Job interviews can be very scary experiences, even for people who have gone through the process many times. To pass the interview, candidates must present themselves well and show that in addition to being the most qualified for a certain position, they are also able to explain why. The interviewers sit across a large desk and take notes on every answer that is given. Performance in the job interview frequently determines if a candidate will get the job. Because the job interview is so important, it must be carefully prepared for, especially in very competitive fields. There are a few basic steps that anyone can take to be prepared for a job interview.
The first step is to research the company carefully. Before job candidates ever go into a job interview, they should look up any information they can find about the company online. One reason for this is a very practical one: it can help the job candidates make sure that they want to work for a particular company or that they have the necessary skills for the job they are applying for. If the company feels like the right fit, doing research about the company will also give job candidates an advantage in the interview. It is easy for the interviewer to know if a job candidate is informed about the company during the job interview because the interviewer will typically be someone who has experience in the company. Researching the company will also help job candidates prepare a few questions of their own. Questions to research could include what the company sells, who the leaders are, where they do business, if they have been in the news (and why), or how the company stocks are doing. The initial step of doing some research about the company is crucial to being ready for an interview.
After job candidates have done some research online and decided to move forward with the job application, the next thing they should do is prepare a resume. The resume first needs to fit the job description and show any experience that job candidates have that would make them a good candidate for the job. For example, if a job candidate is applying for a job as a receptionist, it is better to include work experience from an office job than work experience from a job in a restaurant. In addition to work experience, the resume should include any skills that job candidates have that would be useful in the job they are applying for. Sometimes these skills are listed specifically in the job description as required skills. Sometimes they are listed as preferred skills. In either case, listing relevant skills will help potential employers understand who is most qualified for a certain job. Finally, the resume should look very professional. The fonts should be easy to read and the spelling and grammar should not have mistakes. An accurate, carefully written resume will put any job candidate one step closer to being ready for a job interview.
Finally, job candidates should practice for the interview. Lists of interview questions are widely available online, and by practicing before going into an interview, candidates can feel more confident in the interview. While interview questions cannot be perfectly anticipated, many common mistakes can be avoided by having time to think about the anwer before candidates are put on the spot. For example, some interviewers may ask a job candidate to describe one of his weaknesses. That topic can be especially difficult to talk about if a job candidate has never thought about it before because it will typically be associated with negative feelings. Even if candidates don’t practice the questions that are asked in the interview, having the experience of answering questions intelligently will increase their confidence and help them appear more relaxed in the interview. This final step will help job candidates be ready for an interview.
While they may seem simple, these steps will help job candidates be ready for their next job interview. Researching the company will give them the background knowledge they need, polishing their resume will give the company hiring committee the background information they need, and practicing for the interview will help candidates show their strengths. Job interviews will still cause some nervousness, but they don’t need to cause job candidates crippling fear. With the right preparation, even if it’s your first interview, you’ll be ready.
Read one of the two Process Example Essays on the following pages to complete this exercise.