JOB interviews help employers ascertain a job seeker’s suitability for a role. As a job seeker, your objective is to do well enough at an interview to be offered the job.

Performance is key, and it makes a huge difference in how your interviewers perceive you in comparison with other applicants.

If you perform really well, there is a high chance of you beating your competitors to the job, even if they are better qualified than you.

There is no specific number of interviews which employers conduct before making their final choice, but as you progress up the ranks in seniority, the hiring cycle becomes longer and more people have a say in whether you get the job or not.

Here are key points aimed at building your confidence level as you prepare for your job interview:

1. Define your USP

Like a top salesman, you must know what your unique selling proposition (USP) is.

Prepare a list of the skills, experience and achievements you have gained over the years that will help to differentiate you from other job seekers. Devise a core marketing pitch that you can use during the job interview.

Go through a mental rehearsal of what questions the interviewers might ask you on various aspects of your work experience, and how you will tackle each one of them.

The purpose of this exercise is to make you feel comfortable selling yourself as their best candidate.

With practice, you will come across as confident rather than unsure or awkward when you promote your strengths and capabilities.

2. Do your research

Before you even step into the interview room, you need to research three areas to aptly equip yourself with the knowledge to ask intelligent questions.

The three areas are: the job role, the company and the interviewer.

Research on the job role is absolutely necessary even if you are not preparing yourself for an interview. By understanding thoroughly what the job description is, you will have a better idea of what the role entails.

Research on the company can be obtained from the company’s website or through word of mouth. The company’s website offers a myriad of information relating to the company’s mission or vision, business offerings, uniqueness, key strategies, clients, competitors, financial figures and so on.

Doing some research on the interviewer is extremely useful but very often neglected. Make sure you find out the full name and job title of your interviewer from your executive recruiter or person arranging the job interview for you.

If possible, try to find out more about the person, such as his gender, nationality, age and personality traits. This will give you some familiarity with the person you are meeting and help to put you at ease.

3. Look like a winner

The final step of your preparation involves dressing appropriately for the interview and being punctual and mentally prepared to perform.

Wear smart business attire and make sure your hair is neat and clean. If you look good, you are likely to feel good about yourself, and the interviewer will notice your confidence.

Be sure to arrive at the interview venue punctually. Take note of any special traffic conditions that day that could disrupt your travel plans, and be sure to carry the telephone number of the interviewer with you, in case you need to contact him urgently to reschedule the meeting.

4. Finish in style

Creating a positive first impression is important in every successful job interview, but so is the final impression that you leave your interviewer with.

As the interview comes to an end, you should thank the interviewer for his time and reaffirm your interest in the role and the opportunity to work with him and the company.

Let the interviewer know that you will wait for news of the outcome and that you are ready to cooperate and furnish him with any other information he may need.

Just as you started with a handshake and good eye contact, end your interview in a similar manner.

Your handshake should be firm and your eye contact should convey sincerity and interest.

Remember to ask politely for a business card if you did not receive one at the beginning of the meeting. You will need it later to send a follow-up e-mail message or thank-you note.

Next steps

Send your follow-up note a day after the interview. Start your e-mail message or letter by thanking the interviewer for his time and interest in you.

It is always good practice to be polite in the business world, as you never know when your paths might cross again.

You should reaffirm your interest in the role and state briefly why you would make a strong candidate for it.

You can also ask for feedback from the interviewer on how you performed during the meeting in order to further improve yourself.

End by providing your contact details to make it easy for someone within the company to call you for further discussions or to clarify any information.