Poll Of The Week #2: How many hours do you spend preparing for an interview?

by Rich DeMatteo on July 27, 2009 · 2 comments

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prepareThanks to those for voting in this weeks poll!  COTJ asked readers to share how many hours they spend preparing for an interview, here’s how it went:

  • First Place:  64%  0-1
  • Second Place: 27%  1-2
  • Third Place: 9% 2+

Candidates should always spend at least one hour preparing for an interview.  In my opinion, preparation builds confidence, and confidence creates a persuasive candidate who can get just about anything from the interviewers.  Pretend your interview is like a final exam from college or high school.  You can either cram your preparation into one big session a day before the interview, or maybe spread it out over time.  Think about what has worked for you before and continue to do that.  Here are some factors you should consider when preparing for your interview:

  • Put strong effort into really knowing your resume.  Your goal is to able to explain in detail your highlighted points in the resume without looking down.  This alone can take an hour, but it will prove you know yourself, as well as prove the experiences are real.  The constant eye contact with your interviewer(s) is also important.
  • Study the company.  Go through the company website to check out their history, as well as where they plan to go.  Maybe they have a new product or service that you can bring up at the interview.  Spend at least 15-30 minutes just researching the company so you can talk intelligently about what they do.  Interviewers love this.
  • Spend 10-15 minutes preparing some questions that you can ask the interviewer.  Here’s a previous article I’ve wrote about this – http://cornonthejob.com/2009/07/12/questions-you-should-ask-at-an-interview/
  • If lucky enough, you might even be told what to expect on the interview.  If they let you know which method of interviewing will be used, then research it online, and put in time practicing sample questions.
  • Write down a list of projects you’ve worked on.  Think of the positive times, and successes you’ve had in your career so far and write those down!  Write down a few negative experiences as well.  You may be asked to talk about a situation that didn’t go so well for you.  They will be looking for what you’ve taken away from that experience and what you’ve learned about yourself.  This ones important, prepare a nice list and memorize it.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  Study your resume again, and once you feel confident,  practice with a friend.  Go through your resume and try to keep your head up making eye contact the entire time.  Practicing will also help you get comfortable speaking in front of others.  Interviewing is a form of public speaking, maybe not as intense as talking to a large group, but it can be intimidating.  If you feel you need help in this area, I know a great communications specialist!  Go to http://www.RonicaCommunications.com/ and see if the services offered can help give you the confidence you need to communicate/sell yourself effectively on the interview.

There is nothing wrong with just ‘winging it’, but preparing yourself will ensure you’ve done just about everything you can to rock their socks off at the interview.  Do it…

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