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There is no ‘perfect’ formula that will guarantee an ideal result. Depending upon the position being offered and the style of the interviewer, interviews can vary from a structured format where a series of unrelated questions are asked, to a more casual format that is more like a conversation or a chat.

To maximise your chances of success, certain steps can be taken to prepare yourself.

  • Research the organisation
  • Understand the requirements of the position and decide whether your skills, values and needs match
  • Prepare a list of responses to questions you think will be asked
  • Write down questions you want to ask
  • Check exactly where the interview is to take place and arrive before time
  • Allow plenty of time
  • Ensure you have all the necessary documents such as your CV or executive summary
  • Make sure you are dressed appropriately
  • Listen actively
  • Sit upright
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Use notes to prompt you – no interviewer will object to your referring to these
  • Relax! This is important both when waiting outside the interview room and the evening before

Research shows that 90% of the impression you give is communicated in the first 60 seconds so make a confident entrance, extend your hand and shake firmly when introduced to the interviewer. When the interview is over thank the interviewer and offer to shake hands again. You should also ask “what will be the process from here.”

Watch the speed at which you speak; we all tend to speak more quickly when nervous, so try to consciously slow your delivery down. Be succinct – you should be able to answer all questions in no more than 3 minutes.

Beneath the many questions that interviewers ask, there are really only four basic questions:

  1. Why are you here? (Is there a logical reason you chose this company?)
  2. What can you do for us? (Interviewers are hoping your skills and specialised knowledge will meet the present and future needs of the company)
  3. What kind of person are you? (Interviewers want to know whether you will work easily with others and if you possess values that are consistent with those of the company)
  4. Can we afford you? (Here your salary expectations are explored)