Acing the Interview: A Guide to Landing the Job of Your Dreams

By Laine McKenna

So you got a call back. After days of waiting anxiously by the phone, the company to which you submitted your resume called and said it would like to set up a job interview. Let the heavens rejoice as you dance around the apartment you can barely afford.  Thanks to the sweet little lady downstairs in the leasing office, you've been able to slip checks in two weeks late and not get caught.

But not so fast. You've got work to do. Sure the resume you labored over for months got you noticed, but that's only half the battle. You still have to close the deal by acing the interview process and beating out even tougher competition. But have no fear. With some job interview preparation, and by following these job interview tips, you can win over your prospective employer.

  1. Preparation is key.You wouldn't show up for a test without studying, now would you? In the case of a job interview, you want to prepare yourself for every possible scenario, every possible question, and of course, how you will respond to them. If you can, find out what types of job interviews the company typically conducts, and find out who will be giving the interview. Typically, companies use an interview process filled with multiple stages to weed out applicants. If this is the case, you'll want to be on top of your game each step of the way.
  2. First you'll want to prepare for the types of job interview questions and answers.This goes along with number two: always try to turn a negative into a positive with job interview weakness questions. It sounds clichéd but it's true. Somehow you're going to have to make that lemon mentioned in number two into the best darn lemonade your potential employer ever tasted. Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but you need to address it without sounding like you failed at your previous job.
  3. Research the company ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with the company's current projects, what direction it's heading in and of course, who's who. Then align your skills and experience up with it. This will come in handy when you're asked this deal-breaker: "Why do you think you'd be a good fit for our company?" By combining your skills and experience with the company you're not only stating your capabilities, but creating a vision in their minds of what you can do for them.
  4. Arrive promptly and prepared!  Know where you'll be going ahead of time, and if possible, get directions and drive to the location of the interview prior to your interview time so you won't get lost. And however long you think it's going to take you to get there, assume it will take you 30 minutes longer. Flat tires and dead car battery disasters have a funny way of sprouting up in the most inopportune moments.

    Come prepared with questions of your own about the position and the company. This isn't just about what you can do for them. This is about what they can do for you as your potential employer. Bring a notepad to jot down notes and make sure to write down the names of who is giving you the interview on the notepad. Remembering names is a way of establishing rapport with people and will go a long way in determining the success of your career. It's also important that you get the names of who interviewed you so that you can address the appropriate people when sending job interview thank you notes.

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