Being asked to an interview is always great, but for most job-seekers, the news often involves dreaded nerve-wracking experiences. What’s the difference between a good and a bad interview? Without some serious preparation, even the most experienced and qualified applicants end up losing the opportunity because of stumbling in the interview. Following some common but essential interview tips may not guarantee you work, but may go a long way in assisting you past the interview stage of the hiring process. These tips include:

1. Research the company: Having prior knowledge of the company shows that you are enthusiastic about the role you’re applying for. Check out the company’s website and note ongoing projects and developments. If you know someone who previously worked in the company, schedule a meeting to gather first-hand information about the organization. This will give you an idea on what questions to ask and expect from the interviewer. Use the information to write a tailor-made resume and application.

2. Be On Time: Budget your time accordingly. Figure out where the interview will be held and arrive a few minutes beforehand. Get all travel arrangements under control to ensure you get to the interview room on time and always give an allowance for the unexpected. However, do not arrive more than 5 minutes early since some interviewers get annoyed when you show up too early and disrupt their work.

3. Dress Appropriately: First impressions always last and even if the job does not require dressing up, look your best during the interview. Find out the dress code of your new workplace and if none exists, stick to formalwear while making sure that every part of you is clean. If you are not dressed appropriately, you may miss the job for coming across as a disrespectful and unprofessional person.

4. Be Yourself: Trying to relax prior and in the course of the interview is also one of the most vital interview tips. Arrive at the interview early to reduce any anxiety and when you are offered a glass of water during the session, take it. Ensure you establish a good rapport with the interviewer.

5. Ask Questions: Interviews are meant to be a two-way street. You need to understand the company as much as it needs to know about you. Prepare some questions beforehand and bring them to the interview. Asking questions is a great way to make you stand out from other applicants. It’s also good to make notes as the interviewer respond to the questions.

6. Speak Clearly: For the interview to be successful, ensure your responses are clear and audible. Speaking in low tones may brand you unfit for the role. Be careful with humor and stay clear of sarcastic remarks.

7. Mind Your Body Language: Strive to maintain eye contact, an upright posture, and a firm handshake during the interview. Steady eye contact lets the interviewer know that you’re a good listener. However don’t stare, fidget, touch your face or tap fingers as this may indicate that you are nervous.

8. Carry Out Practice Interviews: Find a qualified person to help you conduct a practice interview for the company or position in question. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you prepare psychologically for the process.

9. Be Brief: Do not offer unnecessary information. Answer all questions to the best of your ability and if a certain question is not asked do not provide the information on your own.

10. Sell Yourself In The Cover Letter: In most job applications, the cover letter is the first thing that gets read. Have a strong opening statement and be creative. Market your skills and experience in the position you are applying for. Pay attention to all the content and do not forget to spell check for errors.

11. Prepare for Behavioral Questions: Behavioral interview questioning is often used to prove your skills and predict how they can be beneficial to the organization in future. Familiarize yourself with previous roles and have details on any completed projects. Know your strengths and weaknesses and talk about them with confidence.

12. Say Thank You: Sending the interviewer a small thank you note can go a long way in separating you from the crowd of applicants. You can send via email, post or drop a note at the company premises in person.

Applying these interview tips can help you overcome your interview fears for good. However if you do not get the job, remember that it is not the end of the world. If possible, inquire with the company why they didn’t find you as the right candidate and learn from the experience.