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Fail to prepare – prepare to fail. The most common reason for failure at interview is lack of preparation. Read on and find some cool advice. You have already become expert at finding information so now put that to good use.

70% of candidates do not prepare sufficiently. This is good news for the well-informed as an hour spent wisely in preparation can immediately place you in the top thirty percent of interviewees.

Research the Company

The first question asked in most interviews is, “What do you know about us?” Visit the company Web Site, get a copy of their brochure, visit the library or even phone the company itself. It is vital that you can answer this question with confidence.

Prepare a short speech listing five or six major points about the company. Rehearse it and make sure you end confidently without trailing off. A short, well prepared and concise speech will make you sound more informed than someone who cites loads of information but peters out at the end.

Understand the Job Specification

It is vital that you obtain a copy of the job specification before the interview. If one is not available, most interviewers will be impressed if you telephone to gain an insight into the role to enable you to prepare.

Go through the job spec in depth, making notes on where you have undertaken identical or similar tasks. This will enable you to mentally prepare before the interview. As with the company information, prepare a short speech to summarise the job spec, in case you are asked.

Interview Attire

Always wear business dress for an interview regardless of whether the company has a relaxed attitude to dress.

Business dress indicates that you are taking the role seriously. Subconsciously, smart clothes and good personal grooming indicate success, self-respect and confidence. As a general rule, employers like to hire successful people.


A dark, conservative business suit or, if you don’t have a suit, smart, dark trousers or skirt. Socks should be as dark as or darker than trousers. Shoes should ideally be black. Never have bare legs with a skirt or dress. A well ironed, clean shirt or blouse is essential.

Comedy socks and ties are to be avoided as they can give the impression of flippancy.

General Grooming

Interviewers often focus on extremities such as hands and feet – Make sure your finger nails are clipped and clean and your shoes are well-polished. Hair should, of course, be clean and well groomed.

If you usually wear a lot of jewellery, limit this to one set of conservative earrings and no more than two finger rings. Prejudice may still be encountered with men wearing accessories. 

When to Arrive: Always arrive on time, ideally five to ten minutes early. Never arrive earlier than this; it can make you seem as unorganised as if you were late.


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