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Based on an article first published in the Forces Resettlement Magazine

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The Interview

It is important to ensure at your forthcoming interview that you represent yourself in the best light. The following are some helpful hints.

Learn all you can about the company and their requirements from your SSR consultant. Additional information can be gathered through press, your library and computer databases. Having received our telephone call confirming your interview make sure you know the following: i) who you will be meeting, ii) details of the job role on offer, iii) what attracted our client to you (special skills, location, experience etc). Where possible you will be given a copy of the company's product information, brochures, annual reports and job description held by SSR.

If the meeting point is in an area you are unfamiliar with, take a test run so you can plan your journey time on the day. Do not arrive too early, and certainly do not arrive late (be sure you have a copy of your CV and a pen and note pad with you).

Talk with our consultants to establish the accepted dress code. If necessary, you could observe this by visiting the office to collect a brochure or report. This may help give you an insight into the company culture.

It is important that you can quickly establish rapport with your interviewer. Once you are through the door, look for signs of the type of person interviewing you. Family photographs or sporting trophies indicate a warm, chatty interviewer. This person may appear to dwell on peripheral issues and you will need to carefully guide the discussion back to the purpose of the meeting. An interviewer with statistical data on wall charts means they will probably want detailed answers - how you are going to research and target the product or service? An office that is 'buzzing' means your interviewer will be results orientated - so give them the bottom line of what you can contribute, how much you can save, or how much you can make for them.

It has been estimated that 70% of all hiring decisions are based on personal chemistry, therefore learning to speak the interviewer's language is vital. Watch out for, and mirror, their pace, volume and style.

Be courteous to everyone from the moment you walk through the front door, treat everyone you meet as if they have the power to hire you.

As you walk from reception to the interviewer's office, begin with some light chat to help yourself relax. Talk about their offices, pass a favourable comment on the facilities, décor or a local place of interest. Whatever you discuss, be upbeat and confident from the outset.

When you sit be comfortable, but assume a forward learning posture. This conveys that you are keen - do not, however, appear to be pushing the interviewer into a corner. Ask if you can take brief notes, and jot down any items you may want to refer to later. Even if your interviewer smokes, it is generally best not to smoke. Many companies now have no smoking policies, so be prepared to have any smoking habits curtailed or restricted during working hours. Be aware of any fidgeting tendencies you have and find something else to do with your hands - folded in your lap is fairly safe.

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