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The perfect job interview

Updated on March 23, 2014

Research the company

Researching the company is something you need to start doing as soon as you receive that invitation to attend an interview. During an interview the interviewer will typically expect you to have prior knowledge of the company but demonstrating a high level of knowledge about the company will give you a distinct advantage in the race for that job.

Being able to demonstrate a good knowledge of the company will show firstly that you are desperate to secure not just any job but that particular job. It also lets the interviewer make some positive judgements about you, firstly that you're someone who can use their own initiative to go and research information and secondly that you are someone who is well prepared.

Of course there is also the likelihood that the interviewer is proud to be an employee of the company and therefore your knowledge of and interest in the company provides a small ego boost for them which is always a bonus.

Being asked about your knowledge of the company and only being able to provide a minimal response is an embarrassing situation which doesn't reflect well on your chances of landing the job.

Dress to Impress

So many different studies have tried to quantify just how much importance is placed by interviewers on how the interviewee looks, with results varying but largely agreeing that it's a critical part of the perfect interview.

Always dress to impress for an interview, formal and sharp is the safest bet in every situation unless you categorically know that the interviewer will be expecting something different.

Dressing well tells the interviewer that you are taking the interview very seriously that it merits the time and expense of presenting yourself in a professional manner. Failing to dress or present yourself well says that you don't value the opportunity.

On many occasions the interviewee may be better dressed than the interviewer which isn't a problem.

Bring a portfoliio

If you can take along a portfolio of work which is relevant to the job then do so.

Producing a portfolio during an interview gives the interviewer very clear signals that you are someone who takes a great deal of pride in their work and who appreciates the value of what they do rather than just turning up for a nine to five.

Don't take along an oversize portfolio of your work and don't even consider passing someone else's work off as your own. The other don't with portfolios is don't force the issue by declaring at the start of the interview that you have a portfolio of work with you before slamming it down on the table and trying to dictate the interview.

When there is an opportunity tell the interviewer that you have a portfolio of work which they can view if they want to.

Don't Badmouth

In a job interview you are almost certainly going to be asked about previous employment which you've had and most likely you'll be asked why you left an employer or why you are considering leaving an employer. It's the easiest thing in the world to use this as an opportunity to badmouth your past or current employer but if you do then you are making a big mistake.

What the interviewer wants to hear is that you are looking to improve yourself or your situation in some way by working for their company. At the end of the day your interviewer is your prospective employer and almost invariably they will see themselves being on the end of your rants in future if you give your past or current employer a tirade of abuse.

When you are asked why you want that new job then focus on you, the future and if possible nurse the ego of the interviewer by telling them how their company represents a much better opportunity for you.

Certificates and Qualifications

Taking personal certificates and qualifications along to an interview is a very common approach but typically the aim of the interviewee to provide evidence is seen differently by the interviewer.

The interviewer will make judgements on you based on how organised and well-presented those certificates and qualifications are. If they are presented nicely in an orderly format then it reflects well on you but if they are a bundle of disorganised, crumpled papers with no order then it reflects very badly.

Seeing someone take the most important pieces of paper in their lives out of a back pocket before trying to smooth out the creases does not leave a good impression.

Know Yourself

A very important point, before you go for any job interview you need to think about you in the context of that job. If you were in that job what would your strengths and weaknesses be?

When the interviewer inevitably asks you what your strengths are then be prepared to give an answer in relation to that job. The interviewer will see that you've truly considered how appropriate the job is for you, this is so much more encouraging to an interviewer than speaking to an interviewee who speaks in very general terms and seems to be saying "I could do any job".

You also need to be prepared to discuss weaknesses because it is another question commonly asked. The best way to handle a question about your weaknesses is to have some responses thought out before the interview which give an answer but which highlight weaknesses which are actually strengths such as "I pay too much attention to detail", "sometimes I'm just too goal focused'. You ultimately want the interviewer to have the feeling that your weaknesses are something which cause them no concern and are actually positive attributes.

Have questions ready

Being in a job interview can be a nerve-jangling experience and sometimes as an interviewee you feel a wave of relief as the interview nears it's end then the interviewer asks whether you've got any questions about the job. It's all too easy to say no or to ask a weak question but if you do so then you've committed a big mistake.

When an interviewer asks if you have any questions about the job and gets a poor response then they draw conclusions from this, conclusions which aren't favourable. In their minds they've spent a long time interviewing you and now at the final hurdle you've shown a lack of interest.

Be prepared, think of some good questions beforehand and if necessary write them down. Don't ask selfish questions about earnings, benefits or working hours unless you've also got questions to ask about the job role or company. Again you need to treat this as an opportunity to massage the interviewer's ego.

Remember the basics

Last but not least you need to remember the basics.

Be on time. Being late for an interview is a cardinal sin. Always do everything you can to avoid having reschedule, if you reschedule then you've significantly undermined your chances of landing the job.

Don't swear or curse. Losing control of your language in such a formal situation leaves you looking like a liability.

Don't overtly flirt. To some people it's a natural mechanism and it may even be well received but you just can't take that chance.

Stay calm. Be at the location on time and give yourself a few minutes to get composed. Slow deep breathing slows the heart rate and allows you to appear calmer and more assured.


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    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 3 years ago

      A great article on all the things that will help some one land the job.

      Another one I would suggest, that really impresses the new employer.

      Send a thank you card for the interview/hire. This shows that you are professional and you convey the appearance that you are the type that goes over and beyond. this will help reaffirm the new employer decision on hiring you. :-) Up and Shared. :-) Awesome~