Getting Ready for a Job Interview
You've gotten the letter asking you to appear for a job interview.
While you may be happy that someone found your resume interesting,
undoubtedly you're suddenly very anxious about doing the interview.
It doesn't matter if you've done it dozens of times in the past,
each interview can be nerve-wracking. In order to avoid excessive
panic, make sure to take time to prepare yourself before the
interview day arrives.
1. Learn about the company
Employers love it when prospective employees have made an effort
to find out about the company and the job that they are competing
for. One of the best ways to impress the interviewers is to do
research on the company and the industry that it's in. If possible,
discover how important the division you may be working for is to
the company as a whole. Is it the core business? Is it support
services? Is it a new division that is attempting to expand the
company's business line? By doing the research (and asking
pertinent questions during the interview), you can show the
interviewers that you're interested in the company and the industry,
and that you're keen to learn more. Interviewers want to find
employees that are interested and enthusiastic.
Fortunately, most companies have websites that you can read through
to glean information that may help you come across as being
keen and knowledgable. For companies that don't have websites
that you can look through, do online searches for articles that may
have been done about them. Many industries have trade magazines
and associated websites that may have write-ups on the company that
you'll be interviewing with. If worse comes to worst and there
are no articles on the web about them, you can always go to the
library and read up on the industry in general.
In order to convince the interviewers that you have the necessary
skills and attributes that they want to see in a successful
candidate, you need to know just what skills and attributes you have.
Examine your formal education, on-the-job training, and life
experiences. Look at each element, and decide what skills or
attributes you may have acquired from each of them. Make sure to go
over your inventory and list several times. Then, try and match up
the skills and attributes you believe you possess with the ones
that your potential employer may want to see in you. Some of the
skills you list won't match up completely with the ones the
interviewers may want, but they may be similar enough that the
interviewers can see the potential in you. The thing to remember in
a job interview is that you're not there begging for a job --
you're there selling yourself, your aptitudes, your skills and your
potential to the interviewers. To sell yourself well, you must make
sure that the assets that you can provide them are readily
apparent to them. But at the same time, don't nauseate them with
tons of irrelevant things. Keep your answers short. If they're
interested in something you've said, they ask you to expand on it.
Next to being late and unkempt, one of the worst things you can do
is to look and sound anxious and ill-prepared. Being prepared for
an interview shows them that you will be prepared for your job. Aside
from doing the research mentioned earlier, sounding and acting
self-assured and confident (but not cocky) will help immensely in
selling yourself to the interviewers. One of the best ways to
prepare is to rehearse. Think of questions that the interviewers may
ask you -- both technical/skill type questions and personal
attribute questions -- and write them down. Go over each question
and try and come up with good, well thought-out answers. Go over
them several times. Don't memorize your answers -- that will make
you sound stiff and afraid at the interview. Instead, memorize
the points you want to get across in those answers. Next, find a
friend or family member and ask them to pretend to be the
interviewer. Give them the list of questions, and try and deliver
your answers calmly, clearly and concisely. It may seem awkward or
foolish to both of you to do this, but you'll do much better at the
interview if you've gone through it several times in the days
leading up to the interview itself. Ask your interview partner what
sort of impression they got from you during the mock interview. Did
you seem stiff or relaxed? Confident or anxious? Cocky or self-assured?
Your body language, as well as your answers, will help determine if
you should be considered for the job. Once you've mastered the
answering of the questions, practice your body language and posture
in a mirror. Keep your head up, look the interviewer in the eye and
look interested. Don't use too many hand gestures, but don't "sit on
your hands" either. The former will make you appear anxious while
the latter will make you look stiff and awkward.
As we all know, first impressions are important. Many people,
subconsciously, will make decisions based almost entirely on the
first impression they get of someone. One television commercial
used to say "You never get a second chance to make a first
impression". With that in mind, you have to make sure that, even
before they say hello to you, that their impression of you is
favorable. That means being neatly dressed, clean, and having a
tidy appearance. Unless they tell you otherwise, dress a little
more formally than you might think you need to. Whatever clothes
you wear, make sure that they are neat and clean and pressed.
If you look as though you can't be bothered to look nice for them,
then they won't be bothered to hire you. No matter how well you
may sell yourself in the interview itself. First impressions are
5. Don't be late
If you can't be on time for your interview, you won't be on time
for your job. That's the way the interviewers will look at you
being tardy for the interview. Make a point of arriving early.
The time spent at the interview site before they call you in can
be helpful to you. Firstly, you won't be experiencing any panic from
having to hurry to the site. Secondly, you'll have a few moments
to calm yourself and get your breathing under control. Thirdly,
you'll be able to review what you practiced in your rehearsals.
Lastly, you'll be able to put on that look of self-control and
self-assurance. That way, when they call in you, you'll be ready
to start selling yourself.
6. Introduce yourself
This is where the first impression begins. Make sure you make eye
contact from the very start. Shake hands firmly and smile. Say
who you are and greet them. Let them know that you're pleased to
be there with them. You'll be graded on your interpersonal skills
based solely on the introduction. The eye contact, the handshake
and the smile will help to forge an immediate relationship
with the interviewers. If the relationship starts out positively,
interviewers may subconsciously help you during the interview if
they like you from the start.
7. Ask questions at the end
When the interview is concluding, the interviewers will often ask
if you have any questions. Make sure that you have one or two
ready to ask. By having pertinent questions, you'll come across as
someone who is eager to join the company and to learn. Make
sure the questions are about the job itself, not on the benefits.
Questions about pay and sick leave and such should come after
the official job offer has been made, not before. Also, ask them
how you'll be notified regarding the results of the interview
and when the notification can be expected. Will they phone or send
you a letter? Will they decide that week, or do they have
several weeks of interviews still to do. You don't want to seem
pushy by phoning starting the next day, when they are still in
the process of doing interviews or grading the applicants.
While the process of being interviewed for a job may seem scary,
if you know what you're doing and you prepare appropriately,
you'll be able to walk into the interview room calm and ready.
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