You've done the hard part of getting noticed and landing a job interview. Now the ball is in your court and you can blow away the competition with just a little preparation and research. If you put in the hard work beforehand, the interview will take care of itself. The key to success is in your hands.

1. Dress right 

A first impression can't secure you a job but it can definitely lose it. Dress appropriately for the role you are applying for. If it's a job in an office, a suit is a safe bet. If it's more of a blue-collar role, more casual attire may be acceptable. However, too smart is always better than too casual so dress to impress.

If you aren't sure what's appropriate for the job, do your research. If you landed the interview through an agency, ask them. If not, look at the company website to see if they have any pictures of their employees and mimic the smartest person you see.

2. Know the company 

Google the company. Read their website front to back and make sure you have a firm grasp on their operation. Most companies will extoll certain virtues in the form of a mission statement on their website. Find out what their mission statement is and do your best to embody it on your CV and in the interview.

Dig out facts about the company that you can say you appreciate if asked why you want to work there. If the company sees you've done your research you will immediately stand out against less prepared candidates, regardless of qualifications or experience.

3. Know the role 

If you can't find information about the role on the company's own website, search for other similar job listings elsewhere. Decent knowledge of the role will allow you to not only decide if it's right job for you, but it also gives you time to brush up on any relevant skills. That last minute refresher of the skills the company is looking for will portray you in the most competent and desirable light to your prospective employers.

4. Have questions prepared

As the interview draws to a close, you will inevitably be asked if you have any questions. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, so ask questions about their current team, the company's plans for the future, and any specifics of the position you are applying for. You need to ensure the role is the right one for you. 

Not only will this approach equip you with more information upon which to base your ultimate decision, but it will also change the power dynamic of an otherwise uneven situation. As a result, you will appear more professional and more valuable.

5. Follow up 

A follow-up email can place you back into the forefront of an employer's mind after they've had a long week of interviews. Keep it brief and casual. Thank them for the chance to interview and say you look forward to continuing your discussion about the role at a later date. Don't try to sell yourself or your qualifications any further, the interview itself was the time for that.

If you find you didn't get the role, reply with a polite request for feedback on your interview itself. Most employers will be happy to give a few observations. Take note of what they say and try to heed the most constructive advice for use in your next interview.

Once you realise interviews are a learning process, the pressure will seem infinitely easier to deal with. A more relaxed candidate is a more employable candidate. Keep building on your technique and continue to prepare studiously and the process will become easier and easier until you're faced with a plethora of job offers from which to choose your dream role.