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How to prepare for interview success 7 top tips by Karen Williams

photo shows a group of people jumping in the air and giving a thumbs up celebrating success

It's a great feeling when you have applied for a job, submitted your CV or application form and you receive a letter inviting you to interview. That's brilliant news, however in the current economic climate you may be among many other people who have also been invited to interview.
So how do you beat them and get the job you want? Follow my top tips to achieve interview success.

1. Prepare for your interview

Start by doing some research on the company, the sector and the job. You could look at their website, ask for literature, read or watch the news, or research any recent articles or information on the company or industry. Ask your friends or family if they know someone who works for the organisation and ask for their help. If you take time to prepare, it will allow you to be knowledgeable during the interview and interested in the company.

2. Understand the requirements of the interview

Find out whether there will be an interview, personality assessment, skills or aptitude test, assessment centre, or presentation, and ensure you prepare thoroughly.
If you have to carry out a presentation, check that the organisation has the appropriate technology if required and take time to practice it before the day.

3. Prepare for difficult questions

In most interviews, you will be talking for a majority of the time. The interviewers will ask you questions based on your experience, and may include questions about your strengths and weakness.
In addition, you may be asked questions based on competencies, such as people management skills and team working. These are questions based on situations you have experienced.
Competency based questions normally start as follows - tell me about a time... or will be an open question, starting with a word such as what, when, how.. To prepare for these types of questions, have a few examples you can use that you can adapt for different questions. You also may wish to prepare some questions that you can ask the interviewers at the end of the interview.

4. Plan your journey in advance

Interviewers are put off if a job candidate does not arrive on time, as it creates a less favourable impression. Also if they are seeing many candidates on one day, it can mean that the schedule of interviews goes awry. Make sure you are not one of them by planning your route in advance and allowing plenty of time for the journey. Aim to arrive early and if you do, you can spend time preparing for the interview. If for any reason you are held up, give the person a call and let them know that you are on your way.

5. Dress appropriately

Nearly half of interviewers are put off when job candidates do not dress appropriately for the interview. This includes wearing a suit or smart outfit where appropriate and making sure that you clean your shoes, as well as appearing presentable. Give yourself plenty of time to decide what to wear, and you may want to get your clothes ready the night before the interview.

6. Gather all the information you need for the interview in advance

It is a good idea to review the job description and take your CV or application form to the interview with you. You may also need to take certificates, references or examples of your work to the interview, so prepare these in advance.

7. Make a great first impression

People tend to make a first impression of you within the first few minutes. If you are not feeling confident on the day, ‘act as if’ you are confident. Take a deep breath and when you meet the interviewers, use appropriate eye contact, a firm handshake, and smile!
Good luck!

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About The Author

This article was written by Karen Williams of Self Discovery Coaching

Author Profile

Karen Williams is a qualified coach, with an Advanced Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching from The Coaching Academy, and is also a NLP Master Practitioner.

She created Self Discovery Coaching in 2006 to help people to reach their potential. She works with individuals who want to make changes to their lives and career. Karen is a focused, enthusiastic and motivated coach. She enables her clients to gain a greater self awareness, focus on their strengths and gives them a chance to focus on what it is that they want to be different. She then uses coaching to help them achieve their own personal success story. She understands the difficulties that her clients face, and helps them to build an action plan for their future.

Karen provides one to one coaching, personal development workshops in Hampshire, UK, and a brand new cost effective and flexible online career coaching programme, called ’90 days to career success’. You can download your free report, ’10 Steps to YOUR career success’ at

Logo for Self Discovery Coaching Karen Williams

Author's Contact Details

Karen Williams
Self Discovery Coaching

Telephone: 07823 335747
email »
Self Discovery Coaching website »

AllPortsmouthJobs are very grateful to Karen Williams and Self Discovery Coaching for taking the time to provide this advice, please use the contact details above if you'd like to contact Self Discovery Coaching.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this information is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.