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Job Interviews: What Makes A Great Interview Candidate?

Nov 25, 2007
While regarded by many as an imperfect way to choose a new employee, interviews are used by almost all organisations irrespective of size or sector. You may not like the process and indeed some fear interviews intensely however to get that crucial first job and to move up the career ladder you must become not only comfortable in the interview room but also learn how to become an excellent interviewee.

Many candidates believe that having a great resume/CV is enough to see them through the interview and win the job offer. This is a common mistake that results in disappointment. The reality is that all candidates have a great resume/CV and in my experience it is often not the applicant with the best experience or skills who will win the job rather the one who performs best at the interview.

So just what do you have to do to stand out of the crowd and impress on the interviewer that you are the right person for the job? This article looks at the key techniques that any job interview candidate can use, irrespective of the type or level of the position to succeed and win those great job offers.

Be Prepared:

A common mistake made by candidates is not being fully prepared and there really is no excuse. There is usually more than enough time from the date you receive your invite to the interview itself and proper preparation and practice will enhance greatly your ability to answer questions, to communicate and to present yourself in the best possible light. There is no one recommended way to prepare for an interview. Instead, there are key tools and techniques that can be used to improve one's chances of interview success. Find out as much as possible about the type and format of the interview. Research the company to find out how commercially viable it is, what skills are they looking for and discover if the company is right for you.

Focus on your strengths:

Remember that the organization knows that you CAN do the job and they want you to confirm this to them during the interview. Don't let any negative experiences or a gap in your career for example negate all the great work you have done.

Step into the Interviewers Shoes:

What exactly is the interviewer looking for from you? Imagine yourself in the interviewers place and try to get a feel for what they need from you. Once you can do that effectively you will be able to build a relationship with them from the first moment of the interview.


Focus on the questions being asked and if you are not sure of the meaning of the question, then ask. This is a two way conversation and the interviewer will respond favorable to being engaged like this however, don't do this with every question as you may come across as lacking in confidence.

Relevant Answers:

Keep your answers relevant to the question and do not be tempted to ramble. You may have an interesting story to tell or a great strength but if it is not required in the job don't mention it.

Body Language:

Smiling, maintaining eye contact, a relaxed focused posture, restrained gesticulation are all examples of good body language which will work for you in the interview.

Ask Questions:

You will be given an opportunity to ask questions usually at the end however you do not have to wait until then necessarily. As in any conversation there will be appropriate time when you can interject and ask relevant questions. Be aware that questions about salary, working hours, holidays etc should not be asked at this stage.
About the Author
Annette Lewis is an accredited interviewer, job coach and career consultant. She provides free advice for job interview candidates at http://www.blueskyinterviews.co.uk/ and was involved in developing the highly successful online interview skills training system http://www.interviewgold.com/
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