What special attire, skills, and training do you think could make the difference when looking for a job? The answer is complicated, but we can offer a few tips that can help you prepare and make the most of your interviewing opportunities.
In many ways, an interview is like a test: it is a series of questions designed to help the interviewer decide whether you are the right candidate for the job. But, unlike a test you have to dress for success when you go on an interview.
Classic attire is the safest way to go and unless you are interviewing for a very unusual job you would do well to follow the advice in our article titled Understated Chic Diane Keaton Style
With respect to preparing for the interview, once you have dressed for success, there are a number of things you can do to be more prepared than you competition. Here are some tips that can help you:
Research the Company
You prepare for an interview in much the same way as you prepare for an exam, by learning everything you can about the subject in advance. There are four elements you need to learn about a company:
- What does the company do?
- Who are their customers or clients?
- Who are their major competitors?
- What is their standing in the industry?
Much of this information can be found online or in the library. Visit the company website and any related blogs. Search the trade journals and business papers for articles. Know your target audience, before you walk in the door.
Find Out Who Is Interviewing You
You should know some basic information about the interviewer beforehand:
Learn About the Job
And of course, you need to know as much as possible about the position:
Anticipate and Prepare for Typical Questions
Now that you have an interview scheduled and have done your homework about the company, it’s time to practice for the interview itself. Although you will never know in advance which questions you will be asked, it is safe to assume that you will have to answer some if not all the questions below in some form:
- · What are your strengths?
- · Why should I hire you?
- · Why do you want to leave your current job?
- · How has your education and experience prepared you for this job?
- · What have you done outside of formal education to prepare for this job?
- · Why did you choose this profession?
- · What sets you apart from the other candidates we have interviewed?
- · Where do you see yourself in three to five years?
How You Answer is as Important as What You Answer
With this in mind, you can prepare to answer even the dreaded negative questions, such as: “What is your biggest weakness.” By preparing ahead of time, you can turn a potentially awkward question into an opportunity to show that you have learned from your mistakes. For example, you might say: “I used to think speed was the answer to everything, but I’ve learned that rushing can lead to errors. I’ve worked hard to become more methodical and to double check my work.”
Good listening skills are the most important asset you can bring to an interview, to your job and to life in general. Remember, every question the interviewer asks really means: “What can you do for me and are you a fit with this company, department, or division?” By asking relevant questions and really listening to the interviewer, you can address his or her specific wants and needs. When the interviewer is speaking, give your full attention.
Asking Good Questions is as Important as Giving Good Answers
The questions you ask reveal a lot about you.
- Interest Level and Enthusiasm
- Knowledge Base
- Communication Skills
Listening and asking questions are skills that you need to practice. Master them and you will set yourself apart from the competition. Use them and you will advance throughout your career!
This guidance is from a three-part series presented by Shirley Baron of Smith Hanley Associates to help you prepare for interviewing. if you would like to read the full series go to this web page: Three Part Series on Interviewing Preparation and Practice