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7 Gems to prepare for a foolproof interview

17 Feb 2014 by Sarah Leembruggen.

You can never do enough preparation for a job interview.  There’s nothing more frustrating than walking out of an interview knowing that you could have done much better if only you’d done a little bit more research or given the whole process more forethought.  Solid preparation for an interview will make sure you perform to the very best of your ability and knowing that you’ve done your homework beforehand is sure to help calm any nerves you may have.

Here are 7 gems which can improve your performance:

1. Give examples
Think through the skills you are going to bring to the table and how you are going to demonstrate that you have those skills.
It’s a good idea to sit down and write down examples of your best work.  Include campaigns where you have come up with the idea, initiated the project or managed the successful event. 
Write out at least five examples of great work that you are the most proud of, which have demonstrated different competencies .  These could be strategic abilities, creativity, management skills, project management skills, influencing C suite/multiple stakeholders and crisis management.  Keep the examples recent, ideally from the last couple of years.

2. Set up a mock job interview
Mock interviews make perfect preparation.  It’s age-old advice, but it still rings true.  Don’t worry if you don’t have an interviewer.  You can run your own mock video interview using a video camera, the camera on your mobile or your computer.  Use a mixture of common interview questions (eg. What are your strengths and weaknesses?) with ones that are tailored to the role you are applying for and answer them on camera.  Play the interview back and rate yourself.  It’s a powerful way of not only overcoming nerves but also improving your interview performance.

3. Sell yourself
Whether you call it confidence, self-esteem or self-belief, to shine at an interview you need to show that you will make a good employee.  Show that you are good at interacting and reading your situation, good at selling yourself and your ideas.  It is important to demonstrate strong outcomes and achievements as you talk through your background.  Whether the questions appear straightforward or more challenging, your future employer is looking for you to quickly return on their investment.  There is little room for error and they want to know that they are making a ‘safe hire’.
There’s more about how to sell yourself on The Works website.  Think about what skills you bring to the table.  Have lots of adjectives ready to describe yourself.  And then have more.  You may be asked to justify them so again, have examples at the ready.

4. Use the right body language
In the competitive and short timescale of an interview, your appearance and body language are going to play a significant role in showcasing who you really are.
Your body language plays a critical role in determining how you come across in an interview.
If you are being interviewed by two people make sure you answer the person who asks you the question, with an occasional glance at the other person to keep them engaged.  Eye contact is important and it’s much easier to build up a rapport with someone who comes across as warm, open and who smiles.
There are more useful tips on how to create that all-important good first impression on The Works website.

5. Be positive
Remember to go into the interview with a positive outlook.  Practicing your interview technique will make it so much easier to shine.  There's no need to be nervous if you believe you are a good candidate for the role.  If you believe you can do it, then you can do it.  You know it because you have prepared, practiced and are ready to show what you can do.

6. Have a few killer questions at the ready
When asked if you have any questions, “No” is not the answer.  Have five good questions to ask about the company, the culture and the role – three may be covered in the course of the meeting so five is a safe number.  Click here for more ideas.  This is also the time to find out the number of stages in the hiring process and when they expect to make an appointment.

7. Be interested
Tell them if you are interested in the role (if you are) at the end of the meeting.  All employers like to hear that you are keen, regardless of how senior you are.  If you are given a business card then there is no harm in sending a thank you email.  Thank the person for their time and restate your interest in the job.

There’s lots more interview advice to help you on our website.

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