You’ve just landed a job interview for a position you really want. Congratulations. Now, you know you only get one chance to impress, but how exactly do you do that? Given all of the conflicting advice out there it’s no wonder that job seekers are confused about how to best prepare for and perform in an interview.

One common piece of advice is to “take charge” of the interview.

  1. Prepare – You can take charge in an interview by being prepared. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it’s organised, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer.
  2. Strategy – Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should “show the connection between what you have achieved and the job spec.
  3. Potential – Focus on your potential and how the company will stand to benefit.
  4. First 30 seconds – First impressions matter. People form opinions about your personality and intelligence in the first 30 seconds of the interview – how you speak – how you enter the room, and how comfortable you look are really important. People who perform best in interviews start off by speaking clearly but slowly.
  5. Being flexible – Even with all of the right preparation, you can never predict exactly how the interview will go. You need the radar working in the room. A good candidate knows how to tweak the performance to play to different situations. Ask yourself: Do I need to supply better answers? Do I need to work on my tone? Do I need to just shut up? Adapt to the circumstances.


Last week I was on a panel of speakers. The majority of speakers had spoken on the topic except me. A lawyer in the audience remarked that he found it strange that the topic related to persons with disabilities yet the one person with the disability hadn’t spoken so far. At that point I still didn’t interject. I waited for direction from the chairperson. I gave my comments to the subject matter and then continued by inviting the other panel members to join in.

At the end of the session a lawyer from the audience made a comment that it was his experience that some people with disabilities abuse the quota rule where you have to hire a certain number of persons with disabilities. He said once they got the job they didn’t work hard. At this point my passion came through and I decided to take charge and let my ‘voice’ be heard. I told the panel that I didn’t want a session ending on a question of whether persons with disabilities ‘abuse’ the job quota rule. I accepted that while some may abuse the rule, it was unfortunate to end the session on that question. The room was suddenly very quite, you could hear a pin drop. I had taken charge. The chairperson said that he would end on the note of what we can do for the future to help create greater understanding. We can all use our voices to highlight our passions.

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