Failing to prepare is…well, not sensible.

Preparation for an interview can set you aside from your competition…

One of the best ways to reduce interview nerves is by thoroughly preparing for your interview. But what should you prepare?

First things first – do you know where the interview is taking place? Do you know precisely when it’s taking place? Do you know how to get there? Do you know how to get there 10 minutes early? If you’re late, you’ll be even more nervous and will look ill-prepared.

Do you know who’s interviewing you – their name, their role, whether or not you’ll be working with them? Ask your agency for as much information as possible.

Do you have a copy of the job description? If possible you need to know this like the back of your hand – read it and work out what the key areas are that they’re looking for. Try to think of examples from your experience that illustrate how you can meet these requirements. Rehearse talking the interviewer through these. Are there key words within the description that you can bring out, or mention. Starting an answer to a question with “I noticed in the job description that…” shows that you have spent time preparing. Do not be afraid to take a copy of the job description with you and feel free to write notes on it.

Use your resources to research the company – have they appeared in the news lately (most newspapers have an archive search facility, for example How long have they been in business? Who are their major competitors? What are their strengths/weaknesses? Think of ways you can bring this knowledge in to the interview.

Think about the questions that they are likely to ask about your experience and rehearse how you would answer them – think of yourself as an object, how can you best sell this object?

Prepare some questions using your knowledge of the company. It may well be worth writing these down and referring to them in the interview – it ensures you won’t forget them and again shows that you are prepared.

Dress appropriately – the likelihood is that for a scientific job you should look smart, unless your agency tells you otherwise.

Think of a small-talk subject to start the interview off – you’ll probably be asked about your journey, so do you know anything about the area around the office, or have you been near here before? Remember to answer these initial questions in a friendly way, but don’t babble.

You are “selling” yourself – think about what sets you apart from your competition. Why should they employ you?

Remember that you have made it through to interview – lots of people haven’t and you should feel good about this. Try to use this to remain positive in the interview – be enthusiastic and shake hands firmly, but not too firmly, when you walk in. Smile…and try to enjoy it!