You have submitted your resume and cover letter for a job and have been called in for an interview. You are excited. And very nervous. Whether this is your first interview or perhaps you have a few under your belt, it is natural to be nervous when interviewing for a job, especially one that you really want. Fortunately, it is possible to do some research and a little practice, which will help you feel more comfortable.
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Prior to your interview, you will want to do some preparation. The point of the preparation is twofold; first, by putting in a little bit of time, you will be able to sound knowledgeable during your interview. Second, preparation will help you to feel more confident, helping you to be more comfortable during the interview.
There are things that you can do to prepare for the job interview. First, do an online search to learn more about the company where you are interviewing. You may have already done this prior to submitting your resume. If so, it can’t hurt to do it again and refresh your memory. Learning as much as you can about the business will help you to be prepared to talk knowledgably about what the company does and how you can be a benefit to it.
If you have a job description from when you applied, make sure to review it prior to your interview. While you review the job duties, think about how your skills and experience have prepared you for completing those tasks. This will likely be helpful for when the interviewer asks you questions.
Practice interviewing with a family member or a friend. If no one is available, you can still practice on your own. This will help you get comfortable with answering possible interview questions.
Make sure to leave plenty of time to arrive at the business where you are interviewing a few minutes early. It is important that you be on time. If you arrive late for the interview, you will give the impression that you will arrive late for work as well.
Have the outfit you plan to wear to the interview chosen in advance and make sure it is ready to go. You don’t want to put it on and realize there is a big stain on it and have no time to change. As far as what to wear, it will depend on the job you are applying for. For a job at a retail store, for example, it is a good idea to dress in a style similar to those who work there. If in doubt, dressing professionally is always a good way to go.
Perhaps most important is to remind yourself that you are a great person for the job and the employer would be smart to hire you.
For more on preparing for a job interview, click here.
Of course, every interviewer will ask different questions. This may seem scary and you may wonder how you can prepare for an infinite possible number of questions. While there is no way to know the exact question the interviewer will ask, there are a number of general questions that often come up. And the answers that you prepare for these common questions may be used for other questions as well.
A favorite question of interviewers is “what is your greatest strength?”
This is usually followed by “what is your greatest weakness?”
Give the first question some thought. Consider what it is that you are really good at. Your answer should include something you are really good at that is also relevant to the job. For example, let’s say you are a good poetry writer. That is a great strength to have. If you are applying for a job at a retail store, however, being a good poetry writer is not a strength that an employer will see as a benefit to their business.
In addition to your poetry skills, you have noticed that you are really good at working with people. This is a strength that would be very helpful at a retail store. When asked about your greatest strength, you could answer like this:
“I feel my greatest strength is my ability to work with people. I enjoy talking to people and am good at asking questions to get to the bottom of what it is that they need or want.”
You can add to this answer to talk about how your strength will be a benefit to this employer:
“I feel that my ability to work with people makes me a great fit for this position. In this job I would have the opportunity to work with people that come in to purchase something. I am comfortable asking questions in order to get an understanding of their need, and will then work with them to help meet that need.”
As far as your “greatest weakness”, this always feels like a trick question. But, since you are prepared, it won’t trick you. Choose a weakness that can also be looked at a strength. For example, if you can be a bit of a perfectionist, that is a good thing to mention. You could state:
“It can be hard for me to walk away from something if it is not done perfectly. Unfortunately, there is not always the opportunity to do something perfectly and I have to be okay moving on.”
Here are a few other common questions with an idea of how to answer them:
Question: Why do you think you are the best person for the job?
Answer: I work hard and am very reliable. You will be able to count on my being here and I will work hard to learn the responsibilities of the job.
Question: Why do you want to work here?
Answer: I really enjoy working with people and working here would give me the opportunity to do so. When I come here, it seems everyone is always willing and eager to help and I would like to be a part of that kind of team.
Question: Tell me about a time that you had to deal with an angry person at work or at school. How did you handle it?
Answer: When I was volunteering at the animal shelter there was a customer that was upset that the dog they wanted to adopt was not available for a few weeks. I let them express their frustration about the situation and then I asked if there was anything I could do to help. I also offered to get the supervisor. The customer calmed down and eventually apologized for being so upset.
It is important for you to remember that when you go on a job interview, it is not just you being interviewed. This is also your opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer. After all, the employer may want to hire you, but if they can’t provide what you are looking for, you can say “no”.
Make sure to prepare a few questions for the person interviewing you. Think of some things that you feel are important to know about, whether about the job, how the supervisor manages staff, or about the company itself. Asking questions will show the person interviewing you several things. First, it will show that you took the time to prepare questions to ask them. Second, it will show that you are interested in learning more about the opportunity and not just looking for any job.
It is a good idea to ask open-ended questions that will give the interviewer the opportunity to provide you with information. Here are some examples of questions:
Click here for additional question ideas. Prior to going to your interview, write down three questions that you would like to ask the interviewer. You can also take note of any questions that come to mind while you are interviewing.
A little preparation will help you to gain confidence as you go to your interview. Confidence will go a long way towards helping you perform well in your interview.
For additional interviewing tips, click here.