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Before Your Interview

Do Your Homework

If there is one aspect of job interviewing over which you have complete control, it is preparation — doing your homework before the interview. It is also the key to successful interviewing. Here's your homework: research the organization and the position, learning all you can; match your credentials with the position, identifying strengths to point out and weaknesses to address in the interview; and learn about the interview process in general so you have some idea about what to expect and what is expected of you on the "big day". A great source for lots of information about interviewing is QuintCareers.com

Research the Organization

There are many ways to research an organization. Start with an in-depth reading of their website, not just the home page. See how they represent themselves on the Careers page. Other sites like www.glassdoor.com and www.linkedin.com can be great sources of information. Use a search engine to find recent news and other sites that may feature information about the firm. Current or past employees of the organization can be an excellent source of information, too — they can tell you what it is like to work there on a daily basis.

Review the Position Description

Some time may have passed since you applied for the job, so reviewing the position description and your application materials is a must. Think again about how you can demonstrate that you are good fit for their needs.

Understand the Interview Process

How many interviews will you have? Are they individual, group, or panel interviews? How many hours will you be there? What are the names and titles of your interviewers (look them up on LinkedIn). The more you know, the more confident you will feel. There is no harm in asking for clarification.

Be Well Groomed and Dressed for Success

In general, you want the interviewer to focus on YOU and your potential contributions to the firm, not on the fact that your shoes are scuffed and dirty. Dress appropriately and practice good hygiene. Suits for men and women are the rule with the exception of software engineering and some other tech jobs where interview attire is more casual. Ask what is expected. Make sure hair is trimmed, nails clean, and no strong odors or cologne. Accessories should be minimal.

Understand Behavioral Interview Questions and the Power of Storytelling

“Tell me about a time when you…” These days many interview questions ask you to tell stories about how you’ve performed in other settings. Most of us have a few good stories in which as a result of our contributions or efforts, something was improved. Think about those stories, and learn to tell them with a beginning, middle, and end. You will hear these referred to as STAR/CAR/PAR stories: 1) you were in a Situation, had a Challenge, or faced a Problem; 2) you took an Action; 3) there was a positive Result.

Practice Answering Behavioral and Other Common Interview Questions

You should become familiar with the types of interviews and interviewers you may encounter and typical questions you may be asked. For many companies, you can find interview questions posted by previous applicants on www.glassdoor.com.

Here is a list of common interview questions to help you prepare.

It's important to not only answer the questions, but relate them to the job you're being interviewed for. This shows you've done some research and know what you're getting into!

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