If you are like most people, you don’t participate in interviews every day. This means that everyone’s interviewing skills tend to become rusty.

A proven fact is that the more you prepare, the stronger the possibility you will receive an offer. This guide has been designed to provide you with a simple step-by-step process when preparing for interviews. It is recommended that you begin your preparation as early as possible in your search.

PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW

There are three parts to getting ready: anticipating possible interview questions, learning about the company you are interviewing with, and packaging your product (i.e. dressing the part). The work you do on prepping for interview questions (which, by the way, will be reusable in all future interviews) will be discussed first.

Questions:

There are a number of commonly asked questions in an interview. Although the following list is not exhaustive, it does cover many of the most popular areas discussed during the process. The ideal way to use this list is to write down your answers, allowing you to simply focus on how to say it versus what you say.

  1. Tell me about yourself (you typically want to keep this to under one to two minutes of comments with a focus on work related content).
  2. Why are you exploring a job change?
  3. Why is this position with our company of interest to you?
  4. What have you learned about our organization?
  5. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses (It is best to mention weaknesses that can be considered strength, such as a low tolerance for incompetence or being a perfectionist)?
  6. Explain the job changes listed on your resume.
  7. What are your short-term goals? Long-term?
  8. What do you do to keep your professional skills current?
  9. What knowledge and experience will you bring to our company?
  10. What are you most proud of in your career? Least (the suggestion regarding weaknesses noted above applies)?
  11. How much money would it take to hire you? (Your recruiter is your negotiator, so it is best to avoid naming a specific dollar amount. Possible responses include “I’m open” or “I am a bit uncomfortable discussing that.” Never disclose your rate.

In addition to the list above, create a list of 15-20 questions you would like to ask during the interview. Many experienced interviewers have based at least part of their hiring decision on the quality of the questions asked by the prospective candidate. Ask questions regarding the duties including what the 1st project will be. Do not ask any “what can you do for me?” questions (these are questions regarding salary, benefits bonuses, promotions, vacation times, etc.).

Learning about the Company

Learn as much as you can about the company and the position itself. Your recruiter will provide you with some of these details. In addition, spend time researching the company (most of which can be done on the Internet). Find out what they do, who are their key competitors, their rank in the marketplace, what makes them unique and powerful as a company, and any other details you believe would be of benefit to know.

Your Professional Look

Unless specifically requested otherwise by your recruiter, plan on wearing business attire to the interview. For men, a suit (dark blue or gray are great choices), a pressed white dress shirt, and a conservative tie are recommended. For women, a business suit or dress in a conservative color are recommended. Inspect and address the little details such as hair trimmed and neat, clean and manicured nails, and shoes polished. Keep Colognes and aftershaves to a minimum.