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Preparing for an interview

Preparing For An Interview

Do your homework

Research the company beforehand so that you can showcase that knowledge during the interview. This will boost your credibility with the interviewer and will help you to formulate intelligent questions to ask him or her.

Know where you are going

Make sure to find out where the office is and how to get there. Do you know how long the trip will take? Do you have the name and phone number of the person you'll be meeting with? Do you know how easy it is to park? Save yourself time and unnecessary stress by figuring all this out before heading to the interview.

Look the part

Your clothing should be neat, pressed, and professional looking. As it can be difficult to know the culture of the environment beforehand, err on the side of conservative. Even if everyone's wearing jeans when you arrive, you're still probably better off having shown up in the suit. However, don't be afraid to inject some personality into your look, and don't neglect the details; make sure to have a fresh haircut and clean, manicured nails.

Cover any tattoos and avoid gaudy jewellery. Definitely limit pierced jewellery to ears only. Do not wear nose or tongue jewellery.

Rehearse beforehand

Prior to your interview, prepare answers to common questions the interviewer is likely to ask, such as 'What are your strengths and weaknesses?', 'Why do you want to work here?', 'Why should we hire you?' and the ever popular - 'Tell me about yourself'. Conduct a mock interview with a trusted friend as practice.

Arrive early

Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview. Visit the restroom and check your appearance in the mirror. Announce yourself to the receptionist to let him or her know that you have arrived and that you have an appointment. Turn your cell phone off so it doesn't ring during the meeting.

Bring necessary documentation

Make a checklist of documents you will need for the interview and make sure you have them with you before leaving home. These documents may include extra copies of Curriculum Vitae, a passport and portfolio of work. If you are a recent graduate, you should also bring along your college transcripts. It is always a good idea to bring a notepad and pen so you can make notes.

During the interview

  • Being too modest during an interview is one of the most self-defeating mistakes you can make. This is not the time for humility, so sing your praises. Don't be afraid to talk up everything you've accomplished, whether in school or in previous companies. This is your time to shine.
  • Talking too much. Be careful not to talk over the interviewer. This meeting should be a two-way conversation, and many interviewees cover up their nervousness by blathering on. Sit calmly and listen carefully, answering the questions thoughtfully.
  • Focusing on salary. Don't start talking about money too soon into the interview. Focusing on your salary requirements and previous salary history right off the bat may cause you to reveal too much. Whilst the topic of salary will certainly come up, follow the interviewer's lead. He or she may be saving that topic for later conversation.
  • Trashing a previous boss! If you were laid off or fired from a previous position, be prepared with an explanation that puts a positive spin on the circumstances.

Failing to ask questions. Your Curriculum Vitae may be impressive on paper, but employers also appreciate candidates who can ask several intelligent questions during an interview. Prepare at least 3 or 4 questions in advance to ask the interviewer. Interviews are an exchange of information, and not having questions to ask can reveal a lack of preparation.

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