BE PREPARED FOR YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW

Taking the time to prepare for an interview in advance can help you secure a job offer. What are some of the best ways to get ready to interview?

Recent studies show that applicants spend up to seven hours researching the company before their interview. Many candidates (64%) also research their interviewer. Because interviewing is often stressful, 70% of those survey practice their responses out loud, and 62% prepare anecdotes to share with the interviewer.

Here's how to research the job and company, how to practice interview questions and answers, how to dress for the interview, how to follow up after the interview, and more interview preparation tips.

Analyze the Job

An important part of interview preparation is to take the time to analyze the job posting, if you have it. As you review the job description, consider what the company is seeking in a candidate. Make a list of the skills, knowledge, and professional and personal qualities that are required by the employer and critical for success in the job.

Make a Match

Once you have listed the qualifications for the job, make a list of your assets and match them to the job requirements. Create a list of up to 10 of your assets that match the job requirements. These might include skills, qualities, certifications, experiences, professional qualifications, abilities, computer skills, and knowledge bases. You can bring up some of these assets when you explain to the employer why you are an excellent fit for the job.

Also, think of examples from past work experiences that show you have these qualities. This way, if the interviewer asks you to describe a time when you demonstrated a particular skill or ability, you will be ready. This preparation will help you be ready to answer job-specific interview questions and behavioral interview questions designed to determine if you have the knowledge, skills, and qualities needed to perform the job.

Research the Company

Before you attend a job interview, it's important to find out as much as you can about not only the job, but also the company. Company research is a critical part of interview preparation. It will help you prepare to answer interview questions about the company and to ask the interviewer questions about the company. You will also be able to find out whether the company and its culture are a good fit for you.

For a concise understanding of the company, check out the company website, specifically the “About Us” page. Get a sense of how the company compares to other organizations in the same industry by reading articles about the company in industry magazines or websites. You can also check out company reviews from clients, and from current and former employees.

Also, spend time tapping into your network to see if you know someone who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates.

Practice Interviewing

Take the time to practice answering interview questions you will probably be asked. This will also help calm your nerves because you won't be scrambling for an answer while in the interview hot seat. Try to conduct the practice interview in the same format as the real interview. For example, if it is a phone interview, ask a friend to call you to practice answering questions over the phone. If it is a panel interview, ask a couple of friends to pretend to be a panel.

If you're interviewing virtually, be sure that you're comfortable with the technology, review common job interview questions and answers, and think about how you will respond, so you are prepared to answer.

What to Bring to a Job Interview

It's important to know what to bring (and what not to bring) to a job interview. Items to bring include a portfolio with extra copies of your resume, a list of references, a list of questions to ask the interviewer, and something to write on and with. It's also important to know what not to bring, including your cellphone (or at least turn your phone off), a cup of coffee, gum, or anything else beyond yourself and your credentials.

Listen and Ask Questions

During a job interview, listening is just as important as answering questions. If you're not paying attention, you're not going to be able to give a good response.It's important to listen to the interviewer, pay attention, and take time, if you need it, to compose an appropriate answer. It's also important to discuss your qualifications in a way that will impress the interviewer.

Also, be ready to engage the interviewer. You want there to be a give and take in the conversation, so you're building a relationship with the interviewer rather than just providing rote responses to questions. Have questions of your own ready to ask the interviewer.

Follow Up With a Thank You Note

Follow up a job interview with a thank-you note or email reiterating your interest in the job. Consider your thank-you letter as a follow-up "sales" letter. Restate why you want the job, what your qualifications are, how you might make significant contributions, and so on. This thank-you letter is also the perfect opportunity to discuss anything of importance that your interviewer neglected to ask or that you neglected to answer as thoroughly, or as well, as you would have liked.

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