briefcaseThe interview; you finally got a call back and now you are preparing to make your case and to show your potential to a perspective employer. You know that you are one of several being considered, so how do you get an edge? What will make or break your chances with the interviewer? Well there are some basics that you need to take with you as you make the final preparations.

Interview Preparation-First impressions matter

In order to make your first impression your best impression you must prepare yourself. It is really simple.

When preparing to be interviewed either in person or by telephone there are some basic things to consider. This is to begin with a time of interaction. Be a good listener and a clear responder. There is no need to be tense. Be relaxed as much as possible. If you have thought it out and even rehearsed your questions and possible responses to their questions, you will be less apt to feel uncomfortable. This is not a debate session, just a chance to get to know the company and for the company to know you. This is much like the presidential debates when candidates are selling themselves to you and asking you to hire them as a leader of our country.

Know your worth- Back to the basics

This is what you need to be able to bring to the picnic so to speak. It’s what’s in your basket!

It’s all about you at this point and being able to convey why you are knocking at their door. These are things to ponder and practice your thoughts and responses before you get to the interview.

Be able to speak about who you are when it comes to your abilities and why someone would want you as an employee. Why are you applying? Why are you looking for a new position?

What do you know about their company (do your homework) and the position that they are offering? Is it what you are looking for in a career? Does it move you toward your goals?

Do you know what the job entails and it’s requirements including the pay and benefits? What is your current employment status? What is your current salary? [It is good to look at the job market and look at salary range and consider your skills and experience levels versus the pay for that position in your market. Have a pay scale figure in mind. Most applications have that as a question on their application]

Do your skills match their needs and expectations and requirements to do the job?

What about you? What do you consider as your strengths? Be able to address anything that may impair you from doing or having skills or knowledge and your willingness to learn or move ahead to acquire what you need to do the job.

Interview questions for the employer: What are their needs and how can you fill them?

First and foremost you should know who the interviewer is and what position that person has with the company. If you have a name before hand and are on a networking tool like, you can look that person up to see if there is anything that you can find about them that will make you feel more at ease with them.

What position is it that they are considering for you?

Is it the one that you applied for? [By all means know what position you applied for with that company. You should always keep a running list of jobs that you apply for or at least a tickler file of jobs. Sometimes it takes employers a while to respond to your resume. Many times they have anticipated a position opening and will hold perspective employees to be interviewed and may have a long list to interview.]

It helps to have the original job posting with you and a breakdown of the duties etc that made you consider the position in the first place. [If you have what the job duties entail, you can present it and ask if there is more- be able to address those duties and any experience that makes you qualified for it if you are asked].

Are there any interview questions that are off limits?

You can ask questions during the interview that describes the position in detail.

What is motivating them to hire now?

What are their expectations of achievement and what can the position develop into at a future point? In other words is there room to grow and advance?

What do they seek in an employee that they deem successful?

What is the hiring process entail? What comes next?

You may ask about pay and benefits

Ask if they need additional details or information about you? Do you need to take a drug test, polygraph, background check, physical etceteras?

Will you be notified about whether you are being considered or if they are not interested in you as a prospect?

Be sure to prepare for an interview

Come ready. Come prepared– Be sure to bring essentials with you to an interview.

Be sure to have a list of pre-screened references with you to leave with your resume.

It is always good to have a spare copy of your resume with you and any variations with you of your resume that may have greater detail that the interviewer may need.

Also it is very important to have contact details from all previous employers such as addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and supervisors or HR details for employee’s confirmations where policy will only let them verify that you were an employee.

You should also keep certificates and any certifications, reviews, awards, etceteras in a portfolio during an interview. Also all letters of recommendations that you may have.

It is wise to bring a form of Identification such as a valid drivers license and your social security card. In some cases if you know that there is a security matter or clearance involved bring a local criminal records check if it is called for.

Veterans bring your DD-214

Bring a pen, note pad, business card if you have one

Filed under: Interviewing

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