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7 Tips for Interview Success

interviewRemember the 90:90 rule: People make up 90% of their mind in the first 90 seconds, says Maun. That time includes you walking into the room, shaking hands and taking a seat, so watch your body language and remember to smile and make eye contact. You want to come across as likeable, thoughtful and assertive, but not arrogant. A lot of graduates fail to succeed because they feel since they have a degree, they're owed a job.

Dilute your nerves: If you're offered a drink, accept, it makes you seem more relaxed and convivial and ask for water. Taking a sip as you ponder a question will buy your a few seconds? thinking time and will help calm nerves (coffee soon gets cold and bitter so is a less effective cover).

Be succinct: Nerves can make you verbally incontinent. Mr Maun recommends you don't take longer than a minute to answer a question. You'll bore your interrogator and forfeit more questions about your brilliance.

Butter them up: Trawl the company's website beforehand, advises Helen Foster, a senior consultant at the recruitment agency Reed. Skip what the chairman said last week or what the share price is; instead look for industry awards or achievements and bring them into the conversation, she says. Everyone, even interviewers, loves to talk about themselves and their interests. You can draw on the same information to tell them why you want to work for their company.

The critical incident question: This was a technique devised by police to prompt the recollections of witnesses and it's being increasingly adopted by employers. You'll be asked to recount a time when you overcame a challenge, be it persuading someone to accept an idea, making good a mistake or adapting quickly. It's difficult to lie because you have to include detail, but you can rehearse a defining career moment and adapt it to suit the question.

Future placed questions: This is a clever trick to get the interviewer to visualise you in the post. Maun suggests at the end of the meeting you ask what they would see as your priorities in the first two months. People think they have to ask clever questions about the next quarterly review, but that doesn't tie you into the job, he says.

Parting shots: Last impressions are as important as first but often muffed, says Foster. A good exit can compensate for a woolly moment in the middle of the interview. When they ask if you have any questions, tell them why, after researching the industry, you decided you wanted to work for them. If the role in the company feels good don't be afraid to show it.

- Richard Maun, Job Hunting 3.0

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