How to Prepare for an Interview

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You have finally got an interview and it feels amazing!  Just getting to this stage in the hiring process is a huge accomplishment.  Allow yourself a quick victory dance and then get back to work.  You want to find a way to turn this interview into a job offer and the key is in your preparation.  Here are some tips that will help you set yourself up for success:

Do Your Research.  Research is one of the most important things to do to prepare for an interview.  You need to research the industry so that you have an understanding of the labour market needs and environmental factors that are impacting your industry.  You also want to be aware of trends and buzz words so that you can demonstrate that your industry knowledge is current.  After that, you should take some time to do company research.  Read through the company’s website to get an idea of exactly what the company does as well as its values, mission, and organizational culture.  Search for news about the company so that you can see what the company has been doing.  Candidates who have done their research almost always perform better at the interview.

Analyze.  The next step is to analyze the job description to see how your skills and experience measure up.  Make a list of the requirements of the job and put a check mark next to any of the requirements that you possess.  Make a list of the job responsibilities and put a check mark next to any tasks that you have done in previous jobs.  This will give you a strong understanding of the position and it will help you identify your strengths which you can then highlight in the interview.

Practice.  To perform well at the job interview, you need to practice.  That means making a list of questions that they may ask and actually answering them out loud.  You can find lists online of questions that are commonly asked at interviews.  Since you have taken the time to analyze the requirements and responsibilities of the job, you have an idea of the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position.  Practice answering questions in a way that demonstrates that you possess these skills.  You can do a practice interview with a family member, friend, networking contact, or even an employment counsellor at an employment centre like Tropicana Employment Centre.  If possible, make a video of the practice interview so that you can watch yourself and identify areas where you can improve.

Plan.  Now that you are all ready to impress at your interview, you need to figure out how to get there.  You may even want to try a ‘dry run’ where you go to the location of the interview at the same time of day so that you have an idea of how long it takes to get there.  You can also lay out the clothes you will wear and pack your briefcase ahead of time.  When you invest time in planning, you decrease the chance of having last minute emergencies on the day of the interview.

Being well prepared makes you more confident, which makes it more likely that you will impress the employer.  Give yourself the best possible opportunity to perform well at the interview and it won’t be long before you have a job offer.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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