Jun 19, 2012
One of the elements in the broad category of how to find a new job is the all important task of preparing for a job interview. Many people going through career changes find that the job interview is the scariest part of the whole job hunting process. In this article I will give you many job interviewing tips along with job hunting advice in general that will make this often awkward task of preparing for a job interview a much more comfortable situation.
First and most important is the fact that you must be prepared ahead of time for any job interview. If you are not prepared the interviewer will intuitively pick up on this and will feel that you are not really interested. Plan ahead with the following job interviewing tips:
• General Preparation and Self-Assessment
When you start saying to yourself “I need a new job or I really hate my job, this is the time to begin initial general preparation and a self-assessment. Here is where you must step back and have a good talking to with yourself. Do some deep reflection and objectively examine your skills, talents, strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Re-examine your accomplishments and achievements and see if they can be worked into your long term career future plans.
If you find that you are being left behind by new technology, consider taking courses to get back on track. Do what you must do to fix any weaknesses, particularly those that may be relevant to jobs that are hiring now in your chosen career.
• Creating or Updating Your Resumé
Your resumé is the leave behind document that expresses who you are and what you do. Consider it a summary of your overall qualifications for the position and an indicator of what you can do for the employer. A resumé should contain the following information:
A) Your name, address, and phone number.
B) Employment objective: Ideally the job you are seeking should be relevant to your educational and prior employment background.
C) Education: School name and location, dates of attendance, degree obtained or grade completed.
D) Work experience: Name and address of employer, job title, dates of employment and a brief description of your job responsibilities.
E) Special skills: This could be any awards received, languages spoken, or any accomplishments that could be relevant.
F) References: Always ask permission of the references ahead of time.
Be sure to bring at least six copies of your resumé along with you on the interview. The reason being there may be more than one person talking to you and also they may want to pass your resumé along to others at the firm. Make sure your resumé looks professional with no flowers or extraneous graphics. Most important, make absolutely sure it is error free. Have a trusted friend or relative proof read it to make sure it reads correctly and the spelling is correct.
Let’s Assume You Have an Interview Lined Up
• Research the company
It is essential that you learn all you can about the company ahead of the interview. Go to their website or use the public library to locate any information as to what they do, their history, who their founders, current owners or management team is. Make it a point to learn about the products they produce or the services they provide. If they are listed on the stock exchange, see how they are doing and do some research into their stock past. It is also a good idea to know who their competitors are and the industry in general.
• Practice Your Interviewing Skills
Before you go on your interview it is important to practice with a friend or family member as this will help to calm fear and nervousness. Some common job interview questions are as follows:
A) Why are you interested in this field?
B) Why are you interested in this company?
C) What can you do for this company?
D) Why would you be a good fit in this company?
E) What do you know about this company?
Be prepared to answer questions such as what is your greatest weakness or what are your greatest strengths? It is also important for you to ask a few questions about the job, such as what are the main duties of this position or how would you describe your management style. By asking questions you are showing an interest in the position. However, be sure to never ask questions about salary, benefits, or vacation time. If they are interested, you will be called back for a second interview where these issues will be discussed.
Be sure to read my article titled, “Common Job Interview Questions”. This will be a big help in preparing for a job interview by presenting sample questions you may be asked and also intelligent questions for you to ask the interviewer.
• Pre-Interview Preparation
Never underestimate the power of first impressions. Remember that the employer will be looking to determine if you are a good fit for the position being offered and the company in general. Go to bed early so you will get a good night’s sleep. In this way you will appear alert and fresh.
Dress appropriately for the position, but being conservative is usually the key. Be certain that your clothing is clean and well pressed with no missing buttons or dragging hems. Avoid flashy jewelry. Bring a small pad to take notes, but keep this to a minimum.
• During the Interview
Plan to arrive at the interview 10-15 minutes early as this will be interpreted as you being committed and dependable. Always show an open smile, shake hands firmly but not too hard, sit up straight, maintain eye contact, be enthusiastic and positive. Relax, be yourself, and answer all questions in a clear voice. Try to make the interview more like a conversation, but never be loud or pushy! Also, never make negative comments about previous jobs or bosses as this will work against you.
Always focus on what your can bring to the position and what you can do for them. Always show interest and listen intently to what the interviewer is saying. When your turn comes, ask the questions that you prepared. As mentioned earlier, see my article, “Common Job Interview Questions”.
End the interview by saying “Do you feel that I have the qualifications for this position?” In this way, if they feel there is a problem, you have the opportunity to respond and hopefully smooth over any issues while you are there. However, always be polite and never get into an argument with the interviewer. This would spell disaster!
• After the Interview
End the interview on a positive note with a smile, handshake and a sincere thank you for their time. Also, it is important to collect business cards from everyone in the meeting. Within two days it is a good idea to send a brief thank you note to everyone who interviewed you.
I would recommend a written note that you would mail as opposed to an email because you can never be 100% sure that the email will be received. This note serves not only as a courtesy, but reinforces your interest and enthusiasm for the job position.
By Kevin Carbone