Preparing for an interview is as important as going through the actual interview itself.  Proper preparation and research can mean the difference in advancing through the interview process to an ultimate job offer.

Know Your Audience

Before walking into the interview, it is important that you do some research first. Spend time learning about the company you are interviewing with. Use social media to understand what is important to them and what their mission and values are.  If you are interviewing with a company that produces a product, research their client base to better understand the market they sell to.  If possible, try to buy or use their products or services to gain insight. Using LinkedIn, educate yourself on the background and experience of those who will be interviewing you.  Understanding this information prior to walking into the interview will help you speak with confidence and will allow you to ask questions about the company at a deeper level.

Anticipate the Interview Questions

You may think it is easy to talk about yourself, but for most of us it is not. Make sure you rehearse answers to standard questions including:  Tell me about yourself, where do you see yourself in 5 years and what is your biggest weakness. Be prepared to highlight your accomplishments.  Know the specifics of how your experience relates to your future career path. Using the knowledge you gained from researching the company, anticipate questions directed towards your understanding of their industry and marketplace.

It is important to be ready to ask questions about the company, too.  Asking questions in the first interview about salaries and benefits is not something we would suggest.  Instead, ask questions including:  Why do you like to work here?  What would a normal day look like for me?  Keep in mind that this is also your time to obtain enough information about the company to make sure it will be a good fit for you.

Dress Accordingly and Get Your Mindset in the Right Place

Dress to impress! Keep your attire professional, neatly pressed and conservative. Even if your interview is a video conference, pretend you are there in person. Make sure you keep a calm composure that exerts confidence. Be mindful of your posture and body language. Body language can tell a lot about who you are without you saying one word. Practice good eye contact and smile –  the rest will fall into place!

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