Being successful without even being there

It stands to reason that you can only impact the success of your interview when you are present in it. However, there are a number of things you can do before the interview to improve your performance, and get you through to the next round.

Being on time

Being late is never acceptable, and excuses such as "too much traffic" or "no parking" only makes you look incompetent. Plan your route using an application like Google Maps the day before you leave, ensuring you give yourself an extra 20 minutes for problems like traffic or a flat tyre.


No to ciggies

If you are a smoker, the temptation to have a quick ciggie to take the edge off prior to the interview is almost too much to bear. However, despite three mints and a spray of aftershave, interviewers can smell the lingering smoke miles away. Therefore, never have a cigarette before an interview, or even in the car on the way there.


It always amazes me how bad some people can be at the art of interviewing. Nerves aside, most people would significantly increase their chances of getting through to the next round by some simple practice a few days before.

The chances you are going to get standard questions like "why do you want to work here" and "what are your main strengths and / or weaknesses" are very high.

Therefore, take some time to consider your answers, then spend some time practising these with a friend or family member. You will be genuinely surprised at how much this will help you, and give you further confidence as the interview progresses.

Research the organisation

Remember to do some basic research about the organisation prior to going in. Knowing in some detail about the history of the business, what sectors and markets they operate in and main products and services they offer, may well be the difference between being gainfully employed, or not.


Be nice ...

When you arrive at the business, always be very nice to the receptionist. Many people have killed their chances of being employed early on, by blowing off the smiling face at the front, only to find out later on that this person is the owner's son or daughter. For large customer services recruitment drives, I have also heard of HR people being put on reception to get an initial sense of individual candidates, assessing them when they feel they are "not yet" in the interview.

Use your time effectively

Sitting in reception we usually grab whatever magazine is sitting on the table, and read randomly through it. However, this is an ideal time to swot up on your potential interview answers or do more research on the company via your phone.

Use this time wisely to capitalise on your previous preparation, and you will massively increase your chances for a second interview.

Contact Tom for a free LinkedIn or CV review, or to be your personal career coach. Visit or to find out more.