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How to succeed in an interview

As a potential job seeker, even if you are already used to the interview process, it never hurts to bear some important tips in mind to ensure that you ace your next interview.

Research, research, research

This is the most important thing you can do to eliminate surprises, establish confidence and ensure that you have a great interview.  Make sure you know as much as possible about the company, the people you'll be meeting with and the specifics on the role you're interviewing for.  The Internet can serve as your best friend in this respect, and there are many social networks such as LinkedIn to help you find out some of these ‘insider’ information.

Bring a copy of your CV

Maybe even bring two. Never assume that your interviewer will have a copy.  In addition to serving as your most important sales ‘prop’ for the conversation, you will look extra prepared for those times where they do not have a copy. Ensure that you know your CV inside and out. Dates, titles, key achievements, everything— it’s all important even if some of the experiences are dated. If you look like you have forgotten parts of your own history or can’t account for gaps of time between jobs you run the risk of looking like you are being untruthful, which can be fatal in an interview setting.

Find out the name and title of the person you are meeting

It’s also good to know how they would interact with you in the role if you were to get the job. This is not always possible, but there is nothing wrong with asking whoever is setting up the interview (recruiter or hiring manager) a few exploratory questions beforehand.

Dress for the job you want not the job you have

It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

When you're asked for examples from previous positions, remember that it is okay to include your whole career

Many people, when asked for examples of projects, situations or challenges tend to place more focus on their current or latest position.  If you accomplished something great two positions ago, include it.

Make sure you understand the question – and the competencies they're looking for

The questions you're being asked are designed to garner information about your competencies, so take a moment to figure out what they're trying to get at– and how you can best answer it. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications if the questions are too vague.  Additionally, when you are giving answers, keep in mind the most important part of each of your past roles is what you were able to achieve. Tasks you did or actions you took are fine, but in the current economic environment, everyone is looking for people who are going to deliver real results to their organisation, so don’t leave that out.

Make sure you thank the person for their time

You can also ask when you can expect to hear from them.  This will allow you to gauge interest and timelines and without it, you won't be able to judge how to approach other opportunities.

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