Top 10 Tips to Prepare for a Job Interview

August 20, 2009 at 7:39 pm 1 comment

  1. Plan ahead. Try on clothes, arrange for a ride/make sure your ride has enough gas for the trip, and make sure you know how to get to the interview site in advance. Better yet, actually GO there a day or two in advance to make sure you know how to get there, and time how long it takes you to get there.
  2. Take at least two copies of your resume – one for the person you’re interviewing with, and one for yourself. Interviewers are busy, and shockingly, may not have printed out the resume you sent them. Offer them a copy early in the conversation, and wait patiently while they read it over. You’ll want a copy yourself to prompt you as to former assignments and accomplishments.
  3. Know about the company. Show that you are interested in more than just in “getting a job”, but in establishing a career with this organization; find out when they started, who their main players are, what niche they are in, who their competitors are, and most importantly, what they do and what they sell. Nothing will be more off-putting to an interviewer than to have them ask you “What do you know about our company?” and have you answer with “Nothing” or “I don’t know.”
  4. Practice questions. Google “common interview questions” and print out a list, then have someone ask you your sample questions.
  5. How to look and act. Many job seekers today struggle to look professional because … maybe they haven’t had to. While you don’t have to go out and purchase an expensive designer suit, it is still considered good form for the interviewee to be slightly more “overdressed” than the interviewer, you do want to look sharp and polished. And, if you look good, you’ll feel good … and if you feel good, you’ll project that good feeling in your answers. For men this nearly always means a white shirt and a tie, and sometimes a suit coat. For women this means a dress suit/pant suit in subdued, subtle colors, and of course, no short skirts or plunging necklines. And for both genders, keep it professional – do not flirt with the interviewer. Lastly, you may not see this advice any place else, but don’t wear cologne/perfume. You’re meeting a hopeful employer, not a hopeful date, and worst case scenario, they may be hyper-sensitive to strong smells like perfumes and colognes – not the kind of impression you want to leave.
  6. Plan for curveballs. Lots of interviewers like to ask unusual questions to see how well candidates think on their feet. There’s only one wrong answer: “I don’t know.” If they ask you your favorite movie and you say “The Little Mermaid”, that’s fine. Its honest – and may be the interviewers favorite too.
  7. Arrive early. If you’re in a hurry to get there, you may forget something and you just won’t feel prepared. If you show up late to an interview, what kind of signal does this send to the interviewer? It tells them that this interview – and job – must not be that important to you, or that you can’t prepare in advance.
  8. Take a notebook, a couple of pens, and if possible, your own business cards. You can have them made up at your local printers or from business card printers on the web. Some are even free (except for the shipping, handling, and postage) as long as you don’t mind the card company’s logo on the other side. Having your own business card lends an air of credibility and professionalism.
  9. Ask them a few relevant questions. The quality of the questions YOU ask back to the interviewer can be just as telling as how you answered their own questions. Ask what challenges and obstacles the company and this position might be facing in the next 6 months. Ask what will be expected of you to help the company overcome those obstacles. Ask about their headcount, if there are any mergers or acquisitions coming, their revenue last year – show that you are interested in the “guts” of the company.
  10.  Be yourself. As trite as it may sound, you have to be yourself. If you put on false airs, or come across as someone that you’re not, an astute interviewer will pick up on it. You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be your best self. Present that best self, and hopefully you’ll be able to find a match between what you have to offer, and what the hiring companies are looking for.

Entry filed under: Human Resources (HR). Tags: , , , , .

Mitzi’s Mom’s Cookies

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brandon  |  August 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Okay, I just read this. Good stuff. Is there any way you could parlay your skills into your own business where you help others like a job coach or job counselor or something? I’m sure someone has already written “Job Hunting for Dummies” but is there a direction here you could go? Maybe a web site?



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