Three Big Tips for Interview Prep

Great!  Your application or resume got you an interview.  Now what?  Everyone gets nervous about going on job interview or internal promotional reviews.  A little nervousness is not bad, but too much can actually hurt your job search process by making you look unprepared.  So prepare yourself both mentally and physically before the interview so the process runs smoothly and in your favor.   Below are 3 tips to help you prepare before the interview date.

1. Mentally prepare for the interview by:
  • Charting your skills to the job.  Use two-columns:  in the first list the job responsibilities, in the second column list your matching qualifications.  If there is a gap in your skills for the job, indicate what you will do soon to close the gap or how your current skills will help you close the gap.
  • Determining what in your job history matches the open position.  Look for impressive examples of work you have done in the past to provide when asked for examples during the interview.  Decide how to introduce the example and what details you will provide if asked for them.  Pick examples of both individual work and work done as part of a team so you can match the example to the interviewers question. 
2. Make a good first impression by:
  • Dressing for the career you want, not just the job.  First impressions matter.  You may not want to look overdressed, but under-dressed makes a lousy impression.  If you know someone in the company or a similar organization, ask them for ideas on how to dress.
  • Planning your appointment time wisely.  Know the route to the interview location so you can plan for detours and exits to avoid being late.  Be sure you have plenty of gas or have scheduled your ride well a head of time.  Get to the interview location a little early in case the interviewers are ahead of schedule, you can review your resume and notes.  You need to plan to stay later as well,  in case the interviews are behind schedule.  The best way to do this is ask the person who calls you, to give you the date and start time, how long the typical interview lasts.   
3. Let them know you are really interested by asking good questions about a company career by:
  • Checking their corporate website for some ideas first and then ask for clarification.  Such as  company strategy (3-5 year plans), values, and culture.  
  • Asking what a successful employee looks like in this job to start and after some time (one month, 60 days, first quarter).  Ask where the job or your skills could lead career-wise in the future (1 year from now, 3 years, etc.).
Going to your interview properly prepared will help you remain calm and respond quicker.  Being calm will make a better impression than seeming nervous or unprepared,

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