Interviews are important in business, for example as part of selection and appraisal, for purposes of consultation and counselling, and in market research. They provide opportunities to inform, question, discuss, clarify and decide. For the interviewer, who must decide on the purpose of the meeting (for example, why the interview is necessary, what is to be discussed, what background information is needed, who should be involved and what are the possible outcomes), preparation is essential. For the interviewee, preparation is desirable and for important discussions both foreknowledge of the purpose of the interview and time for adequate preparation are essential - except in an emergency.
However, the following advice is concerned only with interviews for a place on a course of study or for employment, for which there is always time for adequate preparation. Before such an interview, read the further details sent with the application form (see page 56) and find out as much as you can about the course or the employer from other sources (see Chapter 10). This is important: it could influence the success of the interview - and so the rest of your life. The more you know about the post advertised, the employer, and the selection procedures used, the better you will be able to ask sensible questions and talk about the work that will be expected of you.
You are most likely to be interviewed by middle-aged people who, after years of experience, have reached positions of responsibility. Your appearance and attitude will be as important as what you say. Your dress and language should be appropriate to the occasion; and you must not arrive late.
Before a formal interview, if you are given a guided tour of the premises or shown equipment, you may be asked questions and have the opportunity to ask questions and display your interest - and so to create a favourable first impression. Learn as much as you can from your conversations and observations. Bear in mind that the person taking you round may be present