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

2) Think about what you would bring to the

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

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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