Terrible tales are told of disastrous interviews, where everything has gone wrong and despair and despondency fills the air.

However, it is not inevitable that your interview will be such a disaster.  Taking the time to properly prepare; add some judicious practice and you can attend your interview with confidence that you will do well.

The secret is in preparing carefully for all aspects of the interview day; and that includes making choices well before the day dawns.  We have discussed organising yourself; but have you considered the question of Travel?

There are two types of travel which could concern us at the interview, and the first is simply getting there on time.  Most employers are less than impressed when candidates are later for their interview.  It takes ten seconds to make a bad impression and about two week to repair it, and you haven’t got two weeks.  So make sure that you take some consideration about travelling to the interview – before the day arrives.

What time is your interview?  Will everyone else be on their way to work at that time?  What will you need to do to ensure that you arrive in good time? 

Add to that, do you actually know where the interview is taking place?  If you are not familiar with the location you will need to find out!  I recommend that you do a trial run taking care to time yourself.  If you find that you arrived later than expected, you will know that you will need to adjust the time on the day or risk arriving late.

There is one more benefit to arriving a little early for your interview; you are able to take the time to calm down, use some of your calming techniques to deal with the nerves, and have a quick refresh of your CV, your application and the job criteria, then you will be fully focused when your name is called, and be able to enter the room full of confidence that you are well prepared.

The second kind of travel that you need to take some thought for is travel which may be required in the job.  If you have some indication that this job may require you to travel, have you considered how that will affect your home life and responsibilities?  Have you discussed that possibility with your partner?  If there is even a slight chance that job related travel will be a factor you will need to be prepared.  That way, when the interviewer raises the question – you can answer with confidence; knowing that you are not going to face a domestic when you return home with the job – and the travel requirements!

Then, while we are considering the ‘T’ words, we cannot go past Technology and Technical knowledge. In today’s business world, technology is everywhere, and we need to be confident that we are totally familiar with the technology associated with this job.  It is even more important if we have specialist technical knowledge or degrees.  Our subject may be very broad, and we may have only been working on a small specialised area in our previous job.  So we may need to brush up on those other areas; technology changes so fast, that if we have not been exposed the latest in our profession we could be seriously handicapped.

So make sure that you read up on the latest information relevant to your career stream; are you a subscriber to the industry magazine? For goodness sake, why not?  Don’t neglect this part of your preparation; interviewers will be less than impressed if there are gaps in your knowledge of your own speciality.

And finally – the termination of the interview.  It will be up to the interviewer to bring the interview to a conclusion, but you will need to prepare for that as well; for this is the time where you can ask those questions which are important for you to decide if this is a job you really want, in a company you would be happy to work for.

So don’t forget to prepare the closing questions – but never ask questions about salary or financial benefits; leave those questions until they have shown that they really want you!

So you might ask about training opportunities; or you could inquire about opportunities for advancement, (shows you are ambitious); if you are into sports you might like to know if this company has a sports programme; and If travel has not been mentioned before, you might like to ask now if the job could entail travel, and if so where to and how often.  Saves nasty surprises once you have accepted the job offer.  This is your opportunity to silence those nagging doubts; don’t miss it. 

And don’t be left in doubt about when the job will be decided, ask when it is likely you will hear from them whether you are successful  This gives you a time frame to work in, and don’t be frightened to ring them if you have not heard in the stated time.

Once the interviewer has indicated that the interview has been terminated, make sure that you have collected all of your paperwork before you rise to leave.  Then be guided by them on whether to shake hands; remember to thank them for seeing you, (courtesy cost little but the impression left can be massive) before smiling, turning and walking confidently to the door.

And a final word of advice; wait until you are well clear of the door before giving in to the overwhelming urge to declaim “Thank God that’s over!” because it will probably be right about then that the door will open behind you as they call for the next applicant!

So remember to plan and time your Travel to the interview, and be prepared to answer truthfully if asked about your willingness to travel in the job.  Review your technical qualifications and become familiar with the new technology in your field. Finally, take advantage of the terminal stages of the interview to clarify information and ask the practical questions which will help you decide if you really want this job.

And plan your final escape – sorry, your dignified leave taking, aim to leave a lasting impression of quiet confidence.

The Tale of the Letter T may not make it into the best seller list, but it will keep you on track to be in running for that job.
Michele @ Trischel 

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