Following Through: How to Prep for a Job Interview

You’ve just spent a solid couple of weeks handing out resumés, filling out online job applications and emailing professional contacts. All of a sudden, your cell phone rings and the caller ID shows a number you don’t recognize. Who is it? It’s a recruitment agent or hiring manager at one of the companies you applied to, and they’re calling to find out when you’d be available to come in for an interview. Your gruelling job hunt has finally paid off!

Now that you’ve landed an interview, there are a number of things that you can and should do to prep for it. Here are a few tips that I wholeheartedly recommend in order to prepare yourself for an impending job interview:

1) Make sure you have a set of business-appropriate interview clothes that are washed, ironed and ready to go. It’s also essential that you have a nice pair of dress shoes to complete your outfit. If you don’t own a pair or if you can’t locate the pair you own, I suggest making a trip to a discount shoe store like Payless Shoe Source; I went there a couple of weeks ago and found a great pair of dress shoes on sale for only $30.

2) Read up on the position in question and on the company that’s hiring as well. Explore the company website and read their mission statement over and over until you know it like the back of your hand. If the interviewer asks you a question like, “Why do you want to work for us?” your answer should reflect the goals of the company as outlined in their mission statement. The more you know about the company and the job being offered, the better your chances of making a lasting positive impression will be.

3) Set up a practice interview with a friend, family member or significant other. This will help you to mentally prepare for what you will say when asked certain questions. Encourage the person helping you out to be spontaneous when throwing questions your way. You need to be ready for anything, and will have to be able to think on the fly. The actual interview will never be the same as your practice sessions, so be prepared to deviate from the script you’ve worked out in your head.

4) Don’t stress out too much! It’s hard not to get at least a little bit worked up about what may or may not happen in a job interview, but it really won’t do you any good to stay awake until the small hours of the night worrying about it (and you certainly won’t function as well if you haven’t slept well). It’s important to keep in mind that the hiring manager must have seen something they liked in your resumé and covering letter if they took the time to call you. Someone with hiring power wouldn’t have set up an interview in the first place unless they were seriously considering you as a potential candidate for the position(s) in question. In other words, you’ve already made a positive impression—all you have to do now is follow through!

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