Interview Technique

It is the most important half-hour of your life. Now is not the time to discover how good you are at winging it. So what can you do to prepare for the dreaded job interview?

There are some twisted people in this world who claim to enjoy interviews. But you are probably not one of them. For most of us, interviews are a necessary evil and a source of stress, worry and unhappiness.

There are no 'right' answers in an interview (although there are quite definitely some wrong ones) and no formula which will magically get you on the short list. But there are ways to ensure you are well-prepared for the task.

It is normally the knowledge-based questions – for example 'What are your views on the legal market in Vietnam?' – that people fear. But these are rarely as bad as people expect – as long as you have done your homework. Besides no one expects a devastatingly compelling analysis. What is expected though, is a reasonable level of general business knowledge and the ability to string an intelligent argument together.

But do not obsess on information gathering without thinking about the more personal questions, too. People always moan about these but you have to take them seriously. They are carefully structured to give the firm a view of your essential qualities.

To get maximum points you should not just answer the questions, but address the reasons why the firm is asking them (see box, above).

You should use examples from your own life. Not only will it be more convincing, it will also give you an element of control over the interview – after all, you will know the subject better than the interviewers do. And, if you talk the interviewer through your experiences you can highlight qualities you do not feel they have picked up on.