I’ve had an interview recently and spent the days before preparing for it. Interviews can be nerve-wracking at the best of times and completely disastrous at the worst of times. Fortunately, I’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to make sure your interview goes well.

  1. Think about potential questions and prepare your answers – This seems like an obvious thing to do, but I’ve been surprised by friends who haven’t done this. There is an array of articles online that give you examples of questions. Research questions, think about how you would answer them and create a document you can prepare answers on. Examples of questions include, “tell me about yourself” and “what skills do you have that are suited for this job?”
  2. Research the organisation you are going to be working for ­– Knowing that your potential employer is in the top 20 in the world for its trade or that they have 10,000 followers on Facebook makes you look good. More importantly, it gives you a better understanding of the organisation you are hoping to work for.
  3. Make sure you are looking presentable – If you are man, make sure you are wearing a sharp suit. If you are woman, make sure you are wearing a suit or an appropriate dress. Unless stated otherwise, the interviewer will expect you to wear this attire. It’s important you do so. In addition, if you’ve made the effort to wear a suit or dress, don’t do something silly like leave your shirt untucked or your top button undone.
  4. Get there early – It’s really not a good first impression being late. Allowing 15/20 minutes in order to avoid potential delays could be the difference between getting a job and being that guy who turned up 10 minutes late to the interview.
  5. Give a firm handshake and ask how the interviewer is– Don’t crush their hand, but make sure your hand doesn’t resemble a wilting piece of spinach. It also pays to be friendly at the start. Often your interviewer will walk you to a room; this is a good opportunity to exchange small talk and pleasantries.
  6. Maintain eye contact and have good body posture – Most people have heard of the statistic that communication is only 7% verbal. Maintaining eye contact and keeping a strong, positive posture will make you seem confident and comfortable. However, don’t give them a staring match and don’t look completely rigid – you’re allowed to move around from time to time.
  7. Use LinkedIn to find your interviewer – This is very different from stalking your crush on Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn is there to be used in a professional sense. There is nothing wrong with finding the person interviewing you and getting a loose feel for what their job entails and where their interests lie. This can make for a better understanding of what your potential employer wants from you.
  8. Be serious, but not too serious – As you prepare and partake in your interview, be sure to practice and get across that you are serious and passionate about the job you are applying for. The employer wants to know that you want the job and that you want to do well. However, bear in mind that they are also assessing if they can get along with you in a working environment. If you go in all guns blazing about how you are a bloodthirsty, driven professional, you may struggle to get across your personality.
  9. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer – The interview is a two way street. Of course, it’s mainly focused on you, but you need to know more about the job you are going for. Good questions include, “what are the team like?” and “how do you think this job will further develop my career?”
  10. End the interview on an upbeat note – It’s good to leave the interviewer on a positive note with a call to action. Something like, “It was great to meet you. I look forward to hearing from you.” It’s obvious, but first and last impressions are often the most valuable when initially meeting someone.
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