Amid the bedeviling circumstance of a floundering economy, job seekers are finding it necessary to do all they can to arm themselves with a competitive edge.
Desirable jobs attract quality candidates, and you can bet those with a chance for landing the job have done their level best to prepare for each and every interview.
I happened across the following advice about job interview preparation, which really amounts to effectively marketing oneself. I don’t know who authored it, but it struck me as so timely and appropriate and worthy of being shared that I couldn’t help but pass it on.
So here’s a checklist of things you can do to be confident and prepared for your next job interview.
in the days before the interview
- Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, make a bulleted list of what the employer is looking for based on the job posting. On the right side, make a bulleted list of the qualities you possess that fit those requirements.
- Research the company, the industry and the competition.
- Prepare your 60-second personal statement — your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question.
- Write at least five success stories to answer behavioral interview questions (“Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a time…”).
- List five questions to ask the interviewer about the job, the company and the industry.
- Research salary data to determine your worth.
- Determine your salary needs based on your living expenses.
- Get permission from your references to use their names.
before you go to the interview
- Do you look professional? Check yourself in the mirror; part of your confidence will come from looking good.
- Carry these items into the interview:
-Several copies of your resume on quality paper.
-A copy of your references.
-A pad of paper on which to take notes. (Notes are optional.)
-Directions to the interview site.
- Prepare answers to common interview questions:
-Tell me about yourself.
-Why did you leave your last position, or why are you leaving your current position?
-What do you know about this company?
-What are your goals?
-What are your strengths and weaknesses?
-Why do you want to work for this company?
-What has been your most significant achievement?
-How would your last boss and colleagues describe you?
-Why should we hire you?
-What are your salary expectations?
- Arrive early — enter the building 10 minutes before your appointment.
- Review your prepared stories and answers.
- Go to the restroom and check your appearance one last time.
- Announce yourself to the receptionist in a professional manner.
- Stand and greet your interviewer with a hearty — not bone-crushing — handshake.
- Smile and maintain eye contact.
during the interview
- Try to focus on the points you have prepared without sounding rehearsed or stiff.
- Relax and enjoy the conversation. Learn what you can about the company.
- Ask questions and listen; read between the lines.
- At the conclusion, thank the interviewer, and determine the next steps.
- Ask for the interviewer’s business card so you can send a follow-up letter.
after the interview
- As soon as possible, write down what you are thinking and feeling.
- Later in the day, review what you wrote, and assess how you did.
- Write a follow-up thank-you letter, reminding the interviewer of your qualities.