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Job Interviews – are you prepared?

Job interview advice

The unemployment rate is high and jobs are few and far between. We all know this. You’ve submitted endless copies of resumes both by mail and online. You’ve completed endless job applications. Hopefully you are now beginning to receive requests for interviews. But before you head out to meet with your next potential employer stop and think:  Are you ready for the interview?

The most impressive resume or expertly completed job application will get your foot in the door, but how you present yourself will close the deal. An interview is your opportunity to sell yourself in person. If you show up in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt, sit slumped in a chair and say very little the employer will conclude the interview in very little time. The first impression you give will make or break your chances of being hired for the job. The following common sense, but often ignored, tips will help you make the most of any interview.

You should bring some important documents with you to your interview. Having these will avoid delays in hiring should the interview result in a job offer. Be sure to bring the following with you:

• Driver’s license

• Resume. This will help when filling out an application should you need to do so.

• At least 3 references. Properly spelled names, addresses and phone numbers are necessary.

Prepare for your interview by doing the following:

• What do you know about the company? Make it your business to research the company or organization to which you are applying. Familiarize yourself with who they are, what they do and how you can positively contribute to the work atmosphere. The internet is a wealth of information. Chances are the company will have an online profile or website. Knowing as much as possible about the company will greatly help you in determining where you and your skills can fit in.

• Prepare intelligent, thoughtful answers and questions. One of the biggest pet peeves interviewers have is candidates show little or no interest in the company. Considering these prior to the interview will avoid being caught off guard and having nothing to say. Be prepared to answer the following questions: “Why should we hire you?” “Why do you want to work for us?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Asking your own questions about the company shows an interest in what they do.

• Practice a mock interview with a friend or relative. This will give you the opportunity to fine-tune your technique, questions and answers.

The day of the interview you should:

• Dress appropriately and professionally. No jeans, t-shirts or low-cut tops.

• Do not chew gum and refrain from smoking prior to the interview. Both can be considered offensive and rude.

• Arrive early. Getting to the interview approximately 15 minutes before scheduled will show you are conscientious, responsible and punctual.

• Greet the interviewer by name and with a firm handshake.

• Use proper English and be polite. No slang.

• Sit up straight and make appropriate eye contact. Slouching and looking at the floor says you’re disinterested, bored or have something to hide.

• Ask informed, engaging questions about the company. Refer to the information you’ve researched prior to the interview. This shows your interest and knowledge of the company.

• Do not discuss salary unless the interviewer brings it up or a job offer is made. Pay is undoubtedly a consideration for you, but you don’t want it to appear as though it’s your only consideration.

• At the conclusion of the interview, again use the interviewer’s name and shake hands firmly.

One or two days after the interview, it is advisable to send a brief thank you email or note to the person who interviewed you. This is often an overlooked step, but one that gives an excellent impression of you. Some people wonder if a follow-up phone call is necessary or appropriate. The majority of human resource managers agree this is perfectly acceptable.

by Susan Barton
Susan Barton is a contributing author to several article websites such as Suite101, Yahoo’s Associated Content, HubPages, EzineArticles and others. She has also has many satisfied private clients. She welcomes questions and comments via email at or on her website,


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