You’ve made it to the interview stage! But before you step through that door, make sure you know the basic steps of a successful job interview.
- Learn about the company and the position. Check their Web site, use online corporate directories such as Hoovers.com or Yahoo Finance, or request information from the company’s public relations department. Your school’s reference librarian can help you track down all sorts of useful information, such as the company’s size, history, main products and services, the names of top executives and current news stories.
- Rehearse with mock interviews. Check with your school’s career planning center to see if they offer a program to help you improve your interview skills.
- Doublecheck the time and location of the interview. If it’s in an area that’s new to you, consult a map or take a test-run the day before to make sure you know how to get there.
- Prepare what you want to say in the interview. Think about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your most significant work or school experiences, your future plans and your ideal job.
- Review your resume and think about how your experiences can be matched up with the job’s requirements.
- Dress appropriately. Choose conservative clothing and keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum.
- Be punctual. Arrive a little early to allow yourself time to relax and focus.
- Bring along some basic interview tools: extra copies of your resume, a notepad and a pen. Take notes on any interesting points or questions. Your notes will come in handy when preparing for a second interview or writing a follow-up letter.
- Be sure to listen actively throughout the interview. It’s easy to spend all your time planning your answers, but remember, this is a conversation. Listening carefully helps you to respond appropriately.
- Avoid generalities and cliches (“I’m a people-person”). Give concrete examples when describing your work experience. And always be positive. Don’t be critical of previous co-workers or bosses. The way you talk about your former or current boss may be seen as an indication of how you will talk about your future boss.
- Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about this career path and this company by asking intelligent questions about the position. Draw upon your research about the company, or ask about the working conditions, the chances for advancement and major projects your prospective job would entail.
- Ask your interviewers for their business cards to ensure that you have the proper contact information when you follow up.
- Afterward, send a follow-up letter. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to speak with you and let them know that you are still interested. Demonstrate your interest by describing how you could contribute to the company’s future.
- Review what you’ve learned. What were the strongest parts of your interview? What were the weakest? Were you asked any questions you hadn’t anticipated? And what did you learn about this company or career track? Even if you don’t get the job, you can learn a lot from every interview.
Keep this outline in mind and you’ll be ready to ace your next interview.
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Now that you have an interview, there are certain things you will want to do in advance to prepare for it. This article will provide practical tips on how to prepare for a job interview. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so you’ll want to do you best on preparing for your interview in advance.
1. Pick out what you are going to wear on your job interview:
What you wear on your interview is an absolutely crucial part of how to prepare for a job interview. After you choose your outfit, make sure it is cleaned and pressed and you have the appropriate accessories and shoes to go with it. It doesn’t hurt to try the outfit on ahead of time, just to make sure everything fits and you look great. Then put your outfit aside for day of your interview and have it ready to go. Now that you have this crucial step out of the way, you can concentrate on the rest.
2. Practice greeting your interviewer:
You should always greet your interview with friendly smile and firm handshake. If you do this right, you will set off the right energy and the chances of the interview going well will increase. This is a small and simple step that you should always to do to prepare for your interview.
3. Study your resume and know everything on it:
Any work experience or skills you have listed on your resume are fair game to talk about during the interview. Your resume is all the interviewer has to go by in order to get to know you. They may pick things out from it and ask you to elaborate. Even though you may have a previous job listed that was many years ago, the interviewer may ask you to explain what you did at that job and your are responsible for providing an answer. This is one step you absolutely won’t want to skip on how to prepare for a job interview.
4. Practice your answers to the most common interview questions:
If you don’t know what these are, do your research and find out or see one of my other articles. You’ll want to have your answers ready and practice them. You should always be able to answer “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you think you would be great for this job?” The employer doesn’t know, so it’s up to you to sell it.
Don’t completely memorize your answers so they come out rehearsed, but have a clear idea of what you are going to say. When you are asked, you want your answer to come out intelligently and natural. Be open to other questions as well and really know what you can offer to the company.
5. Research the company and the job position you are applying for:
Write down any questions you may have about either so you can ask during the interview. If there any requirement of the job that you are unsure of, you should definitely ask during the interview. It always looks nice when you go into an interview with intelligent questions. It shows you put effort in preparing for the interview. However, never ask questions just to ask questions. The interviewer will see right through that. Your questions should be genuine and relevant.
6. Find out the type of interview you will be going on:
There are several common types of interviews such as one on one, group, and behavioral. You shouldn’t assume you will 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 are prepared.
READ MORE:6 Interview Types You Must Know as a Candidate
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.
Follow these tips and you will successfully know how to prepare for a job interview. Interviewers can tell whether or not a candidate has prepared for it or not and they will appreciate it if you did.
Related: Job Interview Makes for Great Conversation.
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