Interview Preparation: Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

Preparation is critical when you want to convey a positive and polished image in order to have a productive and successful interview. Before your first interview, there are some important steps to take to prepare yourself. Understand yourself and the positive traits that you have to offer.

  • Write down about your skills, interests, and values.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to give examples to demonstrate your strengths.
  • Think about decisions you have made, the thought process behind each one, and the outcome.
  • Identify the accomplishments that you are proud of and how you achieved them.
  • Provide examples of how you have developed your skills.
  • Explain why you are interested in a specific industry and position.
  • Define your short- and long-term goals.

Prepare your documents.

  • Make several copies of your resume and cover sheet.
  • Bring your portfolio and letters of recommendation.
  • Bring copies of your university diplomas if they are not in your portfolio.
  • Be sure you have your identification and social security card with you.

Research the employer, the position, and the industry or field.

  • Know what salary range is usual for this type of position.
  • Read current periodicals and trade journals to learn about the latest trends in the industry.
  • Review mission statements, annual reports, and company literature.
  • Find out the names of the firm’s competitors.
  • Where does the firm stand in the industry?
  • Who are their clients or customers?
  • Familiarize yourself with the employer’s organizational structure.

Practice, practice, and practice some more for the interview

  • Hire a Career Coach to review your interview strategy and help you with difficult questions.
  • Practice answering interview questions with a friend, and/or use a tape recorder to record your answers. You can critique your answers, or ask a friend to do so.

Additional Information

  • Look at the interview from the employer’s perspective. Know what they want and give examples to prove you can deliver.
  • Prepare a strategy for each interview; and share the information you feel is appropriate and relevant.
  • Stay focused; keep the conversation on the topic. Be as concise as possible.
  • Don’t dominate the interview; allow the interviewer to lead the meeting and guide the questions.
  • Ask appropriate and well-prepared questions.
  • Don’t expect an offer on the spot.
  • Be assertive, not aggressive, and be confident, not cocky.
  • Practice your firm, confident handshake.

A powerful resume = job interviews = job offers!

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