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Interview Prep to Help You Land the Job

Aug 1, 2008
When interviewing for a job, whether it's to start your career after finishing school or to move up to a better position, the best thing you can do is come prepared. Dressing appropriately and researching the company are two ways to prep for the day, but it also may be helpful to give your resume another look and anticipate interview questions.

As far as interview questions, know off-hand such things as the name of the company you work for as well as your title and a description of your responsibilities. Also, be able to recall all of your employment history quickly. Have your resume readily available for reference, but refrain from reading it as a script. The interviewer has the same resume and can read it just as well as you.

When asked about your previous job, be sure to stay honest. Keep the focus on the job and your accomplishments, not on the company, your boss or your coworkers. Talk about what you expected the job to be like and how it turned out. Stay away from being negative. If you did not like something about your former job, simply say it did not meet your expectations rather than chalk it up as a bad job.

But be careful. Don't make your position sound more impressive than it was as this could come back to haunt your later. Try to discuss responsibilities from your current job that overlap with the job you are interviewing for to show you have experience. If asked about challenges you faced in your current or former job, make sure to answer with specific examples. Show that you are proactive but don't make it seem like you did all the work. Interviewers want a team player, not a hero.

One of the toughest questions to answer deals with examples of problems you had with a coworker and how you resolved them. In your answer, don't bash your others. Instead, discuss a situation in which there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Discuss a problem with a definite resolution. If the problem was never solved, don't talk about it!

Another difficult question to answer is why you are leaving your current job. Again, be honest! If you were fired, say your skills did not fit the companies' expectations and that you learned from your experience. If personal problems caused you to leave, say so, but also add that the problems have passed. Always stay away from insulting anything about your old company. If you bad mouth your previous company, what is to keep you from bad mouthing the company you are interviewing with when you leave?

One of the final questions an interviewer may ask is: "Why should I hire you?" This is your final chance to show the interviewer you are cut out for this job. Go over your skills and experience and line them up with the job requirements. Leave out anything that is not relevant to the job description. Also, emphasize your ability to learn new things quickly and to work as a team player. Such skills are things employers always want to hear.

At the conclusion of the interview, make sure you have some questions of your own. This shows you are interested and prepared and gives you the ability to assess the company to see if it is a fit for you. Ask about the responsibilities of the position, the management style of the company, expected travel and other points of interest to you. However, stay away from asking about time off, what the company is about (you should already know) or if you got the job.

Most important, immediately after the interview, send a thank you note to the interviewer. Even if you know you got the job, this will show the employer you are thoughtful and polite and will help you stand out. If you feel you need more prep before your interview, check out the Internet for more common interview questions and preparation tips.
About the Author
Melissa Mashtonio writes for Manta.com, the go-to site for researching company profiles. The site (http://www.manta.com) offers free research on more than 45 million companies worldwide.
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