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10 Things You Can do to Prepare for an Interview

Updated on January 11, 2013

The interview is an important element in the job hunting process. When an employer asks you to interview, that means they are interested in bringing you on board. The interview allows you and the employer to see if you would be a good “fit” for the job and each other. I think of an interview as a professional conversation. It is wise to use this time to learn about what the employer wants and how they plan on getting there and what your job would entail. Now days, it is very common to have two interviews before being hired. The first interview tends to get a feel for you and then the second one is a more serious one where you may be able to speak with potential coworkers and manager.

The interview tends to be a strategic conversation and your goal to show the employer you have the skills and ability to complete the job successfully. Plus the interview is your opportunity to gather information about what the job will be like, what is your future career opportunities, and it see if it will be a good fit for you.

Many employers will not hire you based on your merit alone. They also look at your personality, confidence, enthusiasm, and if you have excellent interpersonal skills. If you lack in those departments you may not be hired even though you are overly qualified for the position.

Besides your cover letter and your resume, the interview is the last step to really show the employer you are the one for the job besides your background experience. In order to do this, you must use every possible strategy to ensure you have excellent interviewing skills. There are at least ten things you need to do in order to have a great interview.

Research

It is to your advantage to research the job and the company you are interviewing with. You can do this all sorts of ways; you can request printed materials from the company itself, or you can hop online and Google the company and see what it is all about. It is important that you know what the job will entail and what the skills needed for the job is. If you have prior knowledge about the company and the position than you can ask more related and knowledgeable questions when they ask if you have any further questions.

Practice

It is wise to prepare a succinct answer to each of the questions in the interview process. It is best to practice answering questions with a friend, or even in front of a mirror. If you decide to use a friend, ask them to give constructive criticism on your speaking style, mannerisms, and poise. A tip to remember is when you are practicing colloquialisms. Another tip is make sure you don’t sound like you are reading a script you want it to flow like you are having a conversation with the person and not trying out for a movie.

Logistics

The more you are knowledgeable about the interview the better your answers will be. Always remember when you scheduled the interview, what to expect during it, and how long you may be there. Also ask if you will be speaking to one or more people to get an idea of what will happen once you are in the interview.

Be prompt and professional

Always arrive to the interview early. If you do not know where the company is located, ask for directions when you schedule the interview. Always leave some extra time for traffic, parking, and any other spontaneous events that may happen. Try not to run late, but if you are call and let them know the situation. When arriving to the company smile and be polite and respectful while you are waiting for the interviewer.

Dress for success

Wear an outfit that shows your professional side because first impressions are very important when you are interviewing. If you are a woman, you should avoid too much jewelry and make-up. If you are a man, you should not wear flashy suits or wearing too much cologne.

Be organized

Carry a portfolio notepad or at least a folder that you have your resumes and your references information just in case the employer asks for it. It is wise to also have your questions written down, so you do not have to rack your brain of what you wanted to ask them.

Know yourself

The interview is for you to share more information about yourself, so if you voluntarily share your information without them asking it will make the interview go a lot better. If you do not know exactly what to share you can start by talking about your strengths, experiences, education, skills, and your goals.

Be positive

Always stay positive when talking about yourself and your past employers. Always talk about the positive things in the experience never dwell on the negative things. It will allow them to know that you do not hold grudges and when you leave them you will be talking negative towards their company.

Save discussion of salary for later

Save the talk about your salary for a later date. Never bring up the salary during your first interview, but if the interviewer asks you about your salary expectations only give a general answer. This will save you from being cut right then and there, never say you are looking for such and such amount of money.

Always follow up

It is nice to write a thank you note within 48 hours after an interview. It is important to say thank you for their time. The letter should be brief and it will allow you to stand out among the rest of the candidates that they interviewed.

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