Good luck Spider Woman.
A good tip is to think about it from the other side of the desk. Just in case you’ve never been the interviewer, let me share what it’s like.
A company has a vacancy. Some manager has to take care of hiring. This is a drag.
Even finding a few decent candidates to interview is a pain. 9 out of 10 candidates on paper are just non-starters, so Miss Hirer begins to feel she’s chasing a needle in a haystack.
Eventually, there is a short list of people worth interviewing. Miss Hirer is under a lot of pressure to fill the vacancy quickly. But it’s a big decision. Whatever the salary for a job, it actually costs a company about half as much again to employ that person (factoring all the overheads and resourcing costs). So there’s a lot of money at stake. Plus most recruits aren’t all that productive in their first few days or weeks, while they’re still learning the ropes. And Miss Hirer knows if she gets it wrong, she has to fire the mistake, go through it all again and her reputation for ‘sound judgement’ takes a hit.
It gets worse. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who interview just fine, but turn out to be minimum-input clockwatchers, liars, cheats, embezzlers, lazy, dim as a cellar… all of these things can happen.
So, get into the mindset of the person interviewing you.
Most people go into interview thinking like this: “It’s OK for her (the person interviewing)… she’s already got a job and she’s got the power of job/no job over me, and I’m powerless”.
Here’s a better attitude: "This person (who is interviewing me) has a tough and difficult high-risk decision to make. She doesn’t want to screw up. She will probably have seen a few disappointing time-wasters.
I am sympathetic to all this. The good news is, I have the power to make her day go well. I can show her I am what she is looking for: I’ll do the job well, I’m a nice person, I’ll work hard and play fair. I have some good experience, but if I don’t know something I’ll own up and learn fast. I have a good attitude, and I’m conscientious. I respect that a company has to run on authority, so if it comes down to it, I’ll do what I’m told. But I can show initiative too, and I don’t need hand-holding. I am prepared to commit to the company and its aims, and I’m not greedy - all I want in return is the going rate for someone of my experience and ability, no more no less."
If you go in with that attitude, I promise you will maximise your chances. Understand the hirer’s problems, and be the answer to her prayers!