Congratulations! You have achieved the first step towards your overall objective of being offered a job. You have just heard that you have been invited to present yourself for a formal job interview with a prospective employer. You feel good about this for a short while, then the reality kicks in and you want to be as ready as possible for the event.
If anybody has ever told you that an interview is “just another conversation” then they probably haven't had to undergo one themselves for a very long time. In many aspects, a job interview is much more like a sales call – one where, instead of trying to persuade a customer to purchase a product or use a service, you are selling yourself.
This can be a useful mental preparation starting point: carefully ask yourself why the company or organisation would want to employ you. It isn’t simply about the skills or talents you possess, it’s much more about the specific ones you can use to the benefit of your prospective employer in undertaking the clear role you are being interviewed for.
Still thinking like a salesperson, consider next what “objections” the person interviewing you might raise. These are the reasons, real or simply in their mind, that might make them reluctant to hire you – it could be a lack of certain experience, or being seen as over-qualified. It might be concerning how you would fit into a different work environment to the one you have been used to in the past, or in a first job after completing your studies.
For each of these possible worries, find either the counter points to outweigh such feelings in your interviewer(s), or the other skills and talents you can bring that are more valuable than this one area of a little perceived or genuine weakness.
Of course, to this mental preparation you should add an in-depth investigation of your potential employer, how they see themselves, and what they are looking for. This information helps you deal with the points we have covered here.
The key, as you work to prepare for an interview, is to think yourself into a position where you know what you can offer and how best you can express this when given the chance.