If a job search is akin to engaging in battle; then all good warriors know that success hinges on research, planning, strategy and a little luck. A key component in your arsenal is a solid interview success game plan, and with so much at stake, nothing should be left to chance, whether you opt for professional interview training or not, here are nine key preparatory steps to nailing that interview:

1) Groundwork

Research the company, the industry and the position. Use this knowledge to not only show your genuine interest for the company, but to also pre-empt potential questions and pinpoint specific responsibilities related to the position. Don’t forget to practice for the interview; preparation is a vital component of success.

2) Logistics

Take a little time to choose what to wear, business suits being standard, but if in doubt staying on the right side of formal is preferable. Plan your route and transport; factor in delays, and the weather. Interviews can be stressful enough, with many factors out of your control; however, you can ensure that you arrive in a calm state of mind, and in turn better equipped to deal with anything that is thrown at you.

3) First Impressions 

Try to make a good first impression and build a connection with the interviewer. A firm handshake, a smile, positive demeanor and body language all contribute.

4) Tell Me About Yourself

Open-ended questions are a great opportunity to communicate in one or two minutes your three or four key professional accomplishments, and align them to the position you are interviewing for. You will find that all that groundwork will come in handy.

5) Difficult Questions

Practice responses to potential difficult questions, and if in spite of all your preparation you are thrown a curve ball, remember to stay calm. If the question isn’t clear, ask the interviewer for clarification to make sure you understand correctly, or ask to take a moment to collect your thoughts.

6) Money Talk

The question of salary is one for after an offer of employment is made. In case you can’t avoid the question, you need to be prepared with a realistic range, which is appropriate to the industry, position, your experience, qualifications, geographic location and personal requirement.

7) Ask Questions

Prepare potential questions and choose those most relevant based on your conversation. Once again that groundwork will pay off. It’s a great opportunity to show your passion for the job and if have been able to talk to other employees from the company, weave that in, it’s a good way to demonstrate that you have networked. Be cautious not to ask obvious questions which can be answered by looking at the company’s website though.

8) Next Steps

At the end of the interview, if the interviewer doesn’t tell you about next steps, it’s a good idea to ask. Thank them for their time, reconfirm your interest in the position, ask for a business card and clarify the next stage in the process.

9) Follow Up

Jot down an interview summary; write thank you notes within 24 hours and express your continued interest in the position. If you don’t receive an offer, ask for feedback.

City CV’s 1-2-1 interview coaching service is tailored to your specific target role and sector. Our team of professional CV writers and coaches led by award winning recruitment veteran, Victoria McLean can help you gain that vital edge to achieve your career objectives. Don’t just take our word for it, read some of our success stories and give yourself the tools and support to navigate the complex recruitment market. Call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.com for more information on our interview training and CV writing service.