Interview Preparation

Get new comments by email
You can cancel email alerts at anytime.
Comments (24)

Joe Gagill in Ellenville, New York

46 months ago

Just wondering....................How many hours do you prepare for a job interview??? You know going over your resume, thinking about questions that they are going ask, practicing the dreaded behavior questions, etc

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (14) / No (2) Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

46 months ago

Joe Gagill in Ellenville, New York said: Just wondering....................How many hours do you prepare for a job interview??? You know going over your resume, thinking about questions that they are going ask, practicing the dreaded behavior questions, etc

Now, not many. I have had a lot of practice. LOL!

In the beginning, I use to get my sister to do mock inteviews with me.

If you go in with that "just be yourself" approach, you got out of bed for nothing. Don't BS them but those days are over. The competition is intense now.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

sighing in southern, New Jersey

46 months ago

An hour maybe, but I have to be honest, I really do not feel like doing that anymore. The way I have been treated on interviews lately has left me with very little motivation. That being said:

I always have extra copies of my resume/letter with me. I make sure everything is good to go the night before.

I do research if I do not know about the place, so I have some kind of foundation. I also try to prepare a couple of questions to ask.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

46 months ago

I view interview prep differently than many people.

For me, interview prep began long before I applied for the job. It began when I started constructing my resume(s). That's where I laid the foundation for my preparation.

Preparing my own resume forces me to inventory my work and school history - what I do, have done and what I accomplished - and how best to present it (something, Joe, you would appreciate as a salesman). Presentation means drafting and redrafting my resume(s). In doing so I reinforce in my mind my message. At the same time it prepares me for fielding common interview questions. Drafting cover letters also helps with that process.

Then, I view the entire employment process as a form of written and oral exam. The written part certainly involves preparing resumes and cover letters that answer any preliminary questions employers may have. The written exam part also involves completing app forms. Along with providing requested information, the app form helps the employer determine if one can follow directions. (The same can be said about adhering to "no calls, please" requests in job postings and answering salary issues up front, etc.) The employer is also evaluates attention to detail (not leaving items blank, etc.) and ability to answer questions directly.

Finally, you have to research the company. These days, with internet it's easy. Then you will be ready to answer questions about the company and explain why you want to work there. Of course the answer is easy - you need a job! But you still have to flatter them somewhat.

All this takes time. But if you do your homework on yourself, you should be ready to answer questions about yourself. Your "accomplishment" section on your resume should help you answer those stupid behavioral questions. Your company research will help you design answers that prove to the interviewer you belong at the company.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Denver, Colorado

46 months ago

For me, it varies a lot. If the company has a comprehensive web site, then it obviously takes longer to research the company. If the job description is detailed, then I spend time coming up with questions and selling points that address specific items in the job description, otherwise I just go with the generic questions and try to come up with more job-specific questions as the interview progresses. If the company sends me any reports, then I need to spend time reading them (one research organization that I interviewed sent me their complete mission statement and methodology - 60+ pages).

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

46 months ago

Not much time at all. Like others have said, I bring an extra copy of my resume and cover letter and I research the firm/company to get a feel of their area of work, how many people work there, etc.

As far as my answers go, I know my history like the back of my hand. It's probably good to have canned responses ready for scripted questions. "What are your weaknesses?" That's one of the stupidest questions ever but is often asked.

The best thing to do before an interview is be loose. It also helps to talk or communicate with people on the day of the interview sometime prior to the interview to get loose and warmed up. Watching a few Seinfeld videos on you tube also helps me loosen up.

You have to know your stuff, be poised, be calm, be yourself and hope they like you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Californian in Berkeley, California

46 months ago

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado said: Then you will be ready to answer questions about the company and explain why you want to work there. Of course the answer is easy - you need a job!

This question is the single most irritating question in the book. So, it's not enough to need a job, to match the requirements in the job you saw, you now have to profess a love and passion for "whatever the F... they do". "Gosh, yes, I've always admired the way your business goes about selling turnips. There's just something special about XYZ Refrigeration and I knew, when I heard the name for the first time, that putting on the uniform was for me".

Hey, how about you do some homework and take a "learn to ask intelligent interview questions about the job" instead of sitting there like an arrogant unimaginative example of exactly why there would be no reason, other than needing a job, that I'd ever consider working for your sorry excuse of a company.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (10) / No Reply - Report abuse

Stillsmiling in Kingsland, Georgia

46 months ago

All the suggestions given are really good. If you spend too much time worrying over the interview, it probably won't go so well. Go over your resume, be prepared to answer just about any question they ask you and listen carefully to them when they tell you about the job. Now a days, a lot of interviews are scripted questions and they are looking for specific answers so be sure you have thoroughly read the job description so you can tell them how your education/experience fits with the job. But most of all, if (and when) they ask you if you have any questions, don't say no you don't. Have questions prepared that you can ask them. They like that. Not about pay or benefits unless they bring it up first. Ask questions such as:

What happened to the last person who held this job?

