Preparing for a job interview is seriously important.

You have to do everything you can to give yourself the edge. Grab every opportunity to show how good you are and leave the employer in awe of your interviewing prowess.

The goal is to be the person they remember for all the right reasons. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of top tips to make sure you smash your next job interview!

Be sure of the dress code.

Check with the company or the agency to be sure of what the interviewer is expecting you to wear. These days, a suit is not necessarily the default interview clobber. In fact, more and more businesses are ‘dressing down’ resulting in reverse snobbery about suit wearing professionals. In IT and Marketing especially you risk being laughed at for simply donning a tie! Harsh.

Be clean.

First impressions count so be sure you don’t lose before you’ve begun by having dirty finger nails or an-anti social aroma. Even if you’re usually a shower dodger, come on, this is a job interview!

Thoroughly read your own CV.

It’s very likely that an interviewer will ask you to chronologically explain your career using the CV as a structure so you must be 100% sure of what’s been written and that the dates are right, especially if you’ve had help!

Note: Make sure your professional social media, such as LinkedIn, matches your CV otherwise you might be put on the spot.

Ensure that your ‘story’ is comprehensive.

Most people have at least one negative period in their career so, don’t ‘wing it’ if you know your CV isn’t squeaky clean. There is nothing worse than being asked a simple question that you’re not ready for as you’re likely to deliver a weak and hesitant answer. Common obstacles include your reasons for leaving (discussed below), salaries past and present, key successes and your aspirations.

Be ready to explain why you’ve changed jobs.

Salary, fancied a change, progression, a new challenge, etc are all common answers to the “why did you leave?” question. However, these are not answers. They are conclusions a person might have come to after having thought about the issues that led them there. Often, answers that offer little depth will set the interviewer’s alarm bells off resulting in further questioning so be ready for them!

Note: If your reason for leaving a job contains any negative issues, (which is common and totally fine by the way) be very careful to avoid emotionally led opinions. It’s not important that you despised your manager. Instead, the focus needs to be on the professional results of the relationship such as, no progression, distant relationship, etc. That way, you can openly discuss any bad scenario without appearing negative, spiteful or hateful.

Thoroughly read the job description.

A job interview is nothing more than an elaborate sales pitch where you are given a chance to sell your skills and experience to a qualified buyer. The key is to be deliberate in how you present yourself so that you can maximise the impact you’ll have on the interviewer. It’s really not complicated either – simply, assess each requirement on the job description and think of the best example of a time when you delivered something similar. Where your experience is lacking, find out how you might overcome these problems and include it in your pitch. Don’t avoid these areas in the vain belief that the interviewer won’t notice – they will. Attack these issues head on to give yourself a chance of overcoming an unavoidable reservation.

Prepare intelligent, unique and engaging questions.

Interviewers are expecting you to ask boring, generic questions because most people don’t prepare properly. So, take advantage of this opportunity to shine and ask something good! Ask an intelligent question about the company’s market positioning or the reasons behind a recent investment, make references to press releases to show you’ve done your research and ask something about it, enquire about the successful people in the business, why they joined and how they’ve performed. Whatever you ask just make sure they are Open Questions.

Prepare a closing strategy.

You’d be surprised how many hiring managers leave an interview unsure of the candidate’s interest. So, tell them! At the end of the interview clearly state your interest and then test theirs with a question. For example: “thanks for your time today, I’m really keen on this role. What’s the next step?”

The interview could be the last chance you have to deal with any concerns the hiring manager might have about you so don’t leave without addressing these. Today’s little issues often cement into reasons to discount you later on so it’s essential that you tackle them there and then by asking, “We’ve had a good meeting today. From what I’d said, do you have any reservations about my suitability for the role?”

Note: It is a widely accepted, but rarely shared, belief that shoving cheese  in the interviewers face prior to your exit will cause your hard work and preparation to fail. Avoid this at all costs.