Preparing for and Going to an Interview
The Interview Process and how you can succeed in it!
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Preparing yourself for a Job Interview

What you should do before you go there and, how you should conduct yourself during the Interview.

The first hurdle to get a job is having the right skills, the right resume, and the right cover letter for the job on offer. If you have mastered that and are called for an interview, you are half way to having the job. But, only half comes the important interview!

The key preparation, before going to an interview is to find out as much as you can, about the company or institution you are intending to join. Look at their web site, ask friends, obtain information from any source, as early as possible in the process.

By going to an interview prepared and able to demonstrate at least a basic understanding of the employer’s business, you show that you are actively interested in that particular employer, rather than simply seeking a job anywhere. Prepare your questions in advance about the specific job you have applied for and also, about the company in general. The idea is to demonstrate your interest and knowledge in the employer and the job.

You should remember that, some candidates look fantastic on paper, but are disappointing in the interview. 

Other people have a natural talent for being interviewed. To some extent, interviewing is a learned skill.  To help you a little, we have prepared ten tips to help you show your best side, as you are being interviewed.

Ten Tips to Master your Interview

Research the industry and the company beforehand.  Use every resource to your advantage:  fellow students, professors, career-center resources, informational interviews with alumni of your school, the company’s recruitment literature and Web site, Wet Feet’s Insider Guides, and databases and Web sites such as LexisNexis and the U.S. Business Browser (usually available in libraries). There are many other directories for specialized industries.
Know what you’re looking for and why you are in the interview.  What are your values, interests, preferences? What kinds of roles and responsibilities are stimulating to you?  What are your top five criteria for choosing an employer or accepting an offer? Thinking through these issues will keep you focused in your interviews – and keep you from wasting time.
Understand what you have to offer, educationally, in terms of experience and as a person.  What makes you unique? What are your points of difference? Understand how these make you a good fit for the opportunity the employer is offering, so you can make it clear to the interviewer that you are a good fit.
Before you go to the interview think of questions they might ask and anticipate the questions.  Think about the main points you would emphasize for each potential question you can imagine the interviewer asking.  Prepare how you would handle any illegal, unfair, or politically incorrect questions in a firm but graceful manner.  And remember: If it’s on your resume, it’s fair game.
Practice an interview, learn from it and then refine and practice again. Participate in mock interviews if you can or practice on your own.  Ask for honest feedback from friends and acquaintances and work to improve. 
Be on time, enthusiastic and professional.  When in doubt, dress more formally (most of the time, a suit and tie for men, a pantsuit or jacket and skirt for women).  Bring extra copies of your resume, just in case.  Introduce yourself, give a firm handshake and make eye contact when you introduce yourself.  Show enthusiasm related to the interviewer’s.  Close the interview with a handshake and a genuine "thank you".
Develop questions for each interview examples might include: Can you give me some examples of what kinds of roles a financial analyst (or other employee, as appropriate for the position you apply) has, at the company, after two or five years? A set of questions is shown below!
Ask about next steps and the timing of the recruiting process.  If you think you’ll be invited for a second-round, this will allow you to note it on your calendar, so you can participate.
Follow up with a written thank-you note. Do not use an e-mail for that. It does not have to be handwritten, but receiving any thank you note can be a breath of fresh air.  Don’t use fancy, personalized stationary a simple note-card or nice paper will do.
After each interview, review your performance.  Keep learning and improving as you go to interviews. Write down points where you think you have to improve.

Apart from the tips above, there are some general considerations to which you should pay attention:

General Points about the Interview Process

Keep your answers as short and succinct as possible, using specific examples or scenarios to demonstrate your experience, ability and knowledge. Don't "ramble"!
Before you go to the interview, consider your long term career goals and your personal attributes. Be sure that they are not in conflict with the job on offer or with what your are asked to do.
You have to make a strengths and weakness analysis for yourself, before you go to the interview. Remember, you want to show your strengths in the best light and the better you know yourself, the better you will perform in an interview.
Be honest about your own capabilities, for example, don’t position yourself as a team player if you are a loner, (see some comments and questions you should ask yourself below) it may get you the job, in the short term. But in the long term, you will be unhappy and you will be looking for another job soon!

