• Getting Hired Before the Interview

  • Summary: Guidance and tips in preparing for that job interview.

    You've been cool and calm up until this moment and making all the right moves. You've sent killer resumes, along with fantastic cover letters, out to dozens of employers. And today a prospective employer has finally contacted you for that first all-important interview. You've studied and planned for this dream position for many days; yet now you are terrified.

    What has shaken your confidence? You are suddenly finding yourself obsessing over the horrifying idea of going blank during the interview. You can't sleep well at night and butterflies appear in your stomach each time you think about the big day. Are you alone in feeling this way? 

    Certainly not. Many job seekers experience anxiety and apprehension when it comes to interviewing with a potential employer. After all, what's not stressful about selling yourself to a total stranger on why he or she should hire you for their company? It was probably an interviewee who came up with, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

    That statement holds true for job interviewing more than any other situation; but it is possible to prepare yourself for a stellar interview and to literally steal the job before you've even sat down for the interview. Learn how you can increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams with some basic tips and advice.

    Firstly, know thy audience. Do your research on the company's history and what products or services they offer. Nothing genuinely flatters an employer more than to know that someone has taken the time to understand what his or her company is all about.

    Secondly, develop a very short commercial about yourself. Put together a two-minute summary detailing your strengths, skills, and goals; then commit it to memory. This brief infomercial that is all about you serves to effectively promote and sell you to prospective employers.

    A third tip that can't be emphasized enough is to practice, practice, practice your answers to possible questions. Not only does practicing ease anxiety and instill confidence in yourself, but it can also prevent you from going blank during the interview. Some of the most common interview questions are:

       
    • Tell me about yourself.   
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    • What do you know about the services or goods our company provides?   
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    • What are your short and long term goals?   
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    • Describe your strengths and weaknesses.   
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    • What is the greatest challenge you've ever faced and how did you overcome it?   

    While on the topic of questions, develop a mental list of your own to ask the employer. After all, this could be your future employer; therefore, you should demonstrate enthusiasm and interest for the job for which you are applying. Some suggestions are:

       
    • What are the key responsibilities of this position?   
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    • What is a typical work day like?   

    But no matter how tempting, do not ask about how much money you will be making!

    A fourth bit of advice is to bring extra copies of your resume and references with you to the interview. This simple little step shows that you are conscientious; never take the chance of an employer not being able to view all of your hard work and accomplishments just because he didn't have a copy of your resume handy. 

    A fifth step that is frequently overlooked is lining up your list of references before they are contacted by a potential employer. Your list of contacts should be well-versed on your work skills and strengths and have direct knowledge of your job performance. Guarantee that you receive glowing recommendations by informing your references in advance that they may be contacted by a potential employer.

    The following is a list of do's and don'ts to go over when preparing for the job interview.

    Do:

       
    • Verify directions and parking before the day of interview.
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    • Go alone. That means no Mom or your best friend.
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    • Arrive a little early. Ten to fifteen minutes early is a good practice.   
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    • Be clean and well groomed. Ladies, avoid nail polish, strong perfume, and loud colors and jewelry. Fellows, don't use strong cologne and avoid wearing jewelry.   
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    • Smile and shake hands firmly.   
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    • Make good eye contact.   
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    • Speak clearly and use proper grammar.       
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    • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.       
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    • Take time to think about your answers.       
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    • Ask when a hiring decision will be made.       
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    • Thank the prospective employer for their time.       
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    • Write a follow-up letter to the prospective employer within one day following the interview.       
       
    • Speak too fast.       
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    • Smoke or chew anything.       
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    • Ask about salary.       
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    • Discuss personal or financial problems.       
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    • Criticize your former employers or colleagues.        

    Remember that the prospective employer has already expressed an interest in you by contacting you for an interview. Take advantage of this golden opportunity by thoroughly preparing yourself to land that dream job. You may find yourself reporting for work on Monday morning.

    "Changing Lives...One Career at a Time."

    Written by Cathy Warschaw, Director of the Warschaw Learning Institute. Offering CDs, eBooks and online training for the dental and medical field. Register for our monthly newsletter at http://www.WarschawLearningInstitute.com