OK, so you've got an interview lined up and you've already attended to some important preparation. You have researched the company thoroughly and also the position you are applying for. You've been online and visited the company website, you've Googled them, checked out their competition, read up on them in the press, in trade and industry publications and hopefully had the opportunity to speak to past and present employees.
As regards the position, again you've looked online to check the detailed nature of the position, salaries that other companies offer for a similar role, career progression possibilities, professional development routes, qualifications and generally got under the skin of the post you are applying for.
Why the background work? Simple - when in the interview you are faced with the questions - 'So...what do you already know about our company'? or 'What is it about the position you've applied for that appeals to you'? or 'Why do you want to work here?' then you can offer a detailed and considered response. You can demonstrate clearly that you aren't attending interview just to make up the numbers. Show them you mean business.
What about the other sorts of questions that you will likely face in your interview? What can you expect to be asked and what sort of answers will help your cause most?
In a typical interview, you might be asked a variety of questions based on your background, experience and ambitions that will normally have straightforward answers. Questions along the lines of 'What do you consider your main strengths and weaknesses?' or 'Detail a typical working week."
Here's a short list that covers some of the most popular interview questions and the most useful answers. Don't get caught out. Think about these in advance and prepare your answers well.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Always refer to a specific future in the context of the position you are applying for at the company you are interviewing with.
Tether your future ambitions to the job you are applying for. You want to grow with the company, develop your skills there, assume more responsibilities and contribute as much as you can. Paint a picture of success and achievement, progress. Ask about career paths and professional development.
What is your greatest weakness?
Turn a potential negative into a positive. Maybe your desire to complete projects on time and under budget means that you pay extra close attention to costs and schedules. Do you try too hard sometimes in your attempts to not only meet but exceed expectations?
Always focus on the positive. It's not simply a case of spinning your faults. It really is a case of adopting a more positive stance and viewing things from a more constructive angle.
What makes you the best person for this position?
Identify a specific example of where your abilities and experience have been applied in situations that match the requirements in the job description. Map your skills and successes to the new position. Positively reinforce your interest in both the company and the vacancy.