If you are going to be interviewing for a job or a position that you really want, here are 10 things you can do to walk in prepared to win.

Know Your Audience

Remember when you were a kid and were trying to get the keys to the family car? You observed each of your parents, deciding which one to ask and when. You were studying your audience to get your desired results.

Knowing your audience at an interview will bring you a similar outcome.

Before your interview, research the company website to build a thorough understanding of who they are, what they do and why they do it.

Make sure you know the basics: How does the company make money? Who is in their senior management? What does the company aim to accomplish in the near future?

Understand their vision. Go online and read recent news articles, blogs and press releases about the company.

Understand the Characteristics of the Position That You’re Interviewing For

Intimately acquaint yourself with the job you are applying for. Spend some time researching what others say about having a similar position in that industry.

Imagine how you’ll approach the position for the first 90 days of employment. Be prepared to speak to that. When you interview, your responses should reveal your significant knowledge about the position and how you’ll succeed in it.

Understand what skills, experience and attitude must accompany this position to achieve success. Define what first year’s success metrics mean to you.

Doing so will give you a huge advantage during the interview, along with the ability to somewhat steer the session toward your strengths through well-thought-out responses.

Make a Case for Why You Would Be the Ideal Fit for the Position

It is up to you to persuade the hiring manager that you – and only you – are the right candidate to fill the position. This requires you to know exactly what makes you the perfect fit, so you can be able to thoroughly demonstrate this to the interviewer.

Explain what makes you uniquely qualified and what skills you possess that are directly applicable to succeeding in the job. It is up to you to distinguish yourself with convincing answers loaded with excitement and passion about getting hired to do so.

Identify Your Hook

Most hiring managers interview many candidates. You will stand above all others by being the candidate who wins the attention with a unique hook.

The best hook is a strong story that’s work experience-related. When you can wow, you’ll rise to the top of the list. Fail to do so, and you may get lost in the piles, despite being the worthiest candidate.

Try to Relax and Stay Calm

What’s the old Hollywood expression? “Never let ‘em see you sweat.”

Interviewers will know if you’re too nervous. This will cause them to wonder if you can remain calm under pressure once on the job. Talking too much, fidgeting, showing fear or anxiety makes you appear weak compared to a relaxed smile and genuine confidence.

Try using some breathing exercises prior to starting the interview. Remind yourself that the interview isn’t life and death. Keep your perspective and you’ll keep your cool.

Share Honestly

Good interviewers have a way of uncovering who you really are. Remember, an experienced interviewer will have researched you just as you did them and the company you’re interviewing for.

Chances are, they will know as much about you, your experience and skill set as you do about them. Regardless, it’s essential to approach your interview with honesty.

Don’t focus on what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Instead, focus on giving an honest and passionate breakdown of what you have to offer. Never embellish or outright lie. In today’s media centric market, you will be revealed and fired immediately.

There are numerous stories about senior executives that fabricated a college degree to get hired, only to be discovered and shamed out the door later.

Have a Positive Attitude

No doubt that you’ve been through a lot lately. However, you must rally to bring a positive attitude into any interview.

It’s tough to be positive given your immediate need for employment or when explaining why you were fired from your previous job. However, that’s exactly what employers want to see in you.

Show them that you can maintain a positive attitude about a challenging environment, and they’ll see the resilient and flexible individual they’re looking for. Showing them that you’re down but not out, fighting hard and working to win is someone every manager wants on their team.

Be Ready with Your Follow-Up Questions

Prepare a list of follow-up interview questions and outline key points you will touch upon if asked any of them. For example, if you say your biggest strength is time-management, you need to be ready for the interviewer to ask something like, “What does this trait look like in action?”

This preparation will make your responses more pointed, avoid awkward silences and uncertainty, and it will build your confidence prior to the interview.

Rehearse, Practice, Rehearse

Preparing unique and position-specific responses will give you the competitive edge over everyone else. Know certain points of reference. Preparation will reduce anxiety, which in turn will boost your confidence in succeeding in the interview.

Work Your Plan

Interviewing is usually difficult and stressful, there’s no doubt about that. It’s hard to show who you really are and what you’re capable of during a quick sit-down chat.

The strategies above will help you to eliminate nervousness and anything unexpected that might derail an otherwise great interview. They should provide you with a framework for a game plan that you can follow. Using it, you’ll remain poised, in control, purposeful and sincere.

Without a plan, you’ll go off point, talk too much, not hear or see cues to guide you, and ultimately, leave feeling like you could have done better. You’ll get one shot at the sitting. Make it count.

Have you planned to take part in an interview for a position or job in your 60s? What interview techniques have you used in the past that worked for you? What do you think is the secret for a successful interview? Please share your experiences and insights below.

Jeff HenningJeff Henning is a business leader and educator in Southern California. He is the father of 10 daughters. His expertise is in creating meaningful change within a business to drive results focused upon people, profits and planet. Jeff is the founder of Square Peg, an organization that recognizes the tremendous challenge Baby Boomers face while attempting to reinvent themselves in the new career landscape.

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