So I've been to quite a few interviews since sending out my CV. And man, is there a lot of preparation work required up front.
First of all, I needed to come up with a two minute recap of why I'm there in the first place... basically trying to summarize my career and personality in 120 seconds and explain why my CV got out there and why I accepted to be grilled by the person. Let me tell you, it ain't all that easy.
Secondly, I had but a few days to absorb as much info as I could about whoever was going to be interviewing me. Happily, the internet is around. But then I would also go out and see if anyone I know has had any dealings with the organization as well, just to get their impressions and any other info I could about the corporate culture and business processes.
And then at the interview itself. Presentation is important in all aspects. And most of all you need to get across the idea that you absolutely know yourself and what you can offer. Hell, if you don't know what you are capable who would?
But I found it fascinating to see how different companies and different employers approach the interview. There are some who seem only to be interested in your technical skills and abilities... others who try and figure out what sort of a deal they can get out of you (e.g. lots of experience while hiring you as a junior), others try and assess your personality rather than focus on any particular skill.
In the end, I guess all these techniques are valid... and I guess it depends on what they are looking for. But the thing never to forget is that you can glean as much info out of this process as they do. And you can use that info to figure out if that particular place would work for you. I guess for me, the people who took the last approach (figuring out my personality rather than focusing on my technical skills) were the most interesting. To my mind, one can always learn the technical stuff, but having the aptitude and the right mind set is different, that has to be there right from the start. Also, I think at this stage of my professional career I am also more interested in what a particular job is going to lead to in terms of further opportunities... and to me it just seems that people who focus more on your personality are perhaps thinking a little more longer term that people who are worried about whether your skills match the job requirements.