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Job Interview Preparation
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Job Interview Preparation

The job search is a trying and frustrating process. It is easy to be discouraged by the lack of contacts with employers amidst the endless resumes and job applications. Speaking with a potential employer is an exciting opportunity, yet the thrill is even greater once an interview is scheduled. However, there is little more discouraging than failing to be prepared for the job interview. Securing employment requires job interviews, and job interviews require preparation. I recently had the opportunity to work with an experienced interviewer in preparation for upcoming interviews in my job search. The help he provided is invaluable and has already proven fruitful. The first step in preparing for the interview is to Know Yourself. I encourage you to read my article explaining the steps to accurately know yourself for the job interview.

The second step is to prepare for a situational interview. Employers want to know about you and your skills, but they really want to know how you have handled situations and circumstances in your previous work experience. They will ask you situational questions and you must be prepared to answer them with well thought-out answers. You can impress the interviewer, but it will require work and preparation. Spend time writing out 4-6 situations you have faced in the past while employed. Let me offer you a few key principles to remember as you write out these situations.

Be thorough. Your goal is to cover everything. If the employer is able to ask a probing question for more details when you finish, then you have completely answered the question. Answer so thoroughly that there aren't any follow-up questions to be asked.

Be honest. Your goal is not to prepare only situations where you were the clear hero. You want to demonstrate your failures, fears, struggles, and disagreements. You also want to clearly explain how you handled those issues and the solution that you provided. If you do not have any situations with these facets, you won't be prepared.

Be real. The goal is not to write in a formal, uncharacteristic way. Remember, you are only writing for your own benefit. In the interview, you will be telling the employer your story. Write as if you were sitting before the interviewer telling him your situation.

Proofread. The point with this step is not necessarily to correct grammar issues (though that is part of this), but rather to fill in the gaps. Once you have written your situations, let them sit for some time. Then come back and re-read the situation filling in the gaps that you missed the first time through. Remember, you want to be thorough.

Study. Writing the situations down will prove helpful, but will not be enough to adequately prepare you for the job interview. You need to know these situations with precision. I don't believe it is necessary, or even the right thing, to memorize them, but you will need to know them well. The interview is nerve-racking enough, you don't need the added pressure of unpreparedness.

The most rewarding part of the job search is a successful interview, beginning with knowing yourself. Success in a job interview does not necessarily mean you received a job interview. A successful interview requires that you be prepared. Once you have finished an interview confidently and honestly answering all of the posed questions, you can rest in confidence that you have been successful.


Street Talk

The job search can be stressful. Start by writing your career stories. Have fun creating your portfolio full of stories with challenges, problem-solving, and successes. You will have a treasure trove of stories to draw from for your cover letter, interview, and thank you letter. Be prepared, find your passion, and enjoy the process.

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  about 7 years ago
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