While some people are naturally predisposed to doing well in interviews for new jobs, others will need to develop and hone their interview skills in order to make a good impression.  Getting comfortable talking about themselves and their achievements can be the key to building valuable interview skills and making good impressions.

Interview skills can come down to just a few aspects: practice and preparation.  By preparing answers to common questions beforehand and practicing speaking answers aloud, applicants will gain confidence when approaching the actual interview. For some job openings, industry-specific interview advice is more appropriate.

Prepare in advance to develop interview skills 
Applicants should prepare in advance for their interview in order to confidently answer any questions and participate in an engaging dialogue with the interviewer.  The first steps to take when preparing for the interview are to ask what about the job attracts them job and how they could fit into the role.  These directly relate to questions commonly asked by interviewers.

Next, applicants should consider their work experience and skills, and how they relate to the job on offer.  By thinking this through before the interview, applicants may be able to identify how some of their seemingly unrelated skills may help in the role.  Another area for research will be the history of the company and how applicants would fit into its heritage and business culture.

Know your own CV
To have reached the stage of the job interview in the first place, it is highly likely that applicants have submitted some form of curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé for consideration.  As the interview approaches, the CV can form one of the foundations of interview preparation.  Using the structure of the CV, including education, career history, hobbies and interests, and personal information, is a good way to review personal successes and strengths.  These positive areas are the ones to be highlighted most strongly in the interview, so it is good to prepare thoroughly in presenting achievements and personal abilities.  Remember, too, that many positive aspects can be drawn from life away from the workplace, so successes with interest groups and local societies could also form the basis for a convincing argument about personal organisational or management abilities, for example.

Know about the job description
The second foundation in preparation is the job description provided by the company regarding the job vacancy.  This is valuable information, because it can guide an applicant as to the most relevant personal qualities and personal achievements to highlight during the interview.  The successful applicants are likely to be the one who demonstrates that their strengths and interests match those required by the job description most closely, and most convincingly.  Preparation for the interview should therefore include a careful review of how the skills listed in the job description can be demonstrated using the personal history outlined on the CV.  If, for example, an interviewer asks about the management skills that a job description requires, then it is useful to have decided in advance how evidence of management skills can be presented on the basis of employment history or leadership in social groups.

Know about the company profile
A third foundation of research and interview preparation is information on the company itself.  In addition to the job description, there can be valuable information on a company website, for example, that describes overall organisational objectives and philosophies.  Successful applicants will very likely be one who can demonstrate not only knowledge of the company’s goals and activities, but also that their skills when applied to the job at hand will benefit the company’s stated objectives more widely.  In short, it is necessary to be able to present what one is good at, how this is good for the job vacancy under discussion, and how these qualities can be of use to the recruiting company within a wider perspective.  This sort of presentation requires research and preparation.

Put practicalities into place
Once the main foundations of the interview preparation are in place, it is vital to check and double-check the practicalities of the interview itself.  It is important to be sure when the interview will be held and where the interview will be held.  It is important to know the directions to the location in order to arrive on time.  If the interview is early in the morning and to be held away from the applicant’s home town, it may be necessary to book overnight accommodation, so that the applicant can be fresh and punctual for the interview.  It is also necessary to know if and how to claim compensation for interview costs, such as travel and accommodation.  All these details should be provided with the invitation to interview.  However, a recruitment company such as Randstad can also be a valuable point of contact in clarifying how to approach these issues.

Practice your interview to hone your skills 
The next step of preparation before heading off to the interview should be doing a 'dry run' of the interview experience with a recruitment consultant.  By acclimatising themselves to answering questions about themselves and their work, applicants are likely to come across much more naturally and effectively in the interview.  Applicants should make sure that they understand the feedback provided by the recruitment consultant, and then work on integrating it into their interview technique.

Manage your appearance
First impressions definitely count, and personal appearance is one of the key factors in creating a favourable impression when an applicant first arrives at the interview.  The background research on the recruiting company should contain clues as to the standard style favoured by the company.  However, an interview should usually be conducted in formal attire, unless stated differently in the invitation.  Make sure that clothes are smart but comfortable, as the distraction of, say, badly fitting shoes could be an unnecessary irritant during the interview.  Pay attention to hair length and hair style, as well as dress.  Furthermore, when arriving at the interview location, if an applicant is dressed for rain, for example, make sure to find a place to leave an outdoor raincoat before proceeding to the interview room.  Make sure to arrive at the job interview early.  Applicants should strive to present themselves as well groomed, meaning dressing appropriately for the desired position.

Bring necessary materials
In addition to dressing well, it is also important to check that any necessary paperwork or other materials are brought to the interview.  Do not take informal interview notes, as the interview questions should be answered without reference to any preparation material.  However, if the interview invitation contained a request to bring any materials in particular, such as a brief presentation, then this should be prepared in advance and brought on the day.  Some interviews may also require that the applicant present some form of identification, such as a passport or driver’s licence.  If this is requested, make sure that such documents are easily at hand – in a jacket pocket, for example.

Manage your behaviour
Another important factor in making a good impression is that personal behaviour should be appropriate to the interview setting.  Politeness is necessary at all times, and physically maintaining a calm demeanour can even help an applicant stay emotionally unruffled as the interview progresses.  Even if a difficult question arises, it is possible to smile and reply with a ‘filler.’  For example, comment on how it is a good question, while gathering one’s thoughts for the actual answer.  It is important not to show panic or stress.  A recruitment consultant can help with techniques that will help applicants present themselves in a positive manner during the interview.  Finally, as well as making a good first impression, it is also important to make a good final impression.  When the interview is over, check with the interviewers that they have no further questions, offer to provide them with any further information that they need, and remember to shake hands and maintain a positive posture and appearance for the full duration of time spent at the interview location.