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Once you have obtained an interview appointment, it is important for you to plan for the interview. An interview is a two-way interaction, so don't leave it up to the company representative to cover all the relevant points. Asking intelligent questions goes a long way towards creating the right impression.

The most obvious points, but ones that applicants so often fail on, are that you should be early, be smartly dressed, and be in a lively frame of mind. It's normal to be a little nervous in an interview situation. A good interviewer will have the skills to reduce your anxiety at the start. Remember that you are also there to find out if the job and the company will satisfy you.
 
Research has shown that the most common mistakes made by interviewees are: Before the interview, think about the job you are applying for:
  • Talking too much, and especially interrupting.
  • Lack of knowledge about the company or position.
  • Appearing overly confident.
  • Inquiring about compensation too early in the process.
  • Unkempt appearance.
  • Failing to have some relevant questions to ask of the interviewer.
  • Not displaying a positive attitude.
  • Arriving late.
  • Exaggerating or lying about your job history or skills.
  • Failing to listen carefully to the interviewer and answering questions that were never asked.
  • Making negative comments about previous employers or supervisors.
  • Rambling to cover nervousness or lack of knowledge.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum.
  • What skills are needed?
  • Where have you performed these skills in the past?
  • Are you ready to "hit the ground running", or will you need some guidance to become proficient in these skills?
  • What would you bring to this company that is of benefit to them?
  • What progression have you displayed in your career so far?
  • In previous jobs, what have you done to make money, or save money and time for your company?
  • Do you know what type of company you are seeking work with? Do some research first, so that you can have an informed discussion during the interview.
  • Think through the points that you would like to make and the questions you need to ask.
  • Speak to your Making Careers advisor beforehand if you are unsure about anything.

During the interview, use the language of the industry. If you don't know the jargon, take a class to update your knowledge. If you are rusty, review the acronyms and the terminology. Try to get up to date on the industry through the Internet, the library or talking to people who have knowledge.

The person who interviews you will ask you if you have any questions. This open ended approach is an excellent way for the interviewer to observe your inter-personal relationship skills. It is very acceptable for you to pull out your list of questions and/or points (in fact, it shows you have thought about and prepared for the interview). Try not to leave an interview having only asked about salary and benefits. It gives the impression that you don't care about the company or the job, and it may reduce your chances of success.

So, good luck, and don't forget, let your Making Careers advisor know the outcome of the interview before the prospective employer does. Call immediately after the interview. Your advisor can represent you much better if you let him or her know your feelings and intentions before they speak to the employer.