You’ve been invited for a job interview. You want the job so you want to impress the interviewer without having to pretend. You want to give a good impression of the real you. And you only have half an hour! So here are some tips:

Get some background information:

Find out about the company so you know what to ask at the interview. What do they do? What do they prize themselves on? What’s the size of the company? The name of the manager? Google. Ask around. Talk to someone who works there. This can also be good in the interview to show that you have done your research.

Documents:

Get your documents ready if you need them. It may be good to bring your own copy of your CV and any other documents you sent (eg references) so that you can refer to them in the interview.

Check place, date, time of the interview:
It’s important to get to your interview calm and on time. Arriving late puts you in a bad light and annoys the interviewer. This could risk you getting the job.

So make sure your transport is arranged. Check directions. Visit the company beforehand if possible. It is a good idea to have the name and telephone number of your interviewer or his/her secretary so you can phone if you’re stuck in traffic or on the train.

Plan your appearance:
Wear clean clothes in good condition. It’s better to be conservative when dressing for an interview.  Not too tight, too short, too shiny nor too revealing. Wear neat, clean shoes. Don’t wear very high heels as they prevent you moving easily and make you look inefficient. Rather don’t wear anything too strong smelling either. For women, if you do wear make-up or jewellery, don’t wear too much. You really want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying, and not be too distracted by anything in your appearance.

Practise being interviewed:
Ask a friend or family member to role-play your interview with you so you get used to the feeling of talking about yourself. If there is no-one who can do this, then imagine the wall is asking you questions! Answer it out loud.

The night before the interview:
Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and ready. Check you have your documents, and that your phone is charged, and you know exactly where to go. Get to bed early. Don’t party. Wake with your mind, body and spirits fresh. Be at your best. Do some deep breathing, praying or meditation. Tell yourself positive stories about yourself. Set the alarm to give you enough time.

At the interview:
Make sure that you have switched off your phone before you go in. And also that you are NOT chewing gum. Don’t bring anything in like a water bottle or a coffee cup. If they offer you tea or coffee, it’s best to say no, as you want to be focusing properly on the questions, not on drinking. Just ask for a glass of water if they do offer you anything.

Take a deep breath before you go in. Enter, smile and shake hands with your interviewer. Give a firm handshake but not too strong nor too soft.  A floppy handshake shows lack of confidence. Introduce yourself, and look the interviewer in the eye. Speak clearly so he/she can hear you. Stand tall. You can do it!

The interviewer will introduce herself/himself and invites you to sit down. Sit upright in the chair with both feet on the floor. Try not to cross your arms so it looks like you are creating a barrier between you and the interviewer. Also try not to fiddle with anything, like hair, or jewellery, as it can be distracting.

Breathe and relax. Take your time. It’s important to listen to each question. Answer clearly so your interviewer gets to know you. Look him/her in the eyes and don’t speak too fast or too softly. Your interviewer must hear you.

Ask your interviewer questions, for example, about your duties in the company, or anything you found interesting in your research about the company. Ask if there’s a training programme perhaps.  Find out about conditions of employment: for example, what are your work hours, your leave, your wages. Ask about your employment agreement with the company. Will you be a permanent member of staff or on a temporary contract? However, don’t ask too many questions so that it sounds like you think you’ve already got the job!

Mention your skills that will be useful in the job. Remember though that nobody is perfect, and interviewers know that, so be honest and tell the interviewer where you feel unsure of yourself. It’s best to speak out before you start work so that you have no doubts when you agree to take the job, and you are not put into a position where you fail. Most interviewers will also appreciate your honesty.

Here are some questions you could prepare for:

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What are your career plans for the future?

What are your interests?

How would your colleagues or friends describe you as a person and/or as a worker?

What do you consider the most important qualities of this position (eg. admin assistant)?