your hands do the talking
If you said something you did not mean and are worried it could damage your chances, rectify this by restating what you actually meant. Don't hold back, it could be your only chance to get the point across
Be factual and honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Show that you recognise your weaknesses and that you are striving to improve them
If you get stuck on a question, do not dwell on it for too long but politely ask if you can come back to it later

When you have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions

Some questions that may be appropriate to your interview include:

What are the other people in the department like? How would their roles impact on mine?
What would my core responsibilities be?
What training or induction is given?
What sort of one-off projects might I be given?
How much interaction would I have with other departments, or with clients/suppliers?
What scope is there for taking on extra work, or being involved in any other aspects of the company?
What plans do you have for expansion and how would these impact on my role?
Where are the opportunities to progress within the company?

Conclusion

There may be an explanation of how the process will continue. If not, ask.
Try to find out when you should hear back but do not be pushy as some recruiters will not want to commit themselves to timescales until they have had time to consider all candidates
Make sure the appropriate people know where you can be reached
At the end, thank your interviewer for his or her time and shake hands
Remember to say a personal goodbye to each person you talked to
Do not forget to acknowledge the receptionist as you leave, particularly if you have been looked after while waiting

Post-interview

Call your recruitment consultant and let him or her know how it went
Your consultant is employed by the company to liaise with you, and can also handle any queries or objections raised, or persuade the employer to wait while you supply more information
Some interviewers may give you their direct line in case you have any further queries.Take advantage of this if necessary but do not overdo it.
Allow a reasonable amount of time before getting in touch. At least 24 hours.
Write a letter confirming your interest and thanking the company for its consideration. A timely but subtle reminder like this could pay dividends