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How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Research the Employer, Learn About Yourself and Practice Your Answers


Now that you know about the types of interviews you may have to face, it's time to get ready for them. Preparing will enhance your performance when the big day finally comes.

Research the Employer

Learn as much about the employer as you can. This knowledge will allow you to answer questions intelligently. It will also help you decide whether to accept a job offer if you eventually get one. Gathering employer information is not an easy task, especially if the employer is a small private company. Start with the company's website and official Facebook and Twitter pages. Then use other resources including US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents if the company is publicly held and articles from newspapers and magazines.

Learn About Yourself Before a Job Interview

In order to effectively answer questions on a job interview, you are going to have to know a lot about yourself and know how to present that information to an interviewer. Start by listing your attributes. Think about what you can bring to the employer. If you're having trouble with this, ask former co-workers or others with whom you've worked closely to list some traits about you they most admired—work related, of course.

Once you come up with a list of attributes, try to find some faults. You won't, obviously, spontaneously tell a prospective employer about these faults, but you may be asked to. One question that sometimes comes up in an interview is "What is something that has been a problem for you at work?" By studying your faults, you will be able to choose one that is somewhat innocuous or could be turned around into a positive.

Practice, Practice, And Then Practice Some More

You want to sound somewhat spontaneous when answering questions on a job interview but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared. If you have to take a very long pause or use filler words like "uh" or "um" before answering a question, you won't sound as confident as you should. Before you go out on interviews rehearse, not exactly what you will say, but how you will say it. Many people find it helpful to record themselves answering questions on video. Study your posture, the way you make eye contact, and your body language. If you don't have a video camera, a mirror will do. Have a friend do mock job interviews with you. The more you repeat a scenario, the more comfortable you will begin to feel with it.

Part 1: Types of Interviews
Part 3: Succeeding on the Interview
Part 4: Dealing With Tricky Questions and Post-Interview Follow Up

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Preparing for a Job Interview

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