Job Interview Preparation Advice

What do I need to know about job interviews? An interview is not what most job seekers think it is. It’s not a one-sided inquisition in which you have none of the power. It’s a two-way exchange of information, with an unparalleled opportunity for you to sell yourself to the person with the authority to hire you. So, as you take part in the interview process, keep this in mind.


Here are the steps to take to prepare yourself for a winning interview with Company X. Keep uppermost in your mind the problems and challenges that Company X currently faces, and how your expertise would solve them. Have they outgrown their current staff? Are software glitches crashing their web site? It’s hard to resist a candidate who can bring solutions to the table. Give consideration to some of the following job interview tips.

Learn as much as you can about the company. Conduct conventional research, as well as speaking to current and former employees.

Research your interviewer(s). Try to prepare a ‘dossier’ on the key people in the hiring company with whom you’ll be speaking. Is she a marathon runner? Has he appeared on the cover of a prominent financial publication? Find unique ways to connect with your future co-workers.

Compile a well-organized, attractively packaged folio that acts as a marketing piece for You, Inc. Did you write a PowerPoint presentation that knocked your current boss’ socks off? Did you design an award-winning skyscraper? Put it in the portfolio.

Prepare a list of intelligent, well-considered questions to ask.

A few days ahead, don the outfit you plan to wear, and examine yourself in a full-length mirror. Could it use a professional steam and press? Does your haircut look dated? Don’t jeopardize your chances by tackling these problems on interview day.

Don’t wear scent of any kind, even if it’s just a spritz! Many workplaces are scent free nowadays, and if your interviewer is environmentally sensitive, you’ve just blown your chance.

Women, go easy on the jewelry and makeup. A natural professional look is what you want.

Pack your briefcase well in advance of your interview. At a minimum, make sure that you have a nice-looking pen, several copies of your resume on quality bond paper and your work portfolio.

On the day of the interview, arrive well ahead of your appointment time. Go to the rest room, and give yourself a mirror pep talk.

First impressions are crucial. Your interviewer will judge you on your appearance and non-verbal physical cues the second you enter the room. So stand tall, make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and above all, smile, even if you’re nervous.

While in the interview, you are still being scrutinized. Don’t be guilty of the following negative actions:

• Clenched fists 
• Insecure body language, such as slouching or averting your eyes 
• Closed body language, such as sitting with arms crossed 
• Not listening or focusing on what the interviewer is saying 
• Hesitating when the interviewer asks you if you can do something. Answer with a ringing affirmative! 
• Lying because you think you won’t be caught out or to make yourself look good

Try to sneak in an endorsement from your current or former employer.

While preparing for a job interview and coming up with answers to likely questions, use your professional resume. What does a professional resume look like? You may have asked yourself this question many times in the course of finding the right professional resume writer. The answer is not always well-defined. But it certainly looks like the document that will give you the clues you need to answer almost all questions that come up during a job interview.

Mastering these techniques will keep you cool the next time you’re in the interviewing hot seat.


Paul Freiberger is President of Shimmering Resumes, a resume-writing, interview preparation, and career counseling service. Shimmering Resumes has offices in San Mateo and Menlo Park, California and provides services worldwide. Paul is the author of several books and the winner of The Los Angeles Times Book Award. He can be reached at: Paul@shimmeringresumes.com, or, by phone at 877-796-9737. More information about Shimmering Resumes is available on its web site at ShimmeringResumes.com. Paul Freiberger has written best-selling books that have changed people’s lives. He has directed communications for McKinsey & Company, the most respected global management consulting firm. His work has been widely praised for its effectiveness and compassion in many publications and reviews. Contact Paul if you are looking for a speaker at an event on the topic of career improvement.

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