Job Interview Tips – Questions & Answers for Success in Your Job Interview

March 2, 2009

Job interview stressing you out? Job interviews can be daunting for even the most confident applicant but interviews can be manageable and even enjoyable if you are well prepared.  Today we’ll look at ten job interview tips that can help you get your next job.

Your online resume and job skills helped you get the interview, now it’s time to make your case in person. If you have a big interview coming up, it’s time to stop fretting and start prepping; these interview tips might help:

Do your research.
You need to be prepared to demonstrate that you have solid knowledge of the company, its business and its challenges. Check out their website, and study all of their press releases and what they seek to accomplish as a business. Chances are you will be asked the important question, “Why do you want to work for our company?” or “What do you know about our business?” Failing to show that you have done your research will tell your interviewer you didn’t care enough to take the time to prepare.

Shut up and listen!
While you will be anxious to tell the interviewer all about your professional career, don’t be so chatty that you miss important signals and messages from the other person. You’ll need to present your story in the context of what the interviewer is looking for. Listen for clues and adjust.

Remember what’s in your resume and cover letter.
Re-read your resume before you go to your interview and be able to talk intelligently about anything and everything included. You want to sound sharp if the interviewer brings up something in your resume.

Know how your qualifications relate to the company’s needs.
It is not enough to just be prepared to talk about your skills and qualifications. You need to relate your skills to the company’s needs. Examine the job description before the interview. Then identify the skills needed for the job and think of how your qualifications relate to those skills.

Don’t forget to prepare for telephone prescreen interviews.
When I was searching for jobs, I had about three phone interviews that caught me off guard. It’s a double-edged sword, because I didn’t feel prepared, but I also didn’t want to lose the opportunity when an employer called me. Prepare in advance for phone interviews just as much as you would any other interview opportunity. Many companies are now conducting phone interviews before they grant an in-person interview as a method of whittling down their pool of candidates to save time.

Practice.
The best way to be prepared for an interview once you have done your research is practice. Think about potential interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” “Why are you leaving your current employer?” and “Why should we hire you?” You should also be prepared for behavioral questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you had a problem at work and came up with a way to solve it.” Practicing with your significant other is always a good way to prepare for interviews.

Save the salary talk for later.
Discussing money is always tricky, and it is best to save the talk about salary for later, once you have received an offer.

Have a list of questions for the interviewer.
Almost every interview will end with this question: “So, do you have any questions for us?” Be sure to develop a list of questions to ask before you go to the interview. Do not ask questions that are clearly answered on the employer’s Web site and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. Instead, ask specific questions like “What is the organization’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in?” or “Could you explain your organizational structure?”

Be confident.
If you are in for an interview, the company has seen something in you that is attractive. Now you just need to believe in yourself and let your talents shine. Balance confidence with being too cocky. Don’t come across as a know-it-all.

Follow up.
Your best-laid interview plans will go to waste if you neglect to follow up with your interviews. Send a thank-you letter immediately after your interview that reiterates positive characteristics about yourself and, if possible, refers to some part of your conversation. E-mail is a little less personal, but it’s the most common way to shoot a thank you to the hiring manager, because it is the quickest and easiest way to do it. Check out my article about the importance of following up with people.

Job interviews can be stressful but if you prepare for them you can really make yourself stand out from the other candidates. Don’t forget, your resume got you in the door, but your interview skills will likely land you the job.

Erik

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Erik

Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who’s been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.


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Comments

6 Responses to Job Interview Tips – Questions & Answers for Success in Your Job Interview

  • Nate @ Debt-free College

    I would say that the best way to get a good job is to be sincere. Do not try to be someone else. If you do not fit the job, do not apply. If you get a job that you do not fit, you will feel uncomfortable the whole time that you have the job.

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