Thursday, December 3, 2009

Preparing yourself before the interview

Congratulations, you have your foot in the door. In this economy, this is a clear sign that you are qualified for the job you are looking for and they like what they see so far. Now it's time to seal the deal. I'm going to talk to you about what preparations you need to make before setting foot in the office for an interview. There are several steps that need to be taken in order to ensure you are presenting yourself in the best light possible.

1. Do research on the company you are interviewing with and the position you are interviewing for - Go on the company's website and learn about the place you want to work. They may ask you if you know anything about them once you are in the interview chair and if you can give them a few important details, your stock will rise. If you can get information about the job you are applying for as well, that will only make you look stronger. Another good idea is going on Google or Bing and referencing stories about the company you want to work for, or if they are a subsidiary of a larger company, the parent company as well.

2. Dressing for the interview - This can be tricky. Time was, they said a man should always wear a suit and tie and a woman should wear a jacket and skirt or a dress. Now there are people who say that you should dress for the job you are looking for, that it's OK to dress business casual for certain interviews. I believe that it's always better to overdress for an interview than under dress, you can always remove your jacket, but you can't go to your car and put one on if you don't come in with one. What is more important is that your clothes should always be clean and ironed. Neatness counts, which leads to......

3. Grooming for the interview: You need to pay attention to appearance from head to toe. Here are a few guidelines:

- Make sure your hair is clean and cut. Have it cut a day or two before the interview, that way you won't get any loose hairs on your jacket.

- Your shoes should be polished and clean. No open toed shoes or sandals.

- Make sure your fingernails are clean and cut. You will shake hands with everyone you meet and they will see your hands, dirty fingernails are a bad sign.

- Minimal perfume or cologne. You don't want to overpower them. On the other hand, make sure you don't have body odor.

- Clean breath and teeth. But don't eat mints or chew gum in the interview.

- Keep jewelry to a minimum.

- Cover all tattoos and remove all body piercings except for earrings in the ear for the ladies. You want to be a blank slate, you want them to remember you for your great interview, not for being the guy with a skull on your forearm or the girl with the eyebrow ring.

4. Come to the interview at least 15 minutes early. Being there a little bit early says your are conscientious. Showing up an hour early says you are needy. Showing up late says you don't care. Plot your route ahead of time. If you are there 15 minutes early, you can fill out any paperwork they ask you to do and have it done in time for the interview.

5. Practice responses to possible questions. There are many websites out there that have possible questions that you may be asked when at an interview. But when it comes to it, there are three different types of questions that you are going to be asked:

Can you do the job? - Do you have the skills and experience to handle the position? Examples include:
What aspects of your education and/or work experience do you see will help you in this position?
Tell us about a time when you were up against a tight deadline and how you succeeded.

Do you want the job? -
Why do you want to work for us?
What about the job/the company interests you?

Are you a good fit for the job or company?
What skills do you bring to the job?
What weaknesses do you bring?
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Describe a situation where you worked with a team. How did you interact with them? Were you successful?

Think about the answers to these questions before you go in. If you can, practice with someone else and get their feedback on your responses.

If you follow these guidelines, you will show up at your interview confident and ready to go.

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