6 Professional Tips on How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Written by Sam on . Posted in Career Advice. 9394 views.

I’ve conducted hundreds of job interviews in my time and have seen my fair share of what works and what doesn’t. While things like eye contact, appearance and personal hygiene are all important, they’ve been talked about before.  We’re going to get into some suggestions for those of us who are looking for a middle to higher level position.

Having reached the interview process your resume is most likely in order and your qualifications are already known.  Now it’s time to spend some time preparing for ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates who may have the same or better qualifications.

Here are 6 ways to increases your chances of getting hired:

  1. Do your homework.  Now that you’ve landed the interview, do your research.  Familiarize yourself with relevant company facts and recent company news. Be prepared to answer questions about the latest press release or the latest product.  Your interviewer will assume you’re familiar with the company – don’t fall into the “un” trap of looking uninterested and uninformed by being unprepared.
  2. Asking questions is the answer.  In doing your homework to prepare for any questions you may be asked, identify questions you’d like to ask yourself.  Who cares if you get your questions answered, simply asking the questions will set you apart as a more motivated candidate.
  3. I’ve never hired someone I didn’t like – be personable.  Chances are your interviewer is a regular person with a family, interests in sports or music.  Don’t be afraid to connect by answering or asking personal questions.  Showing a respectful sense of humor can also further your chances of being liked.  Identify some topics of conversation before hand that you could throw out there to start up a relaxed dialog.
  4. How will you be remembered?  On average in 2012, 15 people were interviewed for every 1 job opening.  While you’re going to spend time preparing to look qualified and professional, also identify how you’re going to stand out from the other 14 candidates.  In the past I’ve tried to come across as likeable and relaxed – this corresponds with being able to work well with others.  What would be appropriate for you industry?
  5. Close the deal.  The most stressful part of a job interview can actually be the uncertainty after the interview is over.  For your own peace of mind don’t be afraid to ask what’s the next step, when they expect to fill the position or if they’re also interviewing internally.  This gives the interviewer a chance to provide you with feedback.  Most likely you’ll be able to pick up on if you’re going to advance to the next round of talks or if you’re going to be blown off.  Your time is valuable – don’t waste it chasing a job that is never going to be filled (or is destined to be filled internally).
  6. Energy and persistence conquer all things.  Make sure to follow up.  I appreciate it when a candidate emails me to thank me for taking the time to talk with them.  Most of us are very busy and occasionally lose track of time or forget to immediately respond.  Stay on the interviewer’s radar by following up, as appropriate.

What’s something that has worked for you in the past?  Feel free to leave comments below to provide incite for potential candidates and interviewers.

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Comments (3)

  • Helen Campbell

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    Excellent advice! Thanks

    Reply

  • Robert

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    I have to comment on your last point here, about emailing the interviewer(s). I have done quite a bit of interviews in the past, and the ones who have followed up with an email, have never gotten the job offer. However, I find it to be people who kiss butt, and I have never been one who appreciates the appropriate butt kissing to get a head. So that very well may just be an opinion I hold, and the follow up email may just get you the job…and you may be required to kiss butt once you are hired to stay on the managers good grace. However, if you do email as a follow up, keep it very short and simple, a “thank you for your time, best regards” email. Although, if you are a strong candidate with the right skills and very personable, a follow up email will not be required.

    Reply

    • Sam

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      I agree Robert. I’ve never been a fan of “kissing butt” nor the employers who prefer it. You make a great point of keeping a follow up short and sweet – just a little something to emphasize how you’re interested in the position.

      Reply

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