First Person: How to Prepare for Your Interview

Top 5 Interviewing Tips from a Business Etiquette Consultant

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First Person: How to Get the Job You Want
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Young people waiting for an interview.

Shower, shave and get dressed is what many people consider proper prep for a job interview. However, in my decades of experience training job seekers, I've found that it takes much, much more to land your dream job. Preparing for the interview is hard work and not something to take lightly-unless you don't want the job.

Do your homework!

Go to the company's website to find what as much as you can about them. What do they do? Are there any recent press releases?

Learn what the corporate culture is. Do they post information about their employees as public recognition? Are they fun? Are they active in fundraising for charities?

All this information can be used during your interview. Just weave the information you find into your answers and during the question period at the end of the interview.

Know your audience!

Consider the types of questions you may be asked.

Do some research as to what type of questions you might be asked. For example, if applying for an HR position, I found dozens of possible questions within seconds of an Internet search.

From my many contacts in various industries at various levels, I hear that employers are looking for people with soft skills these days. Therefore, you may be asked questions that offer an insight into how you think and act. These could be about how you deal with deadlines, conflicts, and stressful situations.

Many employers are experiencing problems with how entry-level employees view -- or define -- integrity, accountability, customer service and even what it is to have a "work ethic". So, expect to have questions involving these characteristics as well.

Practice, practice and then practice some more.

In front of a mirror, practice answering the questions you found during your research. Imagine a team of interviewers in front of you. Imagine that you are comfortable and ready to wow them. Then, do it repeatedly until you feel ready for anything they may throw at you.

What's more, be ready for those zingers. Some just love to toss around the quirky question. This is an example of what Glassdoor.com compiled: "Just entertain me for five minutes; I'm not going to talk."

Finally, use what you've learned about the company to create questions you will ask at the end of the interview.

Dress the part

It seems like this would be a no-brainer. However, from all my contacts, even a few from the medical field, many job candidates simply don't know how to dress for the interview. The simple rule is to dress a bit more formally than the job requires. However, most often, a suit and nicely polished shoes is a perfect choice.

Scrutinize your resume.

This too seems like a no-brainer. Nevertheless, many will create a resume, put it in their files and forget to update it for each employer. It's important to tweak your resume for each interview to reflect how your skills and education coalesce with the company.

Above all, mind your manners!

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