Preparaing for a Job Interview

So, you've submitted an online application or emailed a resume and cover letter, and now you've been invited for an interview. What do you do next?

What did you do when you were in school and wanted to do well on a test? You prepared for the test. So, why not prepare for an interview. This page highlights a few topics to consider when preparing for a job interview.

Know Something About the Employer

If you research the company interviewing you, you will have an advantage over those applicants who know little, if anything, about the company. Such research might include how many offices the company has, their locations, annual revenue, number of employees, product lines or services offered, company history, the company's mission, the company 's future plans, and the names of some of the key executives. Finding out such information is relatively easy these days, thanks to the internet. Knowing something about the company will enable you to provide facts to support your answers to questions such as "Why you are interested in working for our company?"

Consider the Employer's Needs

What is the prospective employer looking for? In general, employers look for someone (1) with the qualifications to do the job, and (2) who will be an asset to their organization. Qualifications to do the job include education, training, work experience, and relevant job skills. Who will be an asset to an organization is more difficult to define. However, this generally includes the ability to get along with others, one's attitude towards the company, and one's commitment to the job. So, read the job announcement carefully and learn what the company needs done. Then start practicing to answer sample interview questions to improve the content and delivery of your answers.

Be able to Summarize Your Education, Training, and Work Experience

One question you may be asked is "Tell Us About Yourself." Recent graduates or entry level applicants may want to start with a brief summary of their education or training, emphasizing any courses or training that may be relevant to the job. Applicants with work experience could begin with their current (or most recent) job and also mention any prior relevant positions. The bottom line is to practice answering questions such as "Tell Us About Yourself" until you feel that you can answer these question in a comfortable and concise manner and preferably in a way that emphasizes your qualifications for the job.

Be prepared for Questions About Your Personal Characteristics

For example, "What are your strengths?", "What are your weaknesses?", Why do you want to leave your current job?", "Why did you leave your last job?", "Are you a team player?", and "Why should we hire you?" So, before the interview, take time to think through your answers to these questions, then practice verbalizing your answers to yourself and others. By doing this, you will be less likely to stumble or sound as if you haven't thought about these important questions.

Be prepared for Behavioral Questions.

A behavioral question seeks to explore how you have handled a particular situation in the past or how you anticipate you would handle such a situation in the future. Such questions include "Tell us about a difficult employee (or supervisor) you've had to deal with and how you resolved the situation?" or "Tell us about a time you failed (i.e., what happened and what did about it)?" It is important to be familiar with behavioral questions and to have a few good stories prepared so that you can comfortably talk about these issues.

Don't Let a Salary Question Catch you Off Guard

Be ready for a question about your salary requirements, such as, "What salary are you looking for?" The old adage is "knowledge is power." Again, do your research and find out what a fair and reasonable salary range is for the job you are applying for in the relevant geographical area. There are websites with salary information, and you might also have friends with similar jobs who you could ask about salary.


In summary, review interview questions, prepare thoughtful answers to them, and practice your answers before the interview.

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