Nine ways to ace that interview

Many people find interviews nerve-racking and fail to present themselves in the best light. Here's how to acquit yourself well.

by Miranda Kennett
Last Updated: 26 May 2015

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Find out who will be interviewing you and Google them; search online and among your contacts to discover what are the organisation's biggest challenges and successes, so you are informed on the day.

2. WHAT'S THE QUESTION THAT YOU'RE THE ANSWER TO?

Your CV should have been structured around demonstrating you are someone this organisation needs. Your interview should do the same. If you've claimed skills and qualities, try to evince them.

3. BE CONFIDENT BUT NOT ARROGANT

You may not enjoy interviews and neither might your interviewer. Her job is to discover whether you're suited to the role, yours is to show that you are. Use confident body language - straight back and friendly eye contact.

4. ASK QUESTIONS AND REALLY LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS

Venture your own opinions based on your research, but preface them with 'From the outside it seems that ...' or 'Would I be right in thinking ...' to come across as thoughtful rather than know-it-all.

5. HANDLING A PANEL

You may be interviewed by several people at once. Give each one similar attention, rather than focusing on the most senior person. More junior people may have the power of veto and you alienate them at your peril.

6. SHOW REALISTIC AMBITION

Make it clear that work is important to you and you want to succeed. Just don't give the impression you'll be off to a better job very soon.

7. NEVER ASK ABOUT SALARY IN A FIRST INTERVIEW

It's fine to have an idea in mind if it comes up, but generally first time round the object is to get to know you and your capabilities. And, if you get an offer, you will be in a better position to negotiate a deal that suits you.

8. DESPERATION IS UNAPPEALING

People don't give you jobs because they're sorry for you and someone who comes across as close to the edge won't seem like a good appointment.

9. WHAT QUESTION WOULD YOU LEAST LIKE TO BE ASKED?

Gaps in the CV? Left your last job under a cloud? Work out a positive response and practise in front of the mirror until you can speak calmly about the issue. But, don't diss your former employer; you'll be seen as disloyal.

Miranda Kennett is an independent coach. If there's a leadership issue you'd like her to address, contact her at miranda@mirandakennett.co.uk. Find her on Twitter @mirandajkennett.

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