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6 Things to do Before a Job Interview

Congratulations. You’ve got an interview! As you are preparing for the job interview one of the first things you’ll want to do is review common interview questions. This will help you to use your skills, strengths, accomplishments, and experiences to come up with great answers to wow your future employer. But even after you have your winning speech down, there are still six things you should do to prepare for the interview.

1. Know the Company and the Job Description

Knowing the company is a vital part of the job interview. Employers would like to feel like you actually want to work at their specific organization rather than just taking what you can get. Spend some time on their website and reading news about the company and its executives. It’s also important to thoroughly know about the specific position you’re applying for. Be sure you know the position’s responsibilities and duties and how you can link your skills and experience to each of them.

2. Dress for Success

Dressing for success is not universal. Keep your position and company in mind when you’re deciding what to wear. Find out the dress code or what employees usually wear by looking at the website, cruising by the office, or simply asking. But no matter how terrific the outfit looks, if it’s not comfortable, it’s not a good idea. Interviews can be uncomfortable enough without an ill-fitting suit or dress. Keep in mind you may be sitting, standing, and walking around to meet other employees or to see the office.

3. Update your Resume

Before you even apply for a job, make sure everything on your resume is up to date, and bring updated copies to the interview. Double check to make sure all of your accomplishments from your education and work experience are clear. Some other helpful items to bring are college or course transcripts, letters of recommendation, a copy of your cover letter, and any awards or certifications you have. If you are in an industry where you can physically bring your work, like a graphic designer or writer, then bring that along as well. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are constantly changing so be sure your most recent contact information is on your resume as well.

4. Tailor your Pitch

Your cover letter, resume, and responses should all be tailored to the specific position you’re applying for. For example, if you had a position working as a teacher, but you’re applying for an office job, focus less on the childcare experience and more on the suitable experiences. Mention the organization skills in making a lesson plan and the attention to detail while working with many different types of children.

5. Know Where You’re Going

Mapping out exactly how to get to your interview will help you get there on time with no stress. It sounds simple enough, but if you’re traveling to a new place you’re not familiar with, you can easily get lost or not give yourself enough time to get there. Save plenty of extra time for traffic, public transportation delays, or other mishaps. You definitely don’t want your first impression to be negative because you’re late or are calling because you need directions.

6. Relax

One of the most vital things you can do to have a successful interview is simply to relax. Once you’re prepared your comfortable and sophisticated outfit, are confident in your answers, and know where you’re going, you only need to concentrate on staying calm. If you appear collected and relaxed, you’ll also appear more confident and approachable. Talking faster than normal and fidgeting are two common occurrences when your nervous. Combat this by speaking out loud before the interview and being conscious of your speech and body movement.

This is a guest article by Ray, the owner of Financial Highway, where he discusses investing, saving and practical money management tips. You can like him on facebook or follow him on Twitter

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14 Comments

  1. Steve on May 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Tailoring all information shared with the employer to the specific position is critical. Many people have a tendency to write their resume like they would want their bio to read if they were getting a prestigious award.

    Keep the hard skills listing to only those required for the new position, or would be valuable at the company in general.

    For less related past experience, focus on the soft skills like project planning, mentorship, etc.

  2. Forest on May 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I know it sounds excessive but I often try and get there over an hour early. Gives me time to relax and grab a coffee and a snack if my tummy is rumbling. I then check the area out and just go over things in my head before heading in. Some mints to get rid of coffee breath help too!

  3. John on May 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Some of these tips actually spill over from the applying for the job stage. For example if you already have the interview than you most likely have done some reasearch into the company and tailored your resume/pitch to the job/company. A second more in depth look at the company allows you to be more informed about the company, but the rest should have been done when you were preparing your resume to send off…

  4. Liquid on May 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Knowing the company is so important. One of the first things I was asked at an interview once was “tell me what you know about us.” As an interviewee it’s important to ask questions too, but not inappropriate ones like “can I use msn?”

  5. Big Cajun Man on May 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Don’t eat a huge garlicy meal before hand, and don’t dress like you are going to the beach!!! If I see another pair of flip flops at a job interview I am going to scream!

  6. Steve on May 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

    @BigCajunMan

    Maybe you just don’t connect with today’s youth.

    Wait, what’s youth unemployment at again?

  7. Crystal on May 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Good tips. interviews are so uncomfortable at the best of times let alone when it’s been years since your last. I’ll definitely keep for reference when I’m back at it!

  8. Thanks for the tips! I would also like to add that arriving at least 15 minutes before the interview schedule gives the interviewer the impression that you respect other people as well. It also gives you sufficient time to prepare for the interview.

  9. emilio on May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    7) move to alberta

    /that’s all you ever need to know… Lol

  10. FrugalTrader on May 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @emilio, do you work in Alberta?

  11. Ray @ Financial Highway on June 1, 2012 at 1:42 am

    @emilio one of my friends moved to Alberta a few months ago and still does not have a job!

  12. emilio on June 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Hi FT,

    Yes, I live and work in Alberta, and am loving it. Having traveled extensively through the world, and lived in different countries I have found my promised land. I intend to put in another 20 years of hard work in here (I am 32) and then cash out and retire somewhere warm.

    For the first time I find myself at the right place at the right time…

    Ray,
    Everybody’s story is different. I moved here five years ago and had a pretty slow start. My first job was mediocre, but when you try even a little bit you will find something suitable. I am in the technical field, and through linkedin I get job proposals at least once a week.

    We have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, North America, and maybe the entire world…

  13. FrugalTrader on June 3, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @emilio, if you don’t mind me asking, what industry do you work in?

  14. JR @ Let's Learn Finance on June 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Point 6 is 5 points to low on the list, but you’ve got the list locked in FT. The only thing I’d add would be to get in that firm hand-shake. First impressions matter on the most minute detail!

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