Plan and Prepare Interview

An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer, so it pays to be well prepared.
The employer is looking for what you can offer the company: your talents, your skills, your knowledge, your energy.
To interview effectively, you must communicate effectively using your words, tone of voice, and positive visual image. The employer will receive your message of confidence, credibility, trustworthiness, intelligence, experience and education levels appropriate for the job.
The information in this publication provides some helpful hints for interviewing success.

Feeling “locked out” of the job market? There are many key elements to a successful job search – research, resume writing, filling-out applications, interviewing and follow up. The job interview puts you on the spot to show your key strengths. Unlock the door to successful interviewing by following these keys:

  • Plan and prepare carefully
  • Present your strengths clearly
  • Be prepared for questions
  • Be effective in your follow up

Plan and prepare
Learn about the company or organization that is interviewing you. The employer will be impressed that you took the time to research the company. It also saves the interviewer time in explaining the company history.
Find out all you can about the company. What does it make or do? How long has it been in business? What’s the market for its services or products? How stable is it? What qualities does it look for in its employees?
Answers to these and other questions may be available from company literature, your local library, business associations, local newspaper files, or employees of the company.

This is also your opportunity to screen the company’s potential as an employer. The first day or week on the job is not the time to learn of major drawbacks that will leave you unhappy with the choice you made.

You should also find out, if possible, the name of the person who will interview you. Then say it often enough to yourself that you will be able to remember it easily during the interview. You should also know beforehand, if possible, whether the interviewer will be your boss, if you are hired.

One way to keep all this information together is to maintain a separate sheet on each company and position, noting the date, time and place of the scheduled interview. This could be followed by your research notes on the company, the questions you have about the company and the position for which you are applying.
Think about yourself — the kind of person you are, the things you are really interested in, the things you do well (and don’t do well), your past training and experience, your likes and dislikes, and your employment goals.

Get materials ready so that you will be prepared for the interview. Have a copy of your resume and your references. Make certain that you have prepared a few questions to ask the employer. If applicable, bring samples of your work, school transcripts or copies of letters of recommendation. And, of course, be sure that you have the correct address and time of your appointment.

Dress and grooming are important and often critical factors in an employer’s hiring decision.
Despite an apparent trend toward more freedom of expression in today’s society, many employers have dress codes.

With most employers, first impressions still count. Poor personal appearance and careless dress at an interview are major factors leading to the rejection of applicants.

Here is a grooming checklist to use before job interviews:

  • Hair should be neatly combed, or appropriately arranged.
  • Be clean-shaven or trimmed.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and highly-spiced foods, such as onions or garlic, prior to your interview.
  • Teeth should be brushed and breath fresh.
  • Wear clean clothing.
  • Clothes should be pressed and neat looking.
  • Shoes should be shined.
  • Face, hands and fingernails should be clean.

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