There are always elements you can control in an interview and there are those which are outside your control, such as, for instance, the number of people called for an interview.

Be sure that you are well prepared for the ones, which are in your control:

The knowledge about the business you join
Your enthusiasm about the job
Your general appearance and demeanor!
Your general awareness and how informed you are

Work on the ones you can control!

The use of Video Resumes in your Job Search

If you need to present yourself well and want to make a visual mark, prior to any personal interview, you could Upload or create a video resume for free at . This makes a positive impact on your future employer.

To get a wider view on how you should conduct your interview, read some of the books below. You can buy the second hand version, since most interview tips "do not go out of date". Some reading might help you improve your interview performance.

Some excellent Books on the Topic from

The Interview is a Process where you inform a potential Employer about your Interest, Intentions and what you bring to the Company. But it is also a way for the Company to inform you about them and what they offer you!

In other words, the information and the "getting to know each other" process goes both ways. Consequently, you better develop a "best fit list" for yourself, before you go to the interview. Ask yourself these questions!

In which kind of work environment do I perform best? What are the most important qualities I look for in my future Manager?
Am I a Team Player or a "Lone Cowboy" contributing to the company? Am I a mature player and take on immediate responsibility or do I still have to develop? (skills, emotions, organizational ability, leadership)
Do I want a structured, formal and regulated work environment or would I perform better in an unstructured free and open Organization? Am I capable to learn by myself (autodidactic) or do I need formal or informal instructions?
Do I need a "creative environment" to perform best or am I an "administrator"? Would I like a work environment that thrives on the growth of formal and informal close personal relationships or is that not an issue for me?
What are my most important values (relevant to the organization I work in) Do I like contact outside of the company environment or am I an "organization animal"?

The above are important issues, besides your ability to perform at the technical level of the job. Although, the current economic circumstances will make it more difficult to satisfy all the above mentioned ideal aspects, you should nevertheless aim at a best fit and identify the areas you might foresee problems.

Once you have determined the elements that are really important for you, you should proceed to make a list of questions that you would ask the human resources manager of the hiring company. While a clever HR manager will interpret that as a genuine attempt on your part to give the company the best fit, there will be many HR managers who will interpret your attempt as overstepping your "authority" and will therefore reject you as an applicant. You have to use your judgement in what you want to ask and on the topics to stay clear off, to avoid annoying a potential employers representative.

Nevertheless here are some of the questions you might want to ask.

Questions one could ask a hiring Human Resources Manager
How would you describe the organization of your company? Highly structured or free flowing? What kind of leadership qualities do you want in Managers within your company?
What are the company's five most important underlying values? What kind of individual personality characteristics are seen by the company as the most beneficial?
Describe the group of people I will join within the company? Could you describe my potential career path within the company?

Remember that the hiring manager does not want to make a mistake in hiring you. Apart from the fact that he would look ineffective, searching for another person will be expensive and might delay expansion or progress within the company. What you can and should ask will depend though in a major way on the level of the job that is on offer. Within a company, we are not all equal and we are not all equally important!

Hence you have to use your own judgement when formulating these or similar questions. Remember your overriding aim is to get the job and that the job fits with what you like to do and what you can, technically, in terms of skills and knowledge, and personality wise offer to an employer!

Books that help you prepare for an Interview

Some excellent Books about Interviewing Techniques from

The key to a successful interview is to remain natural without being casual. Using interview question and answer guides is good, but use them for what they are
"G U I D E S " only. Prehashed answers are usually recognized by knowledgeable hiring managers and they will make you sound unnatural and artificial. And don't utter phrases like "I really like working with people", they make you just sound stupid! There are many other, better, ways of saying that, without resorting to this overused statement!

Good luck!

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