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Job Search: What Is Your Interview Accomplishing?

by Miranda Marquit

When it comes to the job hunt, few things are more important than the interview. You want your interview show the prospective employer that you are the person for the job. Are you prepared so that your interview will accomplish what you want it to?

Main Parts of the Job Interview

There are five main parts to a job interview. You need to make sure that you are nailing each of these items when you go in for an interview:

  1. Show knowledge of the company and its needs.
  2. Articulate the value you can bring to the company.
  3. Ask smart questions that illustrate your intelligence and interest in the company.
  4. Possibly negotiate pay.
  5. Follow up on the interview.

This means that, before you attend an interview you need to do your research. You should familiarize yourself with the company, and try to determine what you are likely to do if you got a job with the employer. Also, it is wise to think about what you bring to the table, and why it is of value. Think of smart questions to ask about the job and the company, and consider your market value. You should have a solid understanding of what you are worth, and how your pay should stack up with others in your field. Finally, consider following up on the interview. If writing one, a thank you note to the interview should be sent within two business days of the interview, and a follow up about the job should take place with seven to 10 days.

Preparing for Your Job Interview

If you want to come across as a competent professional, it is vital that you prepare ahead of time for your interview. Proper research can help you master the material ahead of your interview. It also helps to think of these things as you apply for a job, since it is possible that the prospective employer could call you for a spot phone interview. (This happened to my husband once.) As you prepare your application, consider the five items listed above, and think about what you have to offer the company.

Practice the main points you want to emphasize in the job interview. You can do this by sitting in front of a mirror, or asking someone to practice with you. Think of possible questions that the interviewer might pose, and practice answering those. Another consideration is how you can sell yourself on your potential if you are a little weak in one area. Practice illustrating how skills you have can translate into an area that you might not have as much experience in.

It is important to treat your interview as an opportunity to converse with your potential employer, and show that you could be a good fit for the position. This is your chance to shine, and you can’t do that if you aren’t prepared. By having an idea of what to expect in a job interview, you can better prepare — and increase the chances that you will get the job.


Published or updated October 21, 2010.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LoveBeingRetired

You can gather a lot of information on the company website ahead of time. I always take a look at the News Releases to see if anything noteworthy has happened recently so I a on top of it. I watch product demos and press videos to get a feel for the company positioning and message. And I create a list of questions specific to my role to ask during the interview so I better understand the company direction and how I would fit in with their culture and direction. Preparation is the key!

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2 EasyFinanceAdvice

Great post! Great advice about the phone interview… that also happened to me as well. Be sure to make your resume POP in order to get that interview.

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