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Acing the Interview: Preparation

With competition in today’s job market tougher than ever, having an extra edge as you enter an interview is increasingly important. This week, Corporate Speech Solutions continues with our blog series in helping you learn the skills to ace that interview!

While each interview you go on will be different, there are similarities in the process which tie them together. With proper advance preparation, you can use this to your advantage and be more relaxed and ready when the big day comes.

Research: A few days before your interview, take the time to do some research on the company and position. You can use this information to better tailor your responses in the interview to fit the company’s needs. Some areas of research may be broad, such as company culture, while others may be more specific, such as the average salary for your desired position. To get started, simply type the name of the company into an internet search engine, and explore from there.

Consider: Take some time to think about honest answers to the following questions: “Why am I passionate about this field?”; “What is it about this particular company/position that I find attractive?”; “How have I advanced professionally and personally over the course of my career?” Thinking through these questions will give you a strong foundation on which to base more specific interview questions.

Specify: Now that you’ve done some broad consideration, begin to get specific by finding ways to exemplify and quantify your strengths. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down one concrete achievement for each of your strengths. You can also use this exercise in reverse: think of a major professional success, and then brainstorm different personal and professional qualities which helped you achieve it.

Prepare: Using the information from the previous steps, prepare answers for some popular interview questions. While the actual interview questions may be worded differently, they will often have a similar theme. You don’t need to create an exact script for each, but the act of mentally preparing an answer will help you to be more relaxed and fluid during the actual interview. The following are some common classic interview questions:

  • “What do you consider your greatest strength/weakness?”
  • “Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?”
  • “How does your experience make you a better candidate for this position?”
  • “Why do you want to work for this company?”
  • “Why did you leave your last job?”
  • “What has been your biggest professional success/disappointment?”

Stay tuned: Next week we continue our series on interview skills with ways to put this excellent preparation into practice!