Amaya Lopez offers a pleasingly round-numbered 10-step guide to convincing potential employers they want to hire you
It's another grey day in February - but before you reach for the sherry, sit up and pay attention. What you need is a new start - hey, a new job. But how the devil will you get through the interview, once you've jumped the CV screening hurdle? Just follow our essential "insider" guide …
1 Clothes In the immortal words of Trinny and Susannah: "You are what you wear". So dress the part. If you're going for an architect's job, don't wear the suit you last wore to Aunt Reenie's funeral. Go for something stylish and understated that can't fail to reflect your knowledge of space and form.
Gentlemen: white socks will put the interviewer on full chav alert and comedy ties aren't funny.
2 Shoes Little foot warmers to protect your tootsies? Wrong. Shoes say everything about you. Make sure they are clean and polished - and no trainers please. It's a sad fact of life that, statistically, tall people usually get the job over the vertically challenged. So if you're a lady of the "petite" persuasion, don't be tempted to wear ballet pumps.
3 Be punctual If you're rubbish in the mornings, arrange the interview for the afternoon. Give yourself plenty of time for the journey - only death or natural disasters are valid excuses for lateness.
4 Project your voice Whatever you do, don't go into mouse mode during the interview, mumbling your answers into your shirt collar. Make direct eye contact with the interviewer and speak slowly and confidently. Play for extra time by repeating the question back to the interviewer in a rephrased, considered manner while your mind is panicking over the answer.
5 Tell them what they want to hear You love working as "part of a team" but you are also sufficiently motivated to work well "on your own". Interviewers don't want confrontation, yet they don't necessarily like someone they can wipe the floor with. It's important therefore to tread that fine line between mobster and mop.
6 Don't go into braggy mode Never swagger into an interview. When the interviewer asks that nightmarishly open-ended question, "Just tell us a little about yourself", don't seize the opportunity to launch into a monologue about just how brilliant you are at sky-diving, sudoku and salsa. Bosses don't like show-offs or people who can do things better than they can - and come to think of it, nor does anyone else.
7 Never slag off your former employers or colleagues However tempted you may be to call your current boss an imbecile, resist the urge.
8 Be keen but not desperate Avoid exaggeration - nobody will ever believe that as a small child you dreamed of becoming the contractor of a multistorey car park.
9 Prepare answers to possible questions Rehearse in front of the bathroom mirror as if you were being interviewed (Parky rather than Paxman, if you want an easy ride). When asked, "Where do you see yourself in five years' time?", never say "In your seat".
10 Money, moolah, wonga This is the bête noire of interviewees. The interviewer probably won't bring it up until asked, yet if the job ad mentioned a "competitive salary" then you need to know what it is. If there are likely to be a string of interview stages, save the question until you get through to the next level. Otherwise, ask for some idea of the proposed salary.
This is the first of a regular series of "How to survive …" guides being published on Building's website. For the next, log on to www.building.co.uk/jobs