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Before the Interview

interview-prep1The effort around an interview is much more than just the hour sitting down with your interviewer. Taking time to prepare before you walk into that interview room can be the most critical time of the process. Walking into an interview with no preparation is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. The following preparations should be taken before your interview to increase the chance of success.

Research the company. One of the biggest mistakes candidates make when walking into an interview is knowing nothing about the company. Imagine sitting down to interview someone to join you at your company, and they don’t even know what the company does. Thoroughly research the company. In addition to having a full grasp of what the company does, you should also know about the people that work there, recent awards, and accomplishments the company has recently obtained.

Understand the position. Make sure you understand the position for which you are interviewing. The position may be similar to what you have been doing, but it is also important to note that every company has different responsibilities for positions. Print out a copy of the job description and bring it to your interview. Knowing the job description will open up a wide variety of ways to relate your experience to what the company is looking for in candidates.

Practice your answers. Rehearsals are required for any good performance, and an interview is no different. Practicing answers to common interview questions will help you best explain your experience.

Know the answer to the question “Tell Me About Yourself”. Whether you call it the “90 Second Interview” or the “elevator speech,” it is ultimately the answer to the question, “Tell me about yourself.” This is one of the most common questions asked in an interview because it gives the interviewer the chance to learn multiple things about you in a small period of time. This response should be rehearsed in order to get across your background and accomplishments in a matter of minutes. Most likely, this is one of the first impressions you will make and it will determine if the interviewer wants to learn more.

Know your resume and have examples. Your resume is a snapshot of your experience, and that is all it is – a snapshot. By the time you walk into your interview, the person with whom you are speaking has likely already seen your resume and now they want more. Be prepared to back up everything on your resume with examples and stories on how you solved problems and assisted with growth. Thinking of these stories beforehand will allow for a much easier interview.

Prepare questions to ask your interviewer. Asking a few questions to the employer not only helps you have a better grasp of the position and company but also shows that you are interested. This is your chance to get any questions answered about the position and company (but stay away from pay and benefits related questions in the first few interviews). When you do ask the questions, make sure to listen to the response and take notes.

Remember, when it comes to the interview, there is no such thing as being too prepared.

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