Win Your Next Interview

Let’s face it.  Interviews are tough.  You have a very limited time to show who you really are and what you are capable of.  As prepared as you might feel, there are so many potential questions that you could be asked and you need to have well rehearsed answers ready for all of them so you can speak comfortably and confidently about any one of the topics that might arise. 
There are some tried and tested strategies you can follow to help you stand out from the crowd and make a great impression however.  Follow them carefully and you will certainly do that. 

Know the Company
No matter how prepared you are to talk about yourself, your experience and your knowledge, if you do not know the background and the essentials of the company you’re interviewing for, it will only highlight a lack of preparation and interest. There is no way to show an interviewer how you see yourself fitting into a company if you know very little about it.   Take a long hard look at the company website and make sure you understand the very basics such as, how the company makes money, who the management team are  and what the company objectives and strategy is.  Google the company you are interviewing for and read up on the current news available.  Also, don’t forget to look at their Twitter and Facebook pages for up to date insights and the latest company information
Understand the Basics of the Job You’re Applying For
Make sure you have a complete and detailed understanding of the job that you’re applying for. Go beyond the job description.  Fully understand the position and imagine yourself performing every task that is required of you.  This will help during the interview when you talk about your past experiences and knowledge and give you a significant advantage over other candidates.
Know What Makes You A Great Fit For the Position
Have a complete understanding about what makes you fit into the position you are interviewing for and make sure you raise it during the interview. What makes you unique? It could be that you’re an ideas person or that you are fixated on statistics.  Whatever your special skills are, know them and prepare to fit them into your responses so when an interviewer asks, “What are your strengths?” you can skip the clichés and immediately talk about the qualities you have that are unique to the job. You’ll make it immediately clear that you are indeed, a perfect fit for the position.
Identify What Sets You Apart
Most companies interview a lot of people. So many, in fact, that they generally have to refer back to their notes to remember candidates—the exception being, candidates who have set themselves apart from all of the others. They may have done this by dressing a particular way or by having a strong and memorable personality.  The best way however is to have a good story that’s work-related.  If you can get the attention of an interviewer with a memorable story that illustrates what a strong candidate you are, you will be sure to place at the top of the list.
Prepare a List of Questions
Prepare a list of potential interview questions and highlight important points you will speak about if asked these questions. This preparation will make your responses more direct, avoid awkward silences and uncertainty, and it will build your confidence prior to the interview.
Practice, Practice and Then Practice Some More

You, and most likely, most of the other interviewees will already know the majority of questions you’ll be asked.  They don’t change and most companies will ask the same questions.  The difference lies in preparation. If you prepare unique and specific responses to the subject you will have the competitive edge over everyone else. You don’t need to memorise these answers, but make sure you know certain points of reference about yourself that you can apply to different questions.  Rehearse the interview in front of a mirror or better still, video your responses until you are able to speak confidently and comfortably.  Make sure to “interview” yourself. Video your responses until you’re able to speak easily and openly and this will pay off during the interview.
If you cannot relax during your interview, nothing you do to prepare will matter. It is essential to the selection process that you be yourself and if you are nervous it will show.  Fear or anxiety will be seen as a weakness compared to a relaxed smile and genuine confidence. Smiling not only increases your own confidence, but it also puts the people you’re interacting with at ease. Having this skill requires emotional intelligence or EQ which is a skill that more and more employers look for in a candidate.   
Be Positive
Maintaining positivity is essential in an interview, but it can be very difficult to do when discussing some topics. It’s hard to be positive when talking about difficult bosses or coworkers from your past employment, or having to explain why you were let go from your previous job, but that’s exactly what employers want to see in you. Show them that you can maintain a positive attitude about a challenging environment, and they’ll see the resilient and flexible individual they are looking for.
Be Honest
Good interviewers have a way of getting right to the heart of the person you are. Some have good instincts and some are simply very good at asking the right questions. It is important to approach your interview with honesty.  If you interview dishonestly, you’ll either not get the job or you’ll end up in a job that’s a poor fit.  Neither result is the one you are looking for so don’t focus on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Give a strong, honest and passionate breakdown of what you have to offer.
The bottom line is this.  The more prepared and confident you are for your job interview, the better your chances of getting the job you want. 

Published by Julie Jones