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Interview Guide

BEFORE HAND: Preparing for the Interview

You must be willing to prepare ahead of time if you wish for the interview to be successful. Your degree of preparation will definitely be noticed by the person who is giving you the interview. There are number of ways that you might prepare. Below we focus on the five most important things you can do to prepare for a successful interview. Specifically, we encourage you to (1) identify your personal goals, (2) learn about the company, (3) think of questions you may want to ask, (4) consider the type of clothing to wear, and (5) practice answering questions.

Personal Goals: Personal goals are when you decide what type of job you are looking for. Are you looking for a job that allows you to move around, a job that asks you to do outside work? Would you like a job that offers a variety of hours, or are you looking for a set schedule? Is the type of job you want one that you work with the public, or would you prefer to deal with machines and paperwork? The answers to these questions are important because they will help guide you in what companies you would like to contact about possible job openings.

Knowledge about the Company: The second area that you can prepare yourself in is knowledge about the company itself. Basic information is the key. Does the company fit the description you developed by answering your personal goals questions above? You will also want to look at the location of the company. Is the company close enough for your current transportation situation? Thinking of these questions and then giving the answers considerable thought will help you prepare for when it is time to go to the interview. There are a number of ways that you can find information about a company. You might go to your public library, you can search on the Internet, or you can even talk to some current employees.

What to ask the Interviewer: At some point during the interview you will be asked if you have any questions - count on it. Be prepared to ask thoughtful and useful questions. Asking well thought-out questions will make you look good in the eyes of the person who is conducting the interview. Avoid asking me-centered questions regarding items such as salary and vacation time. These indicate that you might only be interested in money and not in making a contribution to the organization. On the other hand, good ideas for questions are: "What would my job duties include?" , "Is there a chance for promotions?" "What type of things would I be in charge of?" and many other related questions.

Dressing Properly: You can also prepare for the job interview by making sure you are dressed properly. Dressing properly means being professional. Personal cleanliness and grooming are also related to dressing properly. This includes bathing, using deodorant, brushing your teeth, and making sure your clothes are ironed, or have few wrinkles. Dressing properly means having your hair brushed and styled neatly. Perfume and cologne can be worn in small amounts, but should be avoided if at all possible. Also, be careful about the type of jewelry you wear - this makes a statement about who you are. You might want to ask the person who calls you for the interview what he or she would like for you to wear.

Practice Answering Questions: It is the job of the interviewer to find out as much job-relevant information about you as possible. You will be asked a lot of questions. Some of these questions will be easy to answer but others might be very difficult. Questions such as, "Why did you leave your last job?" might be difficult to answer. Other questions, such as, "Are you a thinker or action taker?" may be confusing and require forethought to answer. And of course, you need to be prepared to give a good answer to the question, "Why do you want to work here?" The appendix to this guide contains a list of the most commonly asked questions in job interviews. Please examine the list and prepare answers for these questions just in case you are asked.

Preparing for the interview is an important first step. The degree to which this preparation will affect the overall success of the interview should not be taken lightly. After identifying your goals, researching the company, thinking of questions you may want to ask, considering the type of clothing to wear, and practicing answers to questions, you are ready to go to the place where the interview will be.


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