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How To Be Prepared For A Job Interview

Updated on August 10, 2016

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying

Before you begin to apply, there are several factors that you will need to consider as to why you want the job. Is it the pay? The hours? The schedule flexibility? What about the field? is this job going to help you achieve your goals for the future? Are you working in an occupation that you are passionate about?

These things are important because they will affect your mood and your performance at work.


So you've put in your application, what's next? Waiting for an answer can feel like a long, never ending affair. You may be very tempted to put in a follow-up call the day after, don't do this. Good etiquette suggests you should wait at least 3-5 days before putting in a call. Employers need time to review hundreds of applications weekly, decide who is qualified and who is not all while running their business.

If you must, call the potential employer to make them aware of your application, but do not try to force an interview.

Quick Tips

  • Try to put in a maximum of 3-4 applications per week to keep your options open and ensure you are given a fair opportunity. If you accept a job too soon, you may miss out on better pay rates, more flexible schedules, and a better learning experience.
  • Part-time jobs should not just be looked at as a temporary paycheck to get you through until you graduate college. Work for a company that you can learn from, that provides you with a skill that you can hone and use in the future.

Learn About The Company

Before getting into your interview, it is important to do your research about the company you are applying for. You practiced what to say, looked up the interview questions and tightened up your resume, but didn't take the time to read about the company's history. This is a MAJOR curve-ball Managers throw at prospective employees. It shows you have genuine interest, and that you are serious about the job.

Read about the year your company was established, the goals they have set for themselves and whether or not they are connected with partner or Sister Stores.

Have a Pay-Rate Set In Mind

After offering you a position, an employer will usually ask you what kind of pay rate you are looking for, or they may just offer you a rate of their choosing. An employer wants to know how much experience you have in the field you are applying. They want to see character and professional references, to find out what kind of person you are. Are you always late for work? Do you text on the clock? Do your friends and co workers feel that you are trustworthy? Are there gaps in your employment history? What is the general time span of jobs you have worked? Remember, the employer puts a lot of time and effort into deciding whether you are worth bringing onto the team. To give you a good pay rate, they need to know they can count on you.

Dress to Impress

First impressions can make or a break an interview. You may have practiced your questions, shown your experience and taken the time to learn about the company. However, your appearance can easily wash all that away.

  • Hygiene is number one during an interview. Shower before you go, an employer will not hire someone who smells offensive and will scare away the customers. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to rush over to the interview, keep a pack of baby wipes with you. You can find them at any Dollar Store and they work very well in my experience. Brush your teeth, use Listerine, and if you are a coffee drinker chew some minty gum. DEODORANT IS MUST, always ALWAYS remember to bring a deodorant with you, just in case.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and well pressed. Regardless of the job you are applying for, you always want to be a couple steps ahead of your competition. Being well dressed shows that you are serious and professional, and genuinely want to make a good first impression.
  • Trim your nails and clean any dirt from underneath. For guys, most places want you to be clean shaven, some don't. Either way, try to clean it up for the interview, you can always grow it back out. Ladies, your hair needs to be neat and pulled out of your face. We all like makeup, its understandable. Try to keep it natural and appropriate for the position. Unless you are a body-paint model or a go-go dancer, rainbow hair and hot pink eye shadow are not going to cut it.

Look Up Reviews and Ask Around

After putting all this work into doing your research, putting in the application, getting the interview, nailing it, and getting hired, you don't want to land yourself into a miserable situation. Out of personal experience, this has happened to me. I applied for a company that I really loved and thought would be a good opportunity for growth, I knew they were expanding based on what I had read, as well as being a longtime customer.

Unfortunately, I did not look up reviews or ask around. I was cautioned by a few people who "knew someone" who'd had a bad experience, but that was about it. I got a bad vibe from the entire staff as soon as I walked in for my interview. From the time I was hired, all my co-workers were extremely hostile, rude, and sometimes flat out disrespectful. Needless to say, I was very sad and disappointed when I saw how unprofessional they were after getting hired for such a well known company.

On the flipside, this opened up new doors for me and I finally found a place to work that I love. A job is a job, and if you are starting from the bottom its not going to be fun and games all the time. However, it is important to be around people you can connect with, people who will uplift you and bring out your best.

Glassdoor is a great website that shows you reviews for your specific location. You can see reviews of past and current employees and how their experience was.

Also, Once you are hired, never feel like you are trapped or that you owe a company something for hiring you. They chose you because they need you, if things start to go south, its never wrong to have an exit strategy.

During The Interview

The first thing I stress is to always arrive 15 minutes early. Let a manager or employee know who you are and who you are interviewing with, you may have wait a bit and that's okay. Potential employers appreciate patience, they have other responsibilities along with conducting your interview as well as others. Sometimes they may want to take you right away, either way, get there early and be prepared.

Use basic etiquette before, during, after. Be polite to the staff, you will be working with them later and relying on them for training. Sir and Ma'am should be used when addressing your possible future co-workers, it will show that are you are respectful and ready to learn.

Answer questions honestly, lying to the employer to get the job will hurt you in the long run. One question that stumps many people is "Why do you want to work here?" If you're applying as a dishwasher, for example, you're probably not trying to make a career of this job. However, you still need it to pay the bills. A good answer would look something like this:

"I am working hard to provide for my family, (or another solid, personal reason you need this job) and I am also looking to further my education. I am dedicated to everything I set my mind to and I consider that to be one of my strengths."

This answer is short, sweet, and to the point. The employer knows you will be dependable because you have a reason to show and do the work. Keep it short but don't undersell yourself. No matter what job you are applying for, you are a valuable person and you need to let that shine through.

Last but not least, always thank the employer for taking out the time to call you and interview you. Either they will hire you on the spot or give you a call sometime later. I would wait 3-5 days before the follow up, background checks can take awhile, so if they don't call right away, don't panic. Be patient, but don't wait forever and never be discouraged if you don't get hired. There are ALWAYS other opportunities, regardless of what anyone else tells you. keep your head up and keep moving forward.

If You Do Get Hired, Make Sure You're Ready For Anything

You may be the kindest, smartest, most brilliant person on the planet, but this is the working world. Be mindful of others, but do not believe that you can trust everyone. Depending on the environment, you will run into some very nice and helpful people, or you will find yourself in a shark tank. Keep in mind, people will test you, gossip, and attempt to make you want to quit. Especially in instances where the person has been there for years, and is passed up on promotions and raises which are given to new hires such as yourself.

Do not allow any negativity to bring you down, remind yourself that your company hired you for a reason and that you are supposed to be here. In time you will find your footing, don't give up!

© 2014 clovisj


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