This week I would like to start a series of articles addressing interview techniques and tactics. The first part of this series – Interview 101 – will present advice about the basics – those things you need to do and not do before you ever step through the door. These topics are essential – if you fail these, you can give up hope for having a successful interview.

Let’s start out with the call from the potential employer asking if you would be available for an interview. Resist temptation – don’t shout out, “Yes”! Be enthusiastic but not overtly desperate. Confirm that you are still available and you would be happy to arrange a time convenient to the employer’s schedule. Having said that, you will want to take into consideration your own schedule as well. In a previous article, I suggested you set aside certain hours or days especially for interview times. First, see if your schedule fits the employer’s schedule. If so, everything is great. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time between interviews if you have more than one on the same day.

If your scheduled interview days or times do not coincide with what the interviewer has available, do not let them push you into a time slot where you are trying to juggle two competing interests. For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment for a heart condition that you cannot miss, be apologetic but firm. Any employer you really want to work for will understand these things. However, if your schedule is too full, their interest may wane as frustration sets in. Don’t even think of playing hard-to-get; it doesn’t work in the business world.

While you may have a million questions running through your head, save them for the interview. You don’t want to take up too much of the interviewer’s time during the scheduling phone call, and you need time to practise your questions and answers before you lay them out.

The right questions to ask, however, include:

    Person(s) you will meet or who to ask for

These are critical and basic questions. If you mess up the interview date or time, it is a serious blow to your character. If you are late because you didn’t take the time to ask for directions beforehand, it sends a poor message about your organisation and preparation skills. In fact, unless the interview is the next day, make sure you call to confirm your information and the appointment either the day prior or the morning of the interview. If you don’t get the basics right, your potential employer will not have confidence in your ability to perform the job properly.