We all know that first impressions count. Believe it, they really do. However, they are not the “be all and end all” as the interview process has many aspects. It is, however, highly advisable to start off on the right foot from the start.
Firstly, re-acquaint yourself with the advertisement to which you responded. Make sure you have a clear and concise understanding of what interests you in the position, why you want to pursue the opportunity.

Next, ensure you have all relevant information (eg documentation, qualifications, work samples if appropriate) and have these at hand and ready to go.
Carry out some research of the company. Various published material may be available to you. The internet is an excellent tool, as are personal contacts. The point you need to make is that you have taken the time to learn about your potential employer. He/she needs to know you are very interested in what they have to offer!

Think about what you would expect to be involved with the position. Overall duties, skills, responsibilities etc. Then think about what you have done in your work experience to date and what skills and experience you would expect are required for the position. You may well be asked to provide some practical examples of past behaviour, which help demonstrate your competencies. You should be ready and able to relate examples of experiences you have had, the actions you have taken and the results of those actions. Also, be prepared to share experiences that weren’t perhaps entirely successful but describe what you did to rectify a situation or the lesson you learnt for future success. It is important that you come across to your potential employer as competent and pro-active. In other words, someone who is willing to learn from past mistakes.

This might sound basic, but you would be surprised at how many people fall down through inadequate preparation. Be sure you have the interview time firmly locked in your head and noted on your calendar or diary. Plan how are you getting there, give yourself time to find suitable parking for an hour or more, and decide what clothing will be suitable for the interview. Remember to dress on the conservative side and ensure that your choice is suitable to the culture of the company and the environment in which the interview is held. We have all heard the saying “dress for the occasion.” This is the time to take a little extra care if you want that first impression to really count.And one final point. Don’t ever go into an interview with the smell of tobacco or alcohol on your breath! Even if you don’t smoke or have not had a drink in six months, a quick squirt with a commercially available breath freshener is a good idea.

And last but certainly not least, understand your remuneration targets realistically. Your achievable goals. Where you are flexible and where you are not, and of course your longer-term objective. Don’t go into the interview expecting to discuss this in detail but be prepared to give a clear and realistic expectation if it is raised.