Congratulations! I know it feels great to finally get a call back from a company after submitting dozens of cover letters and resumes. You have passed through the resume screening process and your resume shines throughout the others. Now it is time to get your game face on and prepare for battle. You are now going to have to position yourself as the best candidate in the interviewer’s mind. How do you do that? Well, I will discuss what I know and did.

We all had our fair share of success and failures when it comes to interviews. I can recall my first job interview for EarthCalc back in 2002 and it wasn’t the greatest. I was shy and quiet during the interview and was pretty nervous. I had a lot to offer but only could put it on my resume. I didn’t know how to market myself besides what was on the paper. I personally would have not hire myself then but I am very glad they gave me that opportunity. It shaped me into the person I am today and is very grateful for it. However, I was 16 years old then and those kind of opportunities don’t come around when the job market is this competitive.

Therefore, you need to use some more basic marketing approaches! You need to sell yourself to the interviewer but not like a typical sales person. Why should they choose you over the other candidates? What can you do for them? Remember this should also be included your cover letter! I like to think myself as the interviewer who is looking for someone fit for the organization. Then I  can start with the preparation process.

Beforehand, I would like to talk about being nervous for an interview. Why? There is no reason for someone to be nervous. What could possible happen to you that would impact your life so negatively that you would be nervous? Okay, maybe if it was a CEO position that could start you off with a million dollar salary. But let’s be realistic here. No future CEO would need to read this blog about how to better improve your interview skills. Life works wonder when you think positively and your actions show it. You should be proud of yourself after spending thousands of dollars for a college degree so lets put the nervousness aside. Interesting, you never went to college? That doesn’t matter much when you have the experiences and the ability to understand and adapt to situations. Personally, my college degree only helped me to apply for the jobs that required college degrees. It has nothing to do about where you look for a job and how to handle interviews. In fact, many millionaires never graduated from college so NEVER let that discourage you. Education is free, yes free! The internet, libraries, book, and even from the people you have conversations with is education. Now lets start preparing for that interview!

Research the Company:

I like to prepare and plan myself for any obstacles that I may come across in life. This includes preparing for a job interview. Where do I start? Google! I did this before hand but it’s more thorough after a confirmed interview. I try to look for the company mission and values to include in my interview. Big companies are a lot easier to research and prepare for as there are plenty of information online. However, the smaller companies are usually invisible online and I would have to go else where. Where? I find out the industry of the company and look into larger companies within their industry. This gives me a general idea of how their business operates and how I can prepare for interview questions. Last not least, I look at the job posting I saved and try to understand the roles of the position. I am basically learning and teaching myself here if I am not familiar with it. It really all comes down to how bad you want that job. I suggest researching applying because you might end up not wanting to work for this company. Life is more enjoyable when you are happy to be going to work every morning!

Research Company’s

  • Background
  • Industry
  • Competitors
  • Mission, values, and goals
  • How they treat their employees
  • Any legal issues in the past that jeopardized them?
  • Job duties in the job posting and how it applies in the industry

Preparing Questions:

Always prepare questions! Chances are that you will end up over preparing for the interview but it’s better than not preparing. In fact, the interviewer might not be prepared also because I am sure they have a whole lot of things to deal with at work. In this case, you need to prepare yourself with questions that you think the interviewer will ask you. Interview stages varies per company and each have their own set of standards. Some interview may be the entire day while some could only last for 30 minutes (bad) to an hour (good). I cannot help you much here because it’s going to be your job to find out the type of questions you need to answer. But what I can do is tell you what I did!

Phone Interviews:

These tend to be roughly 30 minutes to an hour long and they are more personality questions. This is part of the screen processes also before a personal interview. The recruiters want to know if you can at least communicate well and learn a little about you. Always imply that you would love to do a face-to-face interview after.

  • Why I was interested in the position and industry (ice breakers)
  • What do you know about the company (ice breakers)
  • What type of work experiences I had that could benefit their organization
  • My work ethics
  • How I accomplished the things I listed on my resume
  • My educational background and how I can apply it to the job role
  • Technical questions regarding the job position (will be asked for sure!)

Face-to-Face interview:

Face-to-face interviews can be difficult for many people and it takes practice. I will write more about this afterwards and some techniques I used to get me through some tedious ones. However, I am simply focusing on the type of questions you should prepare for. You should always ask the recruiter or hiring manager who is interviewing you and their job role. Questions related to face-to-face interviews are usually the same as phone interviews but more technical. Meaning they will ask you a few questions personality questions and a whole lot of the profession related question. For example, if you are in marketing then they would ask you about social media and target marketing. What type of analytical research skills you have? There are just too many questions that can be asked. My best tip is put yourself in their shoes and that your working for the organization.

  • Everything listed above!
  • Technical questions of topics related to the field profession

Preparing your portfolio:

This will be very simple. If your an artist or have drawings then you make a portfolio of your work to show to the interviewers. But I’ll just list the basics for the regular job hunters like me.

Have these before you walk into an interview, be prepared.

  • Pen
  • Few copies of your resume and professional references printed on RESUME PAPER.
  • A binder, messenger bag, or anything you can store all of that in.
  • Copy of college degree and transcripts (not likely)
  • Your best office outfit for good impression

I know it took me awhile to post this one on the blog. I’ve been extremely busy since I started working and will try to wrap up the last portion. The interview itself and after the interview. Good luck friends and I do hope you all find something close to your dream job. I know I did!

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