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Interview tips
Interview tips Email this to a friend
The resume can land you the interview, but importantly, it is the interview which will land you the right job. Here are a few important interview tips and commonly asked questions and if you follow these guidelines, it will Increase your chances of being hired.
Review your resume
Many employers will use your resume as a source of questions during the interview. Re-read your application, thinking through your own career and the questions they might ask you, note any red flags that will have to be dealt with and if called upon, you must be able to demonstrate the skills you stated on your resume.
Research the company and position
This would demonstrate genuine interest and initiative and the interviewer would obviously know. This would help you to prepare to answer the questions "What do your know about our company"? and "Why do you want to work here?" and also to know what the average salary for this position is in the geographical area that you are in. Research as much as you can about the company size, products, services, markets, competitors, trends, current activities, growth potential, reputation as an employer, professional development opportunities and benefits.
Prepare and practice answering interview questions
The objective is not to memorize your answers but to review them and be familiar and confident with them. This will help give you a framework for your responses and will help calm your frazzled nerves, because you won't be scrambling for an answer while you're in the interview hot seat.
Prepare good questions to ask at the interview
The interview process is a two-way street whereby you and the interviewer assess each other to determine if there is an appropriate match. Write out any specific questions you want to ask. Then look for opportunities to ask them during the interview. You should prepare at least five insightful questions about the job, the company, and management. Don’t ask about benefits or salary until they bring it up themselves.
Identify what you have to offer
Know what skills the job requires and explain how your qualifications or strengths match those skills and relate to the company’s or department’s goals and how they might benefit the potential employer. Think of specific events that demonstrate you have the required skills and support these with concrete quantifiable data.
Scheduling or canceling the Interview
You should call the day before the interview to verify the time of your meeting.  In the event of an emergency, notify the employer within 24 hours of the scheduled interview, if you need to cancel the appointment.
Know the name of the interviewer
Know the interviewer's name and use it during the interview. If you are not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview.
Be informed
Read a serious newspaper for the few days before the interview so you're informed about world and national news
Dress professionally for you industry
In order to make a good first impression, you need to dress professionally and separate your social image (if it's more casual, and it probably is) from your professional presence. You need to research the company and industry to know what attire is appropriate. Many work environments are still business professional, however, it can be confusing to decide what to wear with many industries adopting a casual environment. It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed (or undressed). If you're not sure, check with the person who scheduled the interview and ask.
Material to bring to an interview
  • Put in a couple of copies of your resume.
  • Include copies of letters of recommendation or written job references you have.
  • Have copies of your reference list ready, the interviewer will ask for this during the job interview.
  • Assemble hard evidence (make sure it's clear and concise) of how what you've achieved in the past - proof will put you ahead of those who merely talk about it.
  • Pen and paper. Taking a few notes during your interview shows you are listening closely.
  • A briefcase or leather portfolio is a recommended accessory that will communicate a professional image.  Women should only bring a small handbag along with their portfolio.  Stay away from big bulky bags or backpacks.
Be on time
Arrive ten to fifteen minutes ahead of time so you can stop at the restroom and regroup before your interview.
Body language
Be confident, and show enthusiasm and interest for the position.  Give a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.  Be sure to maintain eye contact with all the interviewers, not just the person who asks the question.  Sit up straight, but be relaxed with your arms and hands above the table.  If you are not seated at a table, place your hands on your portfolio in front of you.  Do not place anything on the interviewer's desk unless given permission to do so.  Try not to fidget, and keep your hands away form your face and hair.  Do not chew gum or smoke. Too much perfume or not enough deodorant won't help either. Not being dressed appropriately or having scuffed shoes, talking or texting on your cell phone or listening to an iPod while waiting to be called for the interview could end your chances before you even say a word.
Concentrate on your qualifications and present organized answers with specific examples to support them. Unless asked to give more details, limit your answers to two to three minutes per question. Focus on the positive at all times and avoid using slang or jargon.  Be sure to listen carefully and answer the question that is being asked.  Do not be afraid to pause and ask for time to better reflect on the question.  If you are not sure of what the interviewer is asking, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for clarification. If you do not know the answer to a question, then tell the truth, instead of evading or distorting facts, which rarely succeeds.  Finally, be honest and assertive - let the interviewer know you are the right person for the job!
Closing the interview
Summarize the key points of the interview. Use your judgment here and keep it short. Review the major issues that came up in the interview with the employer. If a problem came up, repeat your resolution of it. If you are not sure what the interviewer is thinking, be direct and ask, “Are there any areas I need to clarify in order to confirm my suitability for this job?" Whatever comes up, do as well as you can in responding to it. Before you leave, thank the interviewer/interviewer’s and reiterate your interest in the position by asking him about the next step in the hiring process and the overall timeline.
Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. If you interview with multiple people send each one a thank you note. Send it within 24 hours of the job interview. If you don’t hear from them according to the organization’s timeline, follow-up by phone or email.
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