You’ve applied for your dream job, you’ve been offered an interview and now you’re terrified. Your mind is filled with doubt that you’ll fail to impress your interviewers and fall at the final hurdle. You know in your heart you can do the job and do it well, but how to you get that across in the tense atmosphere of a job interview?

You don’t perform well when you’re in the spotlight, your mind freezes, and you dry up. There are any number of reasons why you don’t do yourself justice at interview and none of them have anything to do with your ability to do the job.

I know, it’s unfair but the reality is that job interviewing is still the most common and effective way for employers to recruit staff and there’s no option but to accept that fact and try to perform the best you can.

But don’t be too despondent. Most interviewers know candidates will be nervous and they’ll take account of that. The chances are you’re being unnecessarily hard on yourself and by following a few simple rules you can give yourself a great chance of having a successful interview.

Preparation is key. By doing your homework and paying close attention to detail, you will give yourself every possible chance of landing the job. Employers are impressed by candidates who show they’re serious, personable and who can demonstrate a proper grasp of the role. Here are a few simple tips you should always follow:

1. Dress appropriately.

Think about the type of environment you’ll be working in and choose the right clothes. If you have applied to work in a formal restaurant or a hotel, your potential future employer won’t be impressed if you turn up dressed casually, even smart casual. Even if it’s a trendy café or bar where all the staff wears jeans and T-shirts, it may be more respectful to wear a suit to an interview, particularly if you’re applying for a management position.

2. Rehearse your introduction.

You should always greet your interviewer with a friendly smile and firm handshake. You only have one chance to make a good impression so getting this right will set the tone for the rest of the interview.

3. Know your CV.

Any work experience or skills you have listed on your CV may be raised during the interview – it’s all your interviewer must go on and he or she may select certain items and ask you to elaborate. You may be asked to describe a role you had several years before so don’t be caught out. Read your CV thoroughly in advance and make sure you remember all its details.

4. Rehearse answers to the most commonly asked questions.

This is a difficult one, particularly if you haven’t worked in the industry before so do some research and fund out what issues are current or perennial. Beyond that, you should have readily prepared responses to interview standards like “Why do you think you’d be good for this job?” and “Why should I employ you and not someone else?”.  Don’t memorise entire sentences so your answers sound rehearsed, but rather have a clear idea of what you are going to say, perhaps as bullet points.

5. Research the company and the job you’re applying for.

Prepare some questions you may have about either, so you can ask them during the interview. If there any requirements of the job you’re unsure about, those are certainly things you should raise.  Asking intelligent questions will go a long way to impressing your interviewers as it shows you’ve put some effort into preparing for the interview.

6. Ask in advance what the format of the interview will be.

There are several common types of interviews such as one-to-one, panel and behavioural. You shouldn’t assume you’ll get a certain one. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter what kind of interview will have if you don’t know – the interview will be more beneficial to both parties if you’re prepared.

7. Print out the directions to the interview and be on time:

Allow enough time to get there and anticipate traffic. It’s ok to be up to 10 minutes early, but no more than that. Otherwise, the interviewer may not be ready for you. Bring the phone number of your interviewer just in case you get lost or are going to be late. If you are going to be late, call to let the interviewer know.