CAREER

Job Interview Preparation

11:13 PM




This summer I've been spending my days submitting job applications and today I had a job interview that went extremely well. I'd say that the best interview atmosphere happens when both you and your interviewer have received that assurance that you are both there for the right reasons and that this time together will be worthwhile, at that point it turns into a more genuine conversation rather than a listing of several questions. I thought I'd summarize some preparation points and resources that really helped me during this process and hopefully it will help some of you guys when it comes down to that time to look for jobs!

Preparation is key. I spent two days researching my company and here are some of the things I did.


  1. Read their website literally cover to cover. This really helps to give you an idea of what the company represents because they understand that this website is representing them as well.
  2. Take Advantage of your network. Don't be afraid to ask somebody who may currently be working in the company for any advice they may have or any insight into what the company is like. It's important for you to understand the culture of the company that you will be interviewing with. 
  3. Look up their competition. I actually went into WikiInvest to look up the company's financial statements and other relevant information. I compared what they were doing well in contrast to the company I was interviewing with and created solutions to fix that problem. Having this ready was key during my interview and left my interviewer extremely impressed. You can also take advantage of news.google.com or newsle.com to find recent articles on the company. 
  4. Past, Present, and Future. Research the foundational elements the company started on, any significant changes that have happened in the past as well as the present, and what they are striving for in the future. This will give you an idea of what to offer to the company to really convince them that you will be a valuable asset. 
  5. Practice interview questions. I looked up the most asked interview questions and typed out answers to them. Then, I practiced speaking my answers out loud to see if I truly believed what I was saying. This helped me perfect my answers and really get to the core of understanding my stance on each kind of question. Finally, I put myself in a mock interview setting with a friend and continued to practice being able to answer questions on the spot. It helps to pick out the skills your job is looking for and think of stories to represent each skill. The story taking the form of presenting PAR: Problem, Action, and Result. Having more than 5 of these PAR stories prepared will leave you more than ready to answer any kind of interview question. 
  6. Prepare a portfolio. If you find while practicing that you are emphasizing certain stories, if those stories have visuals that go along with them, go ahead and prepare a visual portfolio to show your interviewer. To have a story and a graphic to connect to your unique skills will help to leave a significant impression to your interviewer. 
  7. Dress the part. You want to come off as professional and serious about the job. You can look up dress etiquette for interviews on Google but I opted for the basic idea of making sure my hair was out of my face, modest makeup, simple accessories, buttoned blazer, and professional bag. 
  8. Bring Extra Material. Bring your notes, extra resumes, your cover letter, a pen, and any other important documents that were requested. 
  9. Prepare Relevant Questions. The best questions will come from listening intently to your interviewer and from the research that you have done. The basic rule is that you should never ask anything that can be googled. The best questions ask about the company culture because that is something that is hard to look up as well as any genuine questions you have that would help you make the decision to work for this company. 
  10. Thank them for their time. Keep the names of every person that you interact with in mind and send them immediate follow-up thank you letters and e-mails. Good etiquette will really help you stick out as an impressive candidate. 
Now to give the credit where it's due. I found an impressive amount of career advice on prepary.com and elanalyn.com. These two resources as well as Google really helped me with the preparation process and I hope that you will take advantage of them! After my job interview, I went for a nice scoop of icecream at Mapleview and cannot wait for the coming July 4th weekend!



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