Monday, July 23, 2012


In preparing for job interviews, you should keep one question uppermost in your mind: Why should they hire me over all the other candidates? 

You need to be fully prepared for the interview. Preparation will give you a sense of confidence, which is critical during the interview. In addition, the preparation will enable you to focus on the job requirements and how your skills and experiences match those requirements. Here is good advice from Abraham Lincoln on preparing for interviews. He said: “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say”. When preparing for interviews, your primary focus should be on researching the employer, reviewing the job requirements, and anticipating the questions they are likely to ask you during the interview.

The following are some suggestions to get ready for an interview.

·         Confirm arrangements: Get confirmation of the time, date, location, and a contact phone number. Also get the names and titles of the persons who will interview you. If you received a confirmation letter or e-mail, take it with you. Ask whether you will need to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to the interview. If so, ask for a copy so that you can carefully review the agreement.

·         Learn about the job: You should study the job description, and understand the principal responsibilities and requirement. You should have a clear picture in your mind of the requirements and how your skills and experiences match those requirements. You want to highlight those parallels during the interview. If you did not have the job description when you were preparing the cover letter for your resume, ask the person scheduling the interview, to send you the job description prior to the interview. Most employers will readily comply with your request, and they will be impressed with your interest in learning more about the opportunity. You might want to find out how long the position has been vacant, and why the person in that position left. If it is a new position, try to find out the reason it was created and what results are expected. Also, try to find out who will interview you first and what additional interviews are expected. You should try to get as much information as possible about the persons who will interview you.

·         Learn about the company: You should do research about the employer organization. This is an essential step for interview preparation. You should know about the company’s mission, values, history, management team, major clients, and operating results. You should find out how long the company has been around, and what is its history. What are their plans and objectives?  Such information is usually available on the company’s website, trade directories, and in annual report for a public company. Learn as much as you can about the organization. This will enable you to effectively respond to questions during the interview, and also to ask intelligent and appropriate questions. Employers expect you to know information about the company before you appear for the interview.

·         Plan appropriate clothes for the interview: This depends on the industry and the job for which you are interviewing. A two-piece matching business suit is usually appropriate when you are interviewing for a professional position. When in doubt, ask the person who is scheduling the interview about the attire that would be appropriate for your interview.

·         Prepare documents to take to the interview: You should take with you the confirmation letter you received for the interview, extra copies of your resume, job description for the position, and a pad in a holder for taking notes.

·         Anticipate questions and have your own list of questions to ask:  The employer’s objective is to evaluate the candidate’s skills, qualities, and experience level as related to the job requirements. Your objective is to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate for the position. Your response to each question should be clear and relevant to what is being asked. You should grasp the question before starting to answer it. If you do not understand the question, ask for clarification. Provide a concise answer, and ask the interviewer if further details are needed. Focus on your strongest skills and experiences as they relate to job requirements. You should always be honest during the interview. Never say something that you know is not true.