Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Interview Preparation

Preparation for an interview is considered by some to be the most important part of your job search. The interview can be stressful, but your performance and the interviewer’s perception of how prepared you are will most likely be the determining factor on whether or not you receive a job offer.

After identifying potential candidates for a vacancy, an employer must conduct an interview to determine if you are the right person for the job. The interview is your opportunity to convince the employer that you are the best choice. Your résumé helped get your foot in the door; now you have to clinch the deal. By being prepared, you will boost your confidence, and be able to portray your value to the employer with ease.

Being prepared incorporates planning, and a variety of strategic actions on your part. Take note of some of the things you can control as you get ready for the scheduled interview.

Be Organized. Make sure you prepare a portfolio with all of your documentation. Include additional copies of your résumé and references, copies of certifications and licenses, educational transcripts, and any letters of recommendation. Don’t forget to bring a couple of pens and a note pad.

Research. Know the job, know the employer, and know the company. Most companies have a website where you can learn about their history, mission statement, goals and products or services. Become as familiar as you can with the information available. For those companies that may not have a place to research online, you can visit the establishment and speak to employees, or make a few calls to learn more about the establishment. Business owners take pride in their company, and by portraying your knowledge about their services you will impress the prospective employer with your initiative and sincerity in seeking employment with them. Know the current salary range in your area for the occupation you are seeking.

Are you a good match? Take the time to know exactly what qualifications the position you are applying for requires. Know the areas you are proficient in, and identify the areas you may not be as familiar with. When you are asked about your qualifications, be prepared to respond with enthusiasm about your strengths, and be able to identify how you intend to overcome areas of weakness. Think of the interview as a sales meeting. You are selling yourself (product) to the employer (buyer). You must be able to portray your overall value during the interview.How will you answer? You know that you will be asked a variety of questions. Spend some time reviewing the most common interview questions prior to the meeting, and think of how you would respond. Even if the questions you review are different from the ones you are actually asked, your preparation will increase your confidence level, and enable you to respond more effectively. Listen carefully to questions, and consider your response before answering.

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