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Preparing for a job interview


Soon a new batch of young people will be entering the workforce and it’s important to ace the interview and get the job. Too often it’s the little mistakes that make it impossible to win the job. Preparation is key and don’t take the little stuff for granted.{{more}}

Before the Interview

1. Know how to get to the interview location. If the location is unfamiliar take a trip to the general area a few days before the actual interview. Look for parking areas if you plan to drive or time your walking distance if you need to walk to the location.

2. Prepare a typed list of references and take three copies with you to the interview. Ask three people who know you well (such as counselors, a former employer, or your religious leader) if you can give their names as references. On your list, give their name, title (if any), their phone number, and how they know you. Do not EVER give a reference without asking for permission first!

3. Research the company. Find out general information about the company: what kind of business it is, who are their customers, and does it provide a service or produce a product for sale? Ask friends about the company or if they have a website check it out.

The Day of the Interview

1. Take three copies of your resume and three copies of your list of references, unfolded, in a clean, new folder or envelope. If you are not asked for them, offer one of each.

2. Go to the interview alone. Do not take a friend or relative or have anyone meet you after the interview within the interview area or the parking area. Meet or have them pick you up around the corner.

3. Arrive on time. It’s okay to arrive about 5-10 minutes early, but NEVER arrive late. Arriving more than 10-15 minutes early can be an inconvenience to the interviewer.

4. Dress for work. Look professional, clean, and well groomed.

During the Interview

1. Turn off your cell phone. You want to make a good first impression and a ringing phone will not make you look important.

2. Remain calm and relaxed. You probably will be a little nervous, but try to breathe slowly to help calm the butterflies.

3. Address the interviewer(s) by name. Unless you are given permission to use a person’s first name, be respectful and use a title (Mr. Mrs. or Ms) and last name when addressing them.

4. Avoid fidgeting. It’s distracting and makes you appear less confident.

5. Answer questions honestly. Lying or exaggerating when answering questions will only reflect badly on your character, especially if your references say something different, or if you are hired and the interviewer finds you out later.

6. Be brief and precise when answering questions. Providing lengthy answers, giving irrelevant information, or answering questions in one word (“yes” or “no”) will not present a professional image of you. Instead say “No, I don’t have any experience doing that,” or “Yes, I can start on Monday.”

7. Have at least three prepared questions. As the interview draws to a close, the interviewer will probably ask you if you have any questions. Never say “No, I do not have any questions.” Always come prepared with at least three questions to ask. Some examples might be: “What is your dress code for my job?” “What kind of training and orientation do you provide?”

“What do you think is the most important factor for me to do a good job for you?”

8. Ask for the interviewer’s business card. If at the end the interview, the interviewer has not offered you a card, politely ask for one. “May I please have one of your cards?”

After the Interview

1. Send a thank you note. Within one week of the interview, write a note saying thanks for taking the time to meet with you; include your contact information.

2. Wait to hear from the interviewer. Be patient and wait to hear if you’ve been hired. If you have not heard after two weeks, give the interviewer a call and politely ask when they expect to make a decision.

Karen Hinds President/CEO –
Workplace Success Group,
Toll Free: 1-877-902-2775;
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
A CT Winner of the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business award!
[email protected]