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Preparing for an Interview

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

When the time comes for a job interview, most candidates are bound to get butterflies. It’s only natural, no matter how prepared you are. However, one way to feel more in control during the interview process is by slightly turning the tables.

This starts with serious preparation, and continues with conducting an interview of your own. While being nervous is part of the process for most interviewees, today we’ll discuss a few ways to reduce some of that anxiety, and to ensure that you’ve found a job worth having.

Do Your Homework

Your interviewer obviously has your résumé, and has probably spoken to your references. While they have your work history at their fingertips, the good news is that the Internet allows you to learn all about their organization—and maybe even a little about your specific interviewer as well. The Information Age places important info at your fingertips without a heavy time investment, so it’s important to take advantage. Entering an interview armed with company information immediately proves to your interviewer that you’ve taken time to prepare, so consider researching the company’s:

  • Mission statement
  • History
  • Various business lines
  • Key leaders

Meditate on Your Past Successes

Whether or not an interviewer asks a direct question about successful projects you’ve worked on, it’s important to compile a list of your greatest accomplishments. The idea isn’t to list out your successes; that would come across as arrogant. However, having examples top of mind allows you to insert them into answers, which can go a long way toward showing your experience. Specific examples will illustrate your real-world expertise more effectively. To prepare accordingly, make a list of:

  • Strengths found on past performance reviews
  • Awards or special recognitions received
  • Successful projects or initiatives you were involved in
  • Any leadership positions you’ve held

Ask Questions of Your Own

It’s important to remember that an interview goes both ways. While a company might be vetting you, it’s important to view the interview process as a way to vet them, too. Asking the right questions can help you determine if a job will be the right fit for you—especially if you’re undergoing multiple interviews within the same company, and you start to get different answers. A few potential questions you can ask include:

Can you describe the company’s culture?
What are the specific requirements for this role?
If hired, what would my short-term goals be? Long-term goals?
What type of candidate do you think would be the perfect fit for this position?

Ultimately, Evaluation Is a Two-Way Street

Often job seekers are looking for a new job to increase pay or to escape a job they don’t enjoy. Unfortunately, these two reasons can lead to desperation, which is always a bad motivation when you start the interview process. By being prepared for an interview you’ll have more confidence and have a strong chance of impressing your interviewer—but you’ll be forced to take the time to learn more about the company, too. While the interview process is designed for a potential employer to evaluate you, never forget that you should be evaluating them, too. The more you learn, the less likely you are to take a position you might regret.

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