I know everyone isn’t a boy or girl scout and being prepared takes work, but if you want to get a job in today’s market where the competition is tough, take the time and be prepared. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much experience you have, if you don’t do a little homework to prepare for a job interview, someone else will most likely get that job. Here are a few suggestions to prepare for your interview: Research the company you are going to interview with. Review the company website and learn all you can about the company and position you are interviewing for. Read their blog posts and news on their website. If they have any exciting press releases, make sure to tell them you read about it and offer congratulations. Learn who their competition is and look at their websites too. Look at their investor web sites to learn what’s happening now in the news with this company. Utilizing your research skills can provide you with a lot of information which others often won’t bother to do. But it is not enough just to find the information you need to put it to work for you. Find out as much as you can about the organization so you can target your interview answers to the employer’s needs and demonstrate a real knowledge about the company. Practice Interview Questions and Answers. Take the time to review the “standard” interview questions you will most likely be asked, such as:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What is your greatest strength/weakness?
- What motivates you?
- What do people most often criticize about you?
- Tell me about your best sale and also about a sale that didn’t work out.
- What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?
- Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
Prepare your responses to interview questions ahead of time and practice, practice, practice. Be prepared to explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Review your work experiences. Be ready to support past career accomplishments with specific information targeted toward the company needs. Some careful thought and practice will ensure you’re ready with good answers to even the most difficult questions. Have questions to ask your interviewer. At the end of the interview the interviewer will always ask, do you have any questions for me? Make sure you come prepared with good questions for each interviewer. Read The top-10-list-for-interviewing for some great questions to get you prepared. These questions get to the heart of what the company is looking for in a new hire and how you can bring value to the company. Most people won’t ask these type of questions, so you will stand out from the crowd. Dress up for an Interview. You should always wear and suit and tie (or suit for women) unless the company tells you they are very casual, but even then never wear jeans to an interview. Always dress one level above the people you will be interviewing with. Decide and prepare in advance what you would wear for an interview. You don’t want to discover your suit jacket has a stain or doesn’t fit anymore on the day of the interview. Your interview clothes should be professional looking, neat and clean. Some employers notice details of your dress, and it makes an impact on their first impressions of you. Know where you’re going. Make sure to find out where the office is and how to get there. Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled time in case you run into traffic or have parking issues. Enter the office a few minutes early and don’t forget to turn your cell phone off. Take a few deep breaths and know you’re going to kill this interview. Send thank you emails. Don’t forget to get business cards from everyone you meet during the interview. That makes it easier to send the thank you emails after the interview is over. Send an email to each person you interviewed with thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest and qualifications for the position. This is another chance to sell them on “YOU” and why you would be a great person for the job. Remember, you can never be over prepared. Now go get that job.