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First interviews: sell yourself, not the rhetoric

The word ‘interview’ can strike terror into the most confident of people

The thought of answering difficult questions and having to impress can seem a little overwhelming and it can be very easy to fall back on stock answers in these stressful situations; however, an interviewer does not want to hear the same rhetoric. They want to get to know you as an individual and what skills and talents you can bring to the role and to the company.

One of the most important ways in which to prepare for an interview is to do your research, not only on the company but also on the interviewer. Where possible, find out what the interviewer likes and what they are looking for. This can help you to think about your experience and how it fits the role, the person specification and the interviewer’s preferences.

Next, take a look at how you are dressed. It is so important to make a good initial impression and what you are wearing can speak volumes about your personality. Being well presented shows a level of professionalism and confidence, which needs to be backed up with solid skills and experience.

Think about potential questions that could be asked and what examples you can give. You might find this does not come easily and it can be a good idea to take time to practice with a friend to build your confidence.

Not everyone has to go through the interview process for their first job, of course. Gemma Metheringham, chief creative officer at Karen Millen, managed to land her first job at the design studio in Marks & Spencer by creating a great impression while she was there on work experience.

This teaches us how important it is to grab every opportunity that is presented to us when we are looking at our dream company. An underpaid work experience job for a short time might not seem attractive at the start; however, you never know where it will lead.

Finally, really listen to what the interviewer is telling you. It is important to build rapport and you can only do this by listening to what they are saying and engaging in the conversation. In essence, people buy people, and you are your best asset. By preparing well and being yourself, you are giving yourself the best chance of landing your dream job.

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