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Welcome to Youremployment.com

How to prepare for an interview

Once you’ve managed to submit a resume and cover letter that have gotten you noticed enough to warrant an interview, preparing for one comes with its own set of guidelines.

Research,Research,Research

If you don’t find out everything you can about the company and come to the interview armed with that knowledge, someone less experienced but more informed than you will. Give your prospective employer a reason to hire you by showing up to the interview with an idea of what the company’s about.

Being informed about a company means finding out specifically who they cater to (their target demographic), what their revenue stream is (if they’re stalling, growing or surging, and how you can help change it), any awards they’ve gotten, notable projects, and what the job consists of, both at the company and elsewhere.

Prepare to be Asked Anything

If you attend an interview, you’re entering into an unspoken contract that you’re accepting being asked anything and everything. Most interviewers will stick to a basic set of questions, like asking you to describe your employment history and where you want to be, why you want to leave your current position, where you see yourself in 5-10 years time, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and why you want this particular job.

Come with Your Own List of Questions

An interview is a two-way street, and the people on the other side of the desk aren’t the only ones who are curious. By asking your own questions, like what the work environment is like, what the people are like who work there, what their ideal candidate looks like, and how they plan to progress in the future, shows greater interest on your part. It also indicates that you really want to move ahead with the opportunity instead of just going through the motions.

Come with Your Own List of Questions

An interview is a two-way street, and the people on the other side of the desk aren’t the only ones who are curious. By asking your own questions, like what the work environment is like, what the people are like who work there, what their ideal candidate looks like, and how they plan to progress in the future, shows greater interest on your part. It also indicates that you really want to move ahead with the opportunity instead of just going through the motions.

Salary Requirements

The question of how much to get paid is a touchy one, as it’s actually a game of strategy and negotiation in disguise. Just like buying a car, a salary isn’t set in stone. Let the prospective employers quote a number first, then counter with you’re your own number (after you’ve done your research based on your skills, where you live, and what others are paid). Go a little higher than you’ll settle for, but keep it realistic: an entry-level sales position is never going to garner an engineer’s salary, so don’t even try. It’ll kill your chances rather then strengthening your case.

Most Asked Questions in the Interview

For the most part, employers will be asking you the same set of questions in an interview no matter where you go, making it easy to prepare for answering them as best as possible.

Past

  • 1. Tell me about a time you made a mistake or were in a tough situation, and how you handled it.
  • 2. Tell me about your previous employment history.
  • 3. What areas needed improvement in your last position?
  • 4. What did you like most and least about your previous job?
  • 5. Why was there a gap in your employment between [dates]?
  • 6. Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • 7. If you could undo any past experience at a job, what would it be?
  • 8. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond normal expectations?
  • 9. What would your previous manager say you need to improve on?
  • 10. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss.

Present

  • 1. Why do you want this job?
  • 2. What can you tell us about this company?
  • 3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • 4. How do you handle pressure?
  • 5. Who are our competitors?
  • 6. Are you a leader or follower?
  • 7. What was the last book you read for fun?
  • 8. What makes you comfortable and uncomfortable?
  • 9. Why do you make a better candidate than anyone else?
  • 10. What questions do you have for us?

Future

  • 1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10?
  • 2. Would you be willing to travel or relocate?
  • 3. Would you be willing to work weekends or more than 40 hours a week?
  • 4. How would you fire someone?
  • 5. What are your career goals?
  • 6. How can you benefit the company?
  • 7. How would you deal with an angry or upset customer or coworker?
  • 8. What would your expected growth at this company be?
  • 9. What do you see yourself liking most and least about this job and this industry?
  • 10. What are you salary expectations?

Dos and Don’ts of the Interview Day

The interview is the first face-to-face contact you’ll be making with your future employers, so you want to make sure you give the best impression possible. Below are lists of dos and don’ts to follow on the interview day.

Dos

  • 1. Prepare for the interview by learning about the company and wearing clothes that reflect the corporate atmosphere of the company.
  • 2. Bring a list of references and a copy of your resume, just in case.
  • 3. Arrive 10-15 minutes early and read a book while you’re waiting.
  • 4. Go to the bathroom before you step in the door and dry your hands with talcum powder so they’re not sweaty.
  • 5. Shake hands firmly but not with crushingly, and then keep your hands on top of the table so you look more open and trusting.
  • 6. Frame your answers in a “situation-action-result” manner, speak in full sentences, and leave the slang at home.
  • 7. Be as specific as possible when speaking about your past accomplishments, using concrete examples and comparatives to root them in.
  • 8. Ask for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. It’s better to ask them to rephrase or reframe the question than to think you’ve understood it and answered inappropriately.
  • 9. Focus your answers on how it’ll help the company, as you’re trying to win the job, not the other way around.
  • 10. Speak honestly, yet highly, of yourself because if you don’t, nobody else

Don’ts

  • 1. Be late. Google map how long it’ll take to get there and factor in a time cushion just in case anything goes wrong and when you’re early, use the time to prepare.
  • 2. Talk too much or too little. Pay attention to the question asked, and answer that and only that. They don’t want to hear your pet stories, what someone else did, or five versions of the same example.
  • 3. Badmouth past employers. It may be tempting to tell your interviewers exactly what you thought of your last boss and why you were so glad to get out, but there’s a saying: you never who are golfing buddies.
  • 4. Lie or evade the truth. If you’re asked a tough question with only a “bad” answer, such as why you got fired, spin it into a positive.
  • 5. Air your personal views. The interview is not a time to debate about politics or religion. Just stick to the topic at hand.
  • 6. Use your phone. Ignoring your cell phone for 30 minutes won’t kill you, but if you think the temptation is too great, put it on airplane mode so you don’t feel any vibrations or, worse yet, it audibly rings.
  • 7. Act desperate or rude. You’re at the job interview to knock their socks off, so convey that—politely. You also want to give the impression that you’d love to get this job, not that you need it.
  • 8. Use clichés or vague language. Stick to the facts, explain exactly and only what is asked for, and use your own voice.
  • 9. Swear. Even if your mouth can put a sailor to shame, put it on hold for the interview. The idea is to give them your best impression, not your worst.
  • 10. Forget to follow up. By calling a few days later, you’ll show initiative and stick in your interviewers’ minds that much more.

How to Take an Exit from the Interview

Knowing how and when to wrap things up can be tough, as not every interviewer will have a timer on the table that buzzes when the interview’s done.

Generally, the interview’s about to wrap up when you’re asked if you have any questions for them. At this point, you should have a list of two or three questions, such as what the people are like who work there or where the company hopes to go in the future. Keep in mind that you don’t want to spend too much time on your questions, as your interviewers took time out of their day to see you and have regular work to get back to.

Before you go, make one last “sales pitch”. It’s said that “last said, first remembered” is the most effective way of speaking, so apply that your interview, too. Mention your best skills—the ones that fit into the company’s mission and mold—and ask your interviewers if they have any concerns about your ability to do well in this job. This question is to discover if they see huge gaps or obstacles in you; if they don’t or if the ones they list are small, this is your last chance to explain how you would overcome them.

On your way out, make sure you shake hands with your interviewers and leave the door open for yourself. Firmly, but not in a pushy way, restate your desire to get the job, saying something along the lines of, “I hope you agree that this position has my name on it, as it requires [quality] and given my skills and experience, I can deliver that.” Thank them for taking the time to interview you, and remember to ask when you can expect to hear back.

Lastly, depending on the type of job you just interviewed for, send a follow up email or call, thanking them again for the interview. Subtly re-express your desire for the position, but don’t outright say so. Keep it brief, sign off, and wait for that call to come in.

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