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How to Successfully Prepare for Interviews

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A job interview is a screening tool. For the prospective employee, it's an opportunity to assess whether or not he or she wants to work for a company. For the employer, it's an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to hire a particular candidate. Both sides are looking for a match.

Interviews bring up nervous questions for job seekers, such as:
  • Will I fit in?
  • Will they like me?
  • Will they see that I am the best candidate for the position?

Interviews bring up nervous questions for employers, such as:

  • Will this candidate be a good choice?
  • Will he or she make me look good or bad?
  • Will the candidate be able to do this job?
  • Will he or she get up and running quickly?
  • Will this person follow through with what was said during the interview?

If the job seeker answers the employer's questions better than any other candidate, he or she will have a good shot at getting the job. This means being prepared. If one prepares adequately, he or she can go into a proactive problem-solving mode. So, rather than ''please pick me,'' the candidate will be able to tell a company specifically how he or she will be an asset.

So How Can You Successfully Prepare For Interviews? Follow These Five Steps Below:

1. Research, research, and then research some more. Prospective employers expect you to be well-informed about the company, its products and services, and the industry as a whole. Plan to spend quite a bit of time on the company's web site. Look at their mission statement, news releases, product releases, etc.

Read articles about what the company and the industry are going through. Speak to people who work there. Know the company's view of itself, as well as what people who don't work for that company think about it. You are looking for indications of where a company is headed and what problems the company and the industry are having. Knowledge is power. The more you know before the interview, the more confident you will be when there.

2. Know the job description intimately. If you want to do well during an interview, you have to know what the company wants you to do. This information is in the job description. Go through the bulleted list of requirements in the job description, one-by-one, and come up with an example of how you have successfully done what they are looking for in either your current or past positions.

3. Make a list of questions you may be asked during the interview. List questions you can easily answer as well as those you wish would not be brought up, but that you know will be. Go through each question and write out your answers for each.

4. Know who is going to be in the room. A job interview can be with one individual or with many. You want to know who will be attending. This way, you can gear your answers towards addressing subjects which are important to the people with whom you will be meeting. Each interviewer will want to know how hiring you will make their life easier. List each individual, their job title, what they are responsible for, and what you believe they will gain by having you employed there.

5. Know what the job is paying or what your position is worth. Inquire what the position is paying before you go into the interview. If you cannot find out, know what your position is worth by checking out salary sites on the web. Don't let a paid service stop you. Look into salary surveys done by associations in your targeted industry. Look at similar job ads, and not just for companies located near where you are located. Look for those ads that list salaries. You could be paid more — thousands of dollars more — if you know this information.

I have had clients ask me if all of this preparation is necessary and worth the effort. My answer is yes. A prepared impression is a good one. If you try to “wing it”, your nervousness can get the better of you. This means you will not come across well in your interview.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

About the Author

Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is the President of Surpass Your Dreams, Inc. a successful career, life, and mentor coaching company that works with Senior Executives, Vice Presidents, and Managers who are looking for new career opportunities or seek to become more productive in their current role. She is the author of Don't Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job, Coach Yourself To A New Career, and How To Feel Great At Work Everyday. Deborah can be reached at

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