How to….

    You know you want the job and you know you would be very good at
    it, but being successful in a job interview requires more than just
    enthusiasm and turning up in a suit. Preparation is key.
    Interviewers will be looking for people who can show they have done
    their homework and know their stuff. Even if it is an internal
    interview and you know the person or people who will be conducting
    it, you need to approach the process in a professional manner and
    second-guess what questions might come up. Remember that the other
    candidates might also have all the necessary skills. It is up to
    you to persuade the interviewer that you are their best bet.

    1) Research the organisation
    Use the Internet to find out what has been happening at
    the organisation and how it has been performing. “You may be asked
    questions relating to your understanding of the job, the
    organisation and the environment in which the organisation
    operates,” says Simon O’Hear, HR manager at homelessness charity
    Broadway. “It is always important to read up on the job and the
    organisation.” Many organisations now state their vision and values
    on their site so use those to guide you and get a sense of the
    culture. If you know someone who works there, tap them for
    information.

    2) Think about what you would bring to the
    job

    Make a list of selling points. What would you bring to the job? Why
    are you right for it? Why do you want it? Interviewers love to hear
    about practical examples of when you have performed well at work,
    achieved project targets or overcome obstacles. It makes you sound
    credible. Just make sure they are situations that relate in some
    way to the job. “Think of examples for key competences,” says
    O’Hear. “For example, problem solving, people management, client
    focus, personal development, teamwork and decision making.”

    3) Find out who will be interviewing you
    Ask who will be conducting the interview, whether it will be more
    than one person and whether you need to prepare anything or bring
    any documents with you. It can be daunting to turn up to a panel of
    five people when you were expecting only the one interviewer.

    4) Prepare for tricky questions
    If there are any gaps or odd career moves in your CV, have
    answers ready and do not start waffling. If you have been made
    redundant or sacked, don’t dwell on the negatives and don’t let it
    dominate the interview. If it was a personality clash, be honest
    without going into too much detail or getting personal. It sounds a
    clichŽ, but turn your weaknesses into strengths and don’t lie.
    If you don’t understand why the question is being asked or what you
    should say, ask them to re-phrase it rather than go off on a
    tangent.

    5) How to close the interview
    Have some questions of your own to ask. Remember that
    it’s a two-way process and the interview is also for you to decide
    whether the job and organisation are right for you. For example,
    what career opportunities and training are there? A good way to end
    an interview is to ask whether there is anything else they want to
    know about your abilities and whether you have answered their
    questions fully. That way, if they have any concerns you can
    address them before the interview ends, standing you in a better
    position to get the job, or at least a second interview. Find out
    whether there will be a second interview and when decisions are
    being made so that you know what to expect.

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