Getting Started - Preparing for an Interview


The purpose of an interview is for the potential employer to determine your characteristics, abilities and transferable skills. With this stated you know what you have to do during the interview. Sell yourself! As stated with your resume, you are the product and you are marketing yourself. You must pay attention to detail and put your best foot forward. Employers want you to convey to them your qualifications/skills and how you will be able to utilize them at their organization. You also need to convey you have a career focus.

Before any interview you must do your homework. You must prepare yourself by doing self reflection. What are your career goals? What jobs have you had in the past that you enjoyed? What jobs have you had in the past that you did not like? By answering these questions it helps you to determine careers/tasks that you would enjoy performing. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to convey your skills to a potential employer. Another part of doing your homework is to research the company/organization. You must have a good knowledge of the company/organization. What do they do? Who are there top competitors? These are just a few examples of the type of information you should know before any interview.

You also need to do research on the interview process. Talk to people who are experienced in interviewing. They can give you tips on interviewing. Review articles on different interview formats. This helps you be prepared for any interview setting or style. Ask someone if you could perform a mock interview. Then have the person provide you with honest feedback. Video taping a mock interview can also provide you with a lot of insight into how you interview. This way you can review the tape and see how you did during the interview. Keep in mind, the more you interview the better you get at it. You can not anticipate every question that an interviewer will ask you but you can try to prepare yourself as much as possible. Reviewing Sample Interview Questions (pdf) can assist you with this step.

In addition to being mentally prepared you must be physically prepared for the interview. In an ideal world you should always have a good night’s sleep before any interview and you should wear a nicely pressed, conservative, dark suit. There may be a few rare occasions when you may not be required to wear a suit. Do not forget to polish your shoes. You must look neat and clean from head to toe. Do not over accessorize or wear too much cologne or perfume. For more tips please review Tips for a Successful Interview (pdf).

Follow up every interview with a thank you note or letter to everyone with whom you interviewed. This is a simple act that can make a very big positive impression on the interviewer. Collect business cards from everyone who interviews you to ensure you have their proper name and address. Make sure you send the thank you note within 24 or 48 hours of the completion of the interview.

How to...

Create a Resume
Write a Cover Letter
Prepare for an Interview


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