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Interview Preparation

The Interview

10 Tips for a successful Interview

How do you sell yourself and show your potential employer how valuable you can be to their company?

You want to make them hire you TODAY and not even THINK about other applicants. You know you’re the right person for the job, so how do you make THEM see that?

Here are 10 easy steps you can take to really make yourself shine during the interview process.

  1. First, find out everything you can about the company you’d be working for. Who are its customers? What is its mission statement? How does the job you’d be performing relate to the company’s goals? Make the effort to research your target job, and you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition. Given two equal candidates, the one who shows the most interest usually wins.
  2. Read over the job description carefully. In an interview, your job is to sell yourself so analyse your own strengths and see how you can tie the two together. If you have previous experience, make note of those times where you helped achieve a specific result. If you have had no experience, try and tie in one of your strengths to the job description.
  3. Practice for your interview. Ask a parent, sibling, or best friend to be the interviewer, and give him or her a sample list of questions to ask you. There are ways to handle each question you are asked. If you know how to answer them before you're in the interview, your confidence will be greater.
  4. Body language is also very important. Hand and arm movements shouldn’t be too large. Don't fiddle. Your posture should be relaxed, but alert. Sit up straight and don't slouch! If you look bored in the interview, the employer may think you will be bored in the job as well. Communicate interest and energy, and just try to be yourself.
  5. First impressions count. Look well groomed and dress appropriately. The way to dress is the way you would dress if you got the job. If you don’t know what that is, ask. If you can’t get any information on the company's style of attire, dress a little more formally.
    It should go without saying that you should arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the interview. Getting there early allows you to take a few deep breaths, organise your notes and refresh your memory on a few points. You’ll feel better about yourself, and you’ll be more relaxed in the interview. So leave plenty of time, and get there early. It gives you a psychological edge.
  6. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and maintain eye contact throughout the discussion process. Be enthusiastic, confident and outgoing. Show a sincere interest in the people you meet and the work you would be doing. Interviewers can tell if you’re not genuine!
  7. You’re going to be asked some questions, but there are some tricks to answering them well:
    - Give short answers with strong points.
    - Look the interviewer in the eye when you’re answering.
    - Think about the question before answering it, if you don’t understand just ask for some time to think about it. A little humour never hurts either.
  8. Usually at the end of an interview, you’ll be asked if you have any questions. If you don’t ask something, it can be taken as a sign of lack of interest . . . so prepare some questions before the interview.
    Be sure you know what the next steps are after the interview. Are they going to contact you? When do they think they can do that? Would they prefer you to follow up with them? How is the best way to do that?
    The end of the interview is also a good time to show how interested you are in taking the process to the next step and why you think you’d be the perfect candidate for the job. Do not beg for the job, but let your positive energy and enthusiasm win the day. Upon leaving, shake their hand confidently, and don't forget to thank him or her.
  9. This is the most important step. No matter what anyone says, you can’t pretend to be someone you’re not. In the interview, let who you really are shine through. Trained interviewers spot actors quickly. Be proud of that precious collection of talents, motivations, and skills that make you the individual that you are. Believe in your ability to learn, grow, and develop, and act accordingly. Show "the real you", sense of humour and all, and you'll be well on the way to getting hired.
  10. Your interview isn’t over when you walk out the door. suggests that as soon as you get home; write a short thank-you email to your interviewer. Mention that you appreciated the time they spent with you. If you’d like to add something you forgot to say, this is the time.

    You’d be surprised how many candidates never offer this simple bit of courtesy. Send a thank-you email, and you’ll stand out in the crowd.



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