Would you buy your next car without doing some background checks on what make and model would suit you most or the dealerships you were planning to visit?

If your answer to this little teaser is no, then may I interest you in a lovely 1998 Rover Austin Maestro that has been sitting on my driveway for the last year.  It's yours for a steal but I will be happy to negotiate on price, which will of course reflect the 200k kilometers on the clock and a little rust under the sills.  Hey, why not forgo the unpleasantness of doing your homework, just take me at face or text value and top my paypal account up with a couple of month's salary payments.  I'll get the car shipped to you at some point in the near future. Honest.  It will be win-win all the way.

The absurdity of this response clearly demonstrates that when undertaking a major life event, like buying a car, a little knowledge is a dangerous and costly thing.   This reminder to ensure that one should be fully briefed before getting involved in any type of negotiation also applies to one's attitude to preparing for a job interview.

Forewarned is Fundamental

Getting an interview for a job is never an easy journey and at this last crucial stage, you will be in Business People At Job InterviewCredit: href='dreamstime_13211012>Nyulgrave danger of dropping the ball if you have not undertaken a sufficient amount of pre-interview preparation.  Prior to walking into the interview room you should be equipped with enough information and practice in order to knock the socks of your next potential employer.  The web has a multitude of tips and techniques available to help with this endeavour, which now includes these 3 areas that I focus on to help me when I want to successfully navigate these waters.

Know Thy Company History

This one is a no-brainer and you should have no excuse for not having at least the minimum of information about company that you are intending to work for.  Stop by any social media outlet, relevant trade or professional journals or the official company website and you will pick up a handful of goodies with which to impress your interviewer. 

It is important to bear in mind that any interviewer worth their weight in salt will expect you to have read up on the company's financials, locations and size.   So treat having at least a basic knowledge of the company as the price of admission.  To wow the interview panel, you really need to find a nugget of that gives you a different angle and makes you stand out from the rest of the eager beavers.

Clearly you should not discuss any sensitive issues that you may have gleaned, such as any recent tabloid pictures of the Chief Exec falling out of a nightclub at 3:00am in the morning with a couple of dubious escorts.  I have found that more suitable topics of discussion include the strength of the company's competitors, recent sales or advertising campaigns or sponsorship deals.  At one interview I attended, the company were the sponsors of a well known Premiership Football team. This gave me the opportunity to talk off-topic and share some common ground with the interviewers, as they were both keen soccer fans.

Ask Job Related Questions

The part of the job interview where the floor is turned over to you provides an excellent opportunity for you to shine.  If you want to spark some interest in your future boss then you need to ask these questions as if you were already doing the job. 

I remember in one successful interview where I became engaged in a discussion on how get two disparate accounting systems to talk to each other effectively.  While the spotlight was on me, I made sure that I did not come across as just merely feigning a passing interest.  The deal clincher for me getting the job was getting involved in the problem at hand and actively demonstrating a desire to resolve it by putting forward the methods I would use to do so.

I would explain what the problem and proposed solutions were, but I want those of you from a non-finance background to stay awake and keep reading.

Watch Your Tone of Voice

I have a tendency to speak quietly, so this is an area that I would be very conscious of when preparing for a job interview.  In order to raise the volume in my voice I will spend quality time making sure that I get a decent amount of public speaking practice under my belt. This does not mean that I will end up waltzing into the interview room with a megaphone and start yelling like JayZee or the local town crier.  By doing something as simple as answering some sample interview questions out loud, I will have made sure that my mouth knows how to behave itself, by speaking audibly and of course by not saying anything even remotely stupid.

When looking to get a judgment on how well your voice comes across in a job interview, it's a good idea to employ the help of someone you know, be it a family member, a friend or if all else fails, the cat.  Shouting your employment credentials out to random people in the street is not a wise move, as you may find yourself ending up in a different type of interview room to the one you intended.

Another option is to practice in front of a mirror or video yourself.  This may be out of the comfort zone stuff for some people and I admit that these are not favorite methods of mine.  As I write this I can feel my toes curling, but practicing your job interview technique in front of a mirror or a video camera provides you with instant feedback on your vocal delivery.  With a video recording, you can play your interview back and make notes on where you need to improve.

One Last Word

Apart from being ill-equipped to handle any awkward questions, being unprepared at a job interview shows not only a lack of respect for your potential new employer but also in yourself.  When you invest in the time and effort to make sure you are prepared for an interview, you are effectively making an investment in your future.

Good Luck