‘Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure’ Confucius.
There is no way I can over exaggerate how important it is to make sure you have prepared well for an interview. This must be the rule whether you are a senior level candidate or someone starting out in your career.
Many people blame their failures on nerves. Nerves are completely normal. They often stem from a feeling of vulnerability. This is something that can quite easily be overcome by simply taking away the vulnerability of not knowing what you are going to talk about in an interview or the vulnerability of others affecting your outcomes.
So how do you take away the vulnerability of freezing and not knowing what to say? Make sure you know the company and its selling points. Make sure you know the market place within which the client operates. Make sure you know their competitors. Make sure you understand your own strengths and how you can add value to the business and get a grasp of how to articulate all of these points to show that you can perform to a high standard in the job in question. Then make sure you have prepared questions that show you are interested in the company and the role. Think about if you were sitting on the other side of the interview, what would you expect to see if you were putting your neck on the line for a new hire?
These are basic points; if you are going into interviews not having conquered the above you will need to wing it and from experience that doesn’t work out for long and you will get found out.
How can you make sure you affect your own outcomes? Every single detail of the day is important. It may sound ridiculous, but if you overlook something as small as your footwear it could ruin your interview. So think of this as a military operation. Plan your route; make sure you know exactly where you are going before the interview. Make sure you have accounted for traffic/delays. Plan as if you are going to have delays and when they occur they won’t bother you. Plan your outfit. If you feel happy and confident in what you are wearing this will come across in the interview, if you are stressed about what you are wearing you are only going to add to your nerves. This does not mean dress like Rab C. Nesbitt, make sure you are smart and presentable. It is a cliché but first impressions are very important. Dress smart and show the client you are taking the interview seriously.
If you want people to take you seriously then you have to take yourself seriously. Finding a new job is unbelievably important and can be life changing, so treat it with respect and make sure preparation is never a reason for not getting a job. Think about who you are meeting. The client works within the industry you are applying for roles. You do not want a bad review as this will get around quickly. So make sure that regardless of the outcome the client feels you were worth meeting.