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A Guide to Preparing For Your Job Interview

Mar 10, 2008
Start preparing for your job interview at least two or three days in advance. This will give you enough time to select the appropriate clothes to wear, complete research about the company, and prepare for questions from the interviewers. You will also be able to use this time to become familiarized with the location of the interview, which will allow you to get to know the area and decide upon a route that will allow you to reach your destination on time.

Remember the old adage, "Dress to impress." That is the first thing an interviewer sees - and a sloppy appearance can mar your chances. Maintain at least one business suit for job interviews. Take care to look clean and professional, and choose your outfit before-hand and have it cleaned and ironed.

Part of your preparations should include reviewing your resume, cover letter and application form for the job, where applicable. Go over all the dates and details you have submitted and memorize what you have said in your cover letter so that you can answer any questions about them. Take a clear-headed, third person perspective look at your resume.

Check for anything unusual and anything that might prompt the interviewer to probe deeper. Have reasons ready for leaving your current job or previous ones and for any gaps or frequent job changes. Also, make sure that these issues are put in a positive context.

Find Out More about Your Prospective Employer

Research the company to learn more about how the organization works. Try researching the company on the Internet, talk to your contacts, and read through the information provided by the organization. Knowing the mission and the values of the organization gives you an edge. It shows that you did your homework and that you are interested while making you familiar with the possible duties of your desired position to better relate your skills to the job at hand.

Practice some sample job interview questions. It can help you to prepare your responses and answer your interviewer confidently. Preparing in ample time puts your mind at ease. You can never know exactly what questions the interviewer will ask, but it is possible to think through potential areas and preparing the facts, figures, and examples.

Think about and focus on the job you are applying for. Focus on your past experiences and skills, and specify how these skills and experiences will be applied for this job. Look at what the job involves and the selection criteria, and prepare examples from your past work experience that meet the criteria.

Prepare your own questions for the interviewer. Most interviewers will end the interview by asking if you have any questions. Have some questions prepared with careful thought. The questions can reflect your understanding of the job and the organization, give you a chance to impress the interviewer, and give you a change to get more information. Some general areas to ask about might be:

-How has the position become available?

-What would the jobholder's typical day involve?

-What training and career development opportunities are available?

-How would the interviewers describe the culture of the organization?

-What do they enjoy about working for this organization?

-How is performance assessed?

Don't ask about pay or benefits at this stage. Tailor your questions for each interview (if you just have a standard list, you may find that some of your questions have already been answered during the interview or in the company's literature) and prepare quite a few, in case some of your questions are pre-empted.

With adequate preparation and research, you will get through your job interview with ease and grace. Waiting until the last minute to try to pull it all together is a big mistake often made by headstrong jobseekers who think they can "wing it" during an interview. Prepare today with these interview tips and you just might have a job tomorrow!
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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