Preparing for a Job Interview Following are some things you should keep in mind when preparing for a job interview: •Assuming you have a well-written and honest resume, review it often, especially before an interview. Many questions asked will be generated by the information in your resume. Question yourself about every item on it, and be ready to respond, preferably using anecdotes and concrete examples. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume with you to the interview just in case the interviewer did not receive it or has misplaced it. Do your homework about each company with whom you interview. Go on the Internet or go to the library and check available reference sources to enable you to ask intelligent questions. By researching a company, you demonstrate that you have a real interest in the position, which can ultimately impress an employer. •Know precisely how to get to the site of the interview, even if it means making a trial run a few days in advance. •Know how long it takes you to get to the interview, and leave enough time to arrive early. Being late for an interview will almost always doom your chances.
Candidates who arrive just in time are also generally flustered, which can hurt the interview. Get there early and use the cushion of time to gather your thoughts. •Be certain you know the interviewer’s name and find out how to pronounce it if it looks difficult. •Choose the appropriate wardrobe and have it ready ahead of time. Arriving with a button missing or scuffed shoes does not make a good initial impression. There is no substitute for neatness. Dress conservatively, even if the culture of the company with which you’re interviewing is informal.
Remember you are looking for a job, not going to a party. If appropriate, you can always dress down once you’ve landed the job. •Leave any negative feelings at home; bring only your positive, upbeat self to the interview. Pledge to be friendly with everyone with whom you come in contact, including the receptionist, the interviewer’s secretary, and everyone else introduced to you. Managers often ask others who come in contact with a candidate for their evaluation. •Be committed to speaking positively and kindly about other people, including fellow students, professors, and previous employers.
If the interview has come through your college placement office, there is a good possibility you will know some other students with whom you are in competition. If their names come up, avoid the natural temptation to point out something negative. Rather than enhancing your own potential for getting the job, you diminish yourself in the interviewer’s eyes. •Potential employers want “proof” of the things you say, so be ready to present examples of the skills and abilities attained in school and in previous jobs. Take the opportunity to tell the interviewer about your goals and strong points. Be alert to your surroundings and listen carefully to what the interviewer says. Often, you’ll learn what the interviewer likes and doesn’t like in a candidate, as well as gaining insight into what the job demands. A good listener is able to build upon that knowledge and come back with the sort of responses an interviewer wants to hear. •Remember that any answer you give to a question is likely to be followed by additional questions. If you’re asked if you like to read, simply saying “yes” isn’t sufficient when the interviewer follows up with, “What books have you read lately, and which have impressed you most? •Avoid accepting offers of food or beverages during the interview. Spilling coffee on yourself does nothing to enhance your image. If the interview should involve lunch or dinner, order smart. You may love spaghetti, but it can be pretty messy to eat. Also, decline the offer of alcoholic beverages. •Keep in mind that while you’re a graduate with an accounting degree, and are looking for a job in accounting, you are engaged in direct selling when being interviewed. A good salesperson, after making an effective presentation, always asks for the order.
That rule also applies to seeking jobs. If the interview went well, and you believe you are qualified for the job and can handle the responsibilities, say so. Modest self-confidence is rewarded initially by employer confidence in you – and later on if you are successful in your job. •Every interview should be followed with a short, courteous note thanking the interviewer. The note could indicate something positive in your favor that you forgot to bring up during the interview itself, as well as express your continued interest in the position.