Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preparation: What to Bring to a Job Interview

When you learn that a company or organization wants to interview you, on the phone or over skype or even in person, you may experience moments of excitement followed by moments of nervousness and even self-doubt.

That's ok. It's ok to do your "I have a job interview" victory dance and it's even ok to feel so nervous that you want to lock yourself away from the world to research and practice until the interview. Wherever your reaction may fall on this spectrum, it is crucial that you PREPARE for the actual interview. Here are a few helpful tips:

-Review the job description: one of the best ways to know if you are qualified for a job is to, well, read what the qualifications are that a company desires in a person who would fill this position.

-Review the company or organization: this is your chance to figure out how you would fit into the organization. Carefully read through the mission and vision statements, look at their portfolio, read about them in the news.

-Review your resume and portfolio: remind yourself who you are and how you fit into this company. What skills, interests or experiences do you have that would make you a great fit for the job?

-Practice answering "typical" interview questions: while it is virtually impossible to know exactly what an interviewer will ask, it's important to do your homework. If the company is passionate about helping the community or caring for the environment, there is a great possibility that an interviewer might ask you questions about those topics. And be prepared to answer those typical interview questions: strengths, weaknesses, where do you see yourself in 5 years, tell me about a time when you..., how did you find out about this company/opening.

-Figure out how to get there, on time!: arriving at your interview location on time (or a bit early) requires careful planning. The person who contacted you about the interview might tell you how to get to the interview location, and sometimes even where to park, but they also might not give you this information. You may have to ask for these details- and you should! If you are traveling to a different city or state, make sure that you give yourself time for construction, getting lost, and other unpredictable  time-gobbling situations. If you are close to the location, I recommend a drive by. Sometimes maps and directions can be confusing and even inaccurate, and you don't want that to be your excuse for being late to an interview. You don't want to start your interview with a need to apologize!

-Select your interview outfit: it may seem odd to pick out an outfit ahead of time, but (believe me!) this is a helpful step to take before the big day. You don't want to be late to an interview because you couldn't decide on a color of shirt or choose between pants or a skirt. Choosing an outfit, ahead of time, will not only save you time- it will also provide a great boost of confidence!

Preparation is a key step in the interview process- but it's not everything! It is, however, an important thing to bring into a job interview. Gaining knowledge about the job, the organization, yourself, the interview, how to get to the interview, and even what you will wear to the interview will help you be (or at least seem) a confident and knowledgeable candidate for the job!

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