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Interview Preparation Guidelines

1. Research the Employer before a Job Interview
Make sure to do your homework. Gather as much information about the employer as you can so you will appear informed and intelligent. We suggest visiting the employer’s website, searching for press releases online, and exploring LinkedIn and CrunchBase.

2. Dressing For a Job Interview

Appearance counts whether we like it or not. It’s the first thing people notice about us. You don’t want your appearance to take away from your performance or from what you can bring to the job. You should dress for the job you want, not the one you already have. For men we suggest dress pants (NO jeans), a clean pressed shirt and tie. For women, either dress pants with a blouse or skirt/dress. (NOT too short or revealing).

3. What to Bring

We expect the employer to have seen your resume, but ALWAYS have several copies of your resume with you, as well as a pad of paper and pen to take notes. We suggest putting everything into a portfolio to bring with you. You will come across as organized and professional.

4. Establish Rapport on a Job Interview

Your resume tells a prospective employer about the skills you will bring to his or her company. You obviously have those skills or you wouldn’t be going on the job interview. Now the interviewer must make sure you are a good fit for the job and company. You obviously want the interviewer to relate well to you. You must establish rapport with him or her. Doing that begins the instant you walk in the door. Let the interviewer set the tone and be ready to offer your hand for a strong handshake immediately.

5. Body Language

Body language gives more away about you than what you say. Making eye contact is very important but make sure it looks natural. A smiling, relaxed face is very inviting. Hands resting casually in your lap rather than arms folded across your chest also is more inviting. If you normally move your hands around a lot when you speak, tone it down some. You don’t want to look too stiff, but you don’t want to look like you’re a bundle of nervous energy.

6. Answering Interview Questions

When answering questions, speak slowly and clearly. Pause slightly before you answer a question. Your answers will seem less rehearsed and it will give you a chance to collect your thoughts. Keep in mind that a very brief pause may seem like an eternity to you. It’s not.

7. Asking Questions

The interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions so you should have some ready. As in every other aspect of the job search, you want to demonstrate how you can fill the employer’s needs. Ask about a typical day on the job or special projects you would be involved in. Also ask questions that will help you learn more about the employer and will let the interviewer know you are interested in working there. Use what you learned about the company through your research as a stepping off point. DON’T ask about salary, benefits, or vacations, as those all imply “what will you, the employer, do for me?”

8. Always, always, always send a Post-Interview Follow-up Note

Always send a thank you email as standard courtesy. This is good to leave a good impression and also to refresh the interviewer’s mind as to whom they interviewed. A thank you letter is also an opportunity to reiterate a strong point that you may not have emphasized enough during the interview or a response that you did not answer to your satisfaction.

Top 10 Tips to put you in the driver’s seat:

Top 10 Tips to put you in the driver’s seat:

1. Research the employer and be prepared with a good level of knowledge. You don’t need to be an expert on the company, but you should do your “due diligence” by reviewing the site carefully, learning the key terms, their value in the marketplace, their competitors and their executive management team. You must have the “get it” factor, or you haven’t done your homework. The more knowledge and understanding you have the better. Don’t waste your time or the interviewer’s time if you don’t intend to put time aside to research the organization as well as the position you are interviewing for. The better equipped you are, the greater your chances to be invited back for a second round. It’s up to you.

2. Arrive no more than 5 minutes early. That will give you enough time to get settled and relax. Your interviewer will respond to your being nervous, so just relax and try your best to be yourself. Make sure you have at least two copies of your resume to present. You don’t want the interviewer to stumble and search their desk or inbox for your resume.

3. Dress the part business-like and professional is the old standby approach. While on the interview, you may notice staff members dressed in casual attire. If that is the case, it is likely that you will have the option to dress similarly. However, for the interview, I’d suggest a suit that reflects style and professionalism. Should you be offered the job, chances are you will have the option to dress down. At that juncture, you can ask the hiring manager about the dress code in further detail.

4. Be kind to and mind your manners with everyone you meet. That is from the receptionist, to the mail clerk, and or anyone in the reception area. You never know if the person sitting next to you waiting in line to be interviewed could turn out to be your colleague, client, or boss.

5. What’s in it for me, should not be what you are thinking sitting across the desk from the interviewer. Instead, think what’s in it for them. When they are looking for someone to hire, they want to know how you can help them, not the other way around. If you want be seriously considered for the position, think of their needs first. Be prepared to enumerate the reasons you believe you can contribute to their firm. Be cognizant of how you use your time, every moment counts. You are a “fish in a fishbowl” so to speak. Stay focused on sharing successes, accomplishments, and the value you can bring to the table right from day one.

6. Answer questions effectively and concisely. Keep it short and sweet. The interviewer does not want your life story, they want to know your business capabilities and how you can help them.

7. Never speak poorly, mean, or unkind about your previous company and or any individuals you worked with in the past. You may be looked upon as a prospective ingrate, or gossip. The last thing a company wants to do is bring someone on their team that has a negative attitude and puts the blame on others for their lack of success. Stick to the facts when referring to others. Be cautious to always put a positive spin on your past personal and professional experiences.

8. Do not bring up money. Focus on the job, your ability to contribute, and all the great things you can provide before reminding your future boss how much of the hiring budget you’re going to soak up. It is never considered to be appropriate for the candidate to bring up money first. Obviously if the hiring manager chooses to hire you, compensation requirements will need to be discussed. But leave it to the hiring manager to bring up the money factor.

9. Thank the interviewer for their time and ask questions – again, this shows good manners and good sense. It is also good to reiterate what you discussed and how you can contribute. This serves as a good memory jog to the interviewer of your conversation and reminds them of the points you want them to remember. Be sure to let the hiring manager know you are very excited to move this process forward.

10. Send a follow-up “thank you” letter via e-mail. A short scripted email note is not going to set you apart from the rest. Make yourself stand out by creating a professional and aesthetically pleasing “thank you”. That is only if you are really serious about the job opportunity, otherwise a short “thank you” will do to show respect for the time the hiring manager took out of their busy day. Besides, you never know, it’s a small world and you may come in contact with that person again some day. Chances are they will remember that you acknowledged their time, by simply saying “thank you” and vice versa. Furthermore, another opportunity may present itself down the line, and they will be more inclined to remember you. Even more importantly they will be apt to contact you again as you showed them their due courtesy. One last thing, be sure to that your thank you is well thought out, well written, with no grammatical or spelling errors.

The thank-you letter is all part of the “closing” process. We believe in going “the extra mile”. We suggest a few paragraphs showing gratitude and appreciation for the time the interviewer took out of their busy day to consider you for the position as well as tangible and concrete reasons why you believe you would be a great fit.

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