How to Ace an Interview

February 11, 2003

Your resume has landed you a job interview and now you must make the most of a “face-to-face” meeting to secure the role.Being as prepared as possible is vital.


Visit the prospective employer’s website and browse through the “About Us”, “employment”, “our people” and “media” sections. A large reference library will be able to provide newspaper clippings and an annual report so you can find out what’s really going on. If you are going through a recruitment firm, your consultant will be only too happy (and impressed) to help you do your homework.


This may sound silly but rehearsing with a friend or family member is a great way to sooth pre-interview nerves. It will also help you get your thoughts straight. Your rehearsal partner can tell you if you’re speaking too quickly, if your sentences are too long or your answers hard to follow. Rehearse again and again until you feel your answers are flowing. Oh, and don’t get mad at your rehearsal partner when they point these things out, they’re just trying to help.

Pre-interview check

Find out before the interview, the name and title of each and every person you will be meeting with. Memorise the names. Again, your recruitment consultant will be happy to help. If you are dealing directly with the company, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask its HR department to provide these details.


Take extra care with your appearance. Ensure your clothes are clean and well ironed. Check for stains, stray threads and loose buttons. Avoid visual distractions such as loud ties, chipped nail polish, heavy make up, sheer fabrics and unwashed hair.

Feeling good

On the morning of the interview, go for a walk or spend some time doing stretches. You will breath deeply, which will help you relax, have better posture and therefore look the part of the successful candidate. On the way to the interview, walk tall and smile. Strangers will smile back at you and the receptionist at the interview firm will be nice to you By the time you hit the interview, you’ll feel good.

During the interview

    • Don’t say anything negative about a past employer.


    • Don’t interrupt anyone.


    • Keep your answers relatively short and to the point. If the interviewer wants more information, he or she will ask for it. By the same token, try to avoid answering with just a “yes” or “no”.


    • Maintain good eye contact. If there is more than one person at the interview, talk to both or all of them – no matter how junior or incidental.


    • Prepare something for when you are invited to ask questions.


    • Think carefully before accepting a drink. You might find yourself in a chair without arms and out of reach of a table balancing a coffee, tea or glass of water throughout the interview.


  • Smile – whenever appropriate of course.

Look out for the next CareerOne column which will focus on how to handle “second” job interviews.

Story by Kate Southam, editor of CareerOne. Go to for more career related articles. Job hunting and workplace questions can be directed to CareerOne by emailing:

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