5 September 2007

Interview Preparation

I had an interview at 11 in the morning, but I had been so busy with my job, my daughter was getting married and my father was ill in the hospital. I just didn’t find the time to bring my clothes to the dry cleaner and worse than that I had an inch of grey roots showing and hadn't coloured my hair. I finally decided that they would just have to take me as I was because I didn't have the time to do everything I knew I should be doing to prepare for this interview.

It ended up I did get the job. They mustn't have noticed my roots or wrinkled suit, or I completely wowed them with my skills and humour, but this definitely was not the way to go to an interview.

How important is it what you wear to the interview? The first thing the potential employer will see when you walk in the door is what you are wearing and first impressions do count. A business suit is always appropriate.1

In order to do well in an interview you need to make that very important first impression and know how to conduct yourself during the interview. Are you relaxed and confident or uptight and nervous? Which is all well and good to say, but how do you get to the place where you are relaxed and confident and how do you make that good first impression.

I have found the key is to be prepared. Go over some possible interview questions and answers. There are some websites that give sample interview questions. Check them out. Go over the questions, no matter how silly some of them seem, believe me, they ask them. Get a friend or family member to ask you questions and practice your answers.

Dalhousie University has some good sample questions and possible answers on their website, but try and make the answers your own. Click here.2

It is also good to be familiar with what the company does. Research the company where you are applying. Most companies have a webpage that will give you a good idea of what they do.

Probably most importantly, you need to read the job posting and determine if your skills match the requirements for the job and if you think you will be able to meet the challenge. If you think you will, then you can go confidently into that interview knowing you can do the job and that will come across to the people interviewing you. If your skills fall short of what is required for this particular job posting, you might want to pass this opportunity by (at least this time around), but you can always take courses and learn the required skills or upgrade your present skills for the next time.

One thing I think people forget when they go for an interview is that the company has to sell you on the job as well. I ask questions on any interview I go on. I want to know if I want this job. Have a list of questions prepared. You need to interview them as well.

Before you go into the interview, take a few deep breaths. When you walk into the room greet the interviewers, give a firm handshake and have good eye contact.

Anything you can do to set yourself apart from everyone else will help. Send a thank you note or card to those who interviewed you. It will be noticed.

I never feel an interview is a waste of time whether I am successful or not, I can always learn from the experience and see what the expectations are and what the job market is like.

Louise Giordano, a career advisor, says, "There is no one "best" way to prepare for an interview. Rather, there are specific and important strategies to enhance one's chances for interview success. Every interview is a learning experience, so learning that takes place during the preparation and actual interview process is useful for future interviews".
For the complete article please click here.3

here 4 for a good overview on interview preparation.
here 5 for the Service Canada website on Interview Preparation.

1 Career Services at Princeton Unversity, Dress for Interviews and Career Fairs, http://web.princeton.edu/sites/career/Undergrad/JobSearch/dress_code.html, (accessed September 5, 2007)
2 Dalhousie University, Possible Responses to Some Typical Interview Questions, http://staffingservices.dal.ca/Interview%20Preparation/Responses.php, (accessed September 5, 2007)

3 Giordano, Louise, The Ultimate guide to Job Interview Prepration, http://www.quintcareers.com/job_interview_preparation.html, (accessed September 5, 2007)
Dalhousie University, Interview Preparation, http://staffingservices.dal.ca/Interview%20Preparation/, (accessed September 5, 2007)
Service Canada, Prepare for the Interview, http://www.jobsetc.ca/content_pieces.jsp?category_id=303, (accessed September 5, 2007)

See the link list on the right "Job Search Helps" for a summary of helpful links.


Jobs said...

Interview…. Just by listening to this word, numerous questions crop up in your mind.

What to prepare for it?? How to conduct yourself in front of the panel?? Or How to mark the very crucial first impression in your favour?? Interview process has gone through a sea of changes over the years. Earlier, only one’s knowledge in his respective field was necessary to grab the job. Some straight questions were asked with even straighter answers. But now, as I already said, things are different. You need to have multiple skills set to propose your candidature for the job. Apart from your expertise in the field, you are required to know about the company, it’s operating areas, financial details, future prospects, major strengths… etc.
Read why there is a need of Researching a Company.
The questionnaire doesn’t end here. You must also have good knowledge about your self. Why you want the job? What qualities you possess those are going to help you in your new duty? What kind of personality you have?

So, again the question rises. How to prepare for it? Actually there is no standard set of rules that can be followed. It differs from person to person and from situation to situation. But be sure of the following facts:-

-Never try to fake unnecessarily in an interview. You can politely say “no” to things you don’t know.

-Be clear about your own-self. Ask questions to yourself before going for the interview.

Self inspection is the key.

Last but not the least. Every interview will enrich you in one or other way. So, don’t get disappointed if you are not the one who is appointed. Finally you will get the call!!


Patricia said...

Those are very good points. Thanks for you input.

Scarf It Up! said...

Thank you for quoting from my article on interview prep, "The Ultimate Guide to Interview Preparation." I'm glad to know that others still find it relevant.
Louise Giordano
Alumni Career Adviser
Duke University

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