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Resume and Interview Tips

Job Interview Secrets and Tips
By:Cheryl Gorski

After weeks or even months of searching for a new job, you are scheduled for an interview. While exciting, job interviews are often one of the most stressful situations individuals face during their career. Knowing how to prepare mentally and emotionally for an interview is key. Proper, thorough preparation will take much of the anxiety away from what has the potential to be an angst-ridden process.

Ask Yourself Why You Are the Best Candidate
Prepare for the interview by asking yourself what you can bring to a company that other applicants cannot. What is it that makes you the best candidate? It may be your proven ability to reach and exceed sales goals or to successfully manage a staff of 20 employees. Understand that it is not about you---it is about what you are going to contribute to help the company achieve its goals. While you may be tempted to ask about salary and benefits, the first interview is about what you will bring to the table. Be confident in your responses, and don't offer more than what you are asked.

Research and Prepare Questions
Utilize the Internet to research the company you are interviewing with. Visit its website and formulate questions you want to ask during the interview. Ask someone in the public relations department for a packet of information, including an annual report, if possible. Research the company to see if it has received publicity or if people are writing about it.

Ask thorough questions that indicate you have done your homework. For example, you might ask, "I noticed you are expanding to another community. Will you be hiring for positions in the office or relocating staff from your current location to that office?" Have at least three to five questions about the company prepared, but be flexible to ask additional questions that may come up during the interview.

Thorough research also offers you the opportunity to find out if there are "red flags" about the company, which can be an indicator to reconsider possible employment there.

Let Your Personality Shine
Be transparent. Allow the potential employer to see you for who you truly are; don't pretend to be someone you are not. For many, this tip is common sense, but others may fabricate a person who doesn't exist. A potential employer conducting a job interview can often get a sense if candidates are misrepresenting themselves. Naturally, we want to put our best foot forward when interviewing for a position, but this can be done without changing your personality. The interviewer needs to assess whether your personality, demeanor and overall attitude will suit the company's culture.

Address Gaps or Frequent Job Changes
Know how you will address tough questions regarding gaps in your employment history or if you have changed jobs frequently. Be as honest as possible; a potential employer can make a phone call to a previous manager and find out the truth. You may have reasons for employment gaps, such as you took time to reassess your career goals and further your education, tried your hand at self-employment, were laid off, or had health issues. If you changed jobs frequently, be prepared to explain your reasons why. Perhaps you had concerns that the company would face layoffs or that there was no room for advancement opportunities. Avoid bad-mouthing and offering negative opinions of a previous employer.

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