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Job Interview

The Right Way To Prepare For A Job Interview

Being in between jobs can be one of the most frustrating times in a person’s life. Scrambling to find places that you’re qualified to work, preparing a solid clean resume, writing an engaging cover letter, and sending out dozens of emails until you get a bite, can be hard. However, you will get an interview, regardless if it’s your dream job or not, getting an interview can be half the battle, now it’s time to tackle the other half and get yourself the job. 

Interviews are basically sales pitches for yourself and your skills. Knowing how to speak about yourself in an eloquent and confident matter is important and shows potential employers that you know you’re the right person for the job, now it’s just time for them to see that. It’s also important to note that while you may be nervous, the employer your meeting with is most likely going to want to help you give the best answers you possibly can. No boss wants to see a potential employee fail due to nerves or is going to try and outsmart you during the interview process, they most likely view it as one of their daily conversations in which they’re trying to get the most information on how their company can improve with what you’re offering; in this case yourself. So don’t be worried about if the boss will like you, but instead, focus on getting the boss to like the skills, accomplishments, and talents that you already know you have. 

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A major component to nailing an interview is being fully educated and prepared for what you’re interviewing for. Regardless of the position level or title, educate yourself on the company and its history. Learn their primary goals and go beyond just “what they do.” For example, if you’re interviewing for a job at Starbucks, you’re going to need to know a little more than just they’re a place that serves coffee. Get familiar with company goals, past accomplishments, future plans for improvement, and most importantly, where you fit into all of it. 

“Start by reading the company’s website and then review its most recent press coverage. You’ll get a sense of the company’s priorities, which you can then tie in with your skill set during the interview. Not only does it give you an opportunity to demonstrate to your interviewer that you took initiative, but you’ll get a better idea if the company is the right fit for you,” said Shari Santoriello, a career specialist at career and leadership coaching company Ama la Vida. 

In the same way that you’re going to study the company itself, you also need to study the specific job description for what you’re applying for.  Many individuals believe they can use the same sort of generic responses in an interview and just slightly modify it to match the job they’re trying to get. Specificity is your best friend in an interview, so look at the exact job description for what you’re applying to, and cross reference it to your own resume. It helps to print both out and set them side by side, this way you can really see right in front of you the areas of your experience that match up with what the company is looking for. If you’re aware of the areas of cross reference as well, you’ll be better prepared to bring it up during the interview process. 

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These tips involve some level of rehearsal, which is never a bad idea when it comes to interviewing. Rehearsing answers to generic interview questions that you can expect to be asked will make you prepared for when they’re actually asked. It’s a lot harder to answer a question like “What are your strengths and weaknesses” if you don’t already have a general idea with where you’d want to go when answering a question like that. Even the simplest of questions can become difficult to answer if you don’t have anything prepared. Being put on the spot in an interview causes nerves to take over and can cause you to forget every strength you’ve ever had, and chances are you have a lot! So rehearse with a friend, family member, even the mirror and just get some basic answers prepared so you feel more reassured that you’ll be ready. 

Finally, make sure you look the part and prepare some questions for the conclusion of the interview. Employers generally love talking about the companies and operations they run, so having two to three solid specific questions about the job/company shows employers that you’re engaged and ready to learn without even being offered the job. Looking the part should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many individuals avoid this step out of fear of seeming too overdressed and eager. Never let that fear hold you back, the more overdressed you think you look, the better. Even if you’re interviewing at the most casual work environment imaginable where the whole office wears sweats and graphic tees, dressing up in a nice pair of khakis and a long sleeve button up shows your potential boss that you mean business more than the people already working for the business.