There is so much information available on the Internet so make the most of it and find out as much as you can about the company. As well as their website, have a search for news items and see if there are any discussion boards or blogs which may be relevant. This really is the easy bit so give yourself every chance by making sure you know as much about the company as possible. Avoid what happened to one candidate when he announced how keen he was to work for the Commission for Racial Equality only to be told, that was great, but this was a completely different organisation! Not a great start to the interview.
Review your experience
Look back at your c.v. and work experience and remind yourself what your key achievements have been. Have a think about how you would describe each role you have taken – what did you do, what were your responsibilities and what did you achieve? This is the time to get really positive and to think about selling yourself. Many people find this concept difficult and worry they are showing off. A way to deal with this is to imagine how a colleague would describe you or your manager or even your best friend.
Come up with examples
Next check the application form or job specification and make a note of all the qualities and skills they are looking for. These are sometimes called competencies. It is important to make sure you have an example from your past where you have displayed the relevant competency. Everyone can say they have great communication skills but you must have an example to back it up.
Practice and Feedback
It’s all very well having all those great examples in your head but unless you’ve practised saying them, they may not come out the way you intended. Make a list of probable questions which you can base on the competencies or find specimen questions either on this site, or on the Internet. Find someone to do a mock interview for you such as a colleague, a friend or your partner or you may want to consider some professional coaching. Ask them for feedback. How are you coming across? Are your answers well-structured? Are you using relevant examples? Are you selling yourself?
If you are not able to set up a mock interview, then you can just ask the questions yourself, but do practice the answers out loud and if possible record yourself. Then you can review your answers and make sure you are coming across as you want to.