What is the typical day-to-day like for this position?

What kind of person are you looking for?

What is the next steps in the interview process?

I always try to come up with at least 3 questions before I go to an interview so I can be prepared but by listening carefully, you may come up with other questions to show you are active in the interview process.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (3) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

46 months ago

Stillsmiling in Kingsland, Georgia said: All the suggestions given are really good. If you spend too much time worrying over the interview, it probably won't go so well. Go over your resume, be prepared to answer just about any question they ask you and listen carefully to them when they tell you about the job. Now a days, a lot of interviews are scripted questions and they are looking for specific answers so be sure you have thoroughly read the job description so you can tell them how your education/experience fits with the job. But most of all, if (and when) they ask you if you have any questions, don't say no you don't. Have questions prepared that you can ask them. They like that. Not about pay or benefits unless they bring it up first. Ask questions such as:

What happened to the last person who held this job?

What is the typical day-to-day like for this position?

What kind of person are you looking for?

What is the next steps in the interview process?

I always try to come up with at least 3 questions before I go to an interview so I can be prepared but by listening carefully, you may come up with other questions to show you are active in the interview process.

I agree 100%. You can throw most Interviewing books in the trash. Buy books on closing the sale instead.

Anytime, the interview drifts into a "Why should I hire you?" scenario, you are trying to sell a used car and that would be you.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

kiki9 in New Jersey

46 months ago

Good advice from all, I personally believe good preparation is essential. I've tried all methods said above, my problem is I become sooo nervous! In spite of my detailed preparation & being completely qualified for the position, last week I became so nervous during an interview, my voice actually was unsteady answering a question! Yikes!
Any advice on how not to be so nervous?

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

46 months ago

kiki9 in New Jersey said: Good advice from all, I personally believe good preparation is essential. I've tried all methods said above, my problem is I become sooo nervous! In spite of my detailed preparation & being completely qualified for the position, last week I became so nervous during an interview, my voice actually was unsteady answering a question! Yikes!
Any advice on how not to be so nervous?

Go on ten more interviews. LOL!

This use to happen to me. I would actually have mini anxiety attacks the morning of the interview. Now it doesn't phase me quite as much.

If you can get someone to do mock interviews with you at the kitchen table, it will help but you have to take it seriously.

There is nothing at all natural about being interviewed.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

JD in Yerington, Nevada

46 months ago

Great advice from everyone here. One of the key things just about everyone has hit on is research - research the company, the job itself, and common questions. Mock interviews help a lot, but, as Bluetea said, you have to take it seriously, and you have to have someone who'll give you honest feedback. It's normal to be nervous during interviews, but you can decrease that quite a bit by practice, preparation, and research. Essentially, spend as much time on interview preparation as you need; there's no set time amount.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

Joe Gagill in Middletown, New York

46 months ago

I basically treat it like I'm preparing for the Presidential debate. I lock myself in my room for 2 days. Mom knows to leave dinner on the floor outside my room.

On the ride to my interview today I'll be listening to such songs as "We are the Champions" by Queen and some other songs.

I wish I could make Wal-Mart a career. I'd only need 1 hour to prepare then.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado

46 months ago

One point I'd add is try to find out the name(s) of your interviewer(s). Ask the scheduler for their names. Then research them. Read about them on the company website. Google them. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook or wherever. If you properly conduct your due diligence, you will arrive at the interview knowing more about them than they will know about you, and they will seem less like strangers.

Also ask if you will be tested. Don't ask specifics. Let the scheduler answer and prepare accordingly. If you're told "no," it's no guarantee that you won't be sandbagged with some kind of test at your interview.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

JD in Yerington, Nevada

46 months ago

Unemployed Paralegal in Denver, Colorado said: One point I'd add is try to find out the name(s) of your interviewer(s). Ask the scheduler for their names. Then research them. Read about them on the company website. Google them. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook or wherever. If you properly conduct your due diligence, you will arrive at the interview knowing more about them than they will know about you, and they will seem less like strangers.

Also ask if you will be tested. Don't ask specifics. Let the scheduler answer and prepare accordingly. If you're told "no," it's no guarantee that you won't be sandbagged with some kind of test at your interview.

Very good points.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Bluetea in Texas

46 months ago

JD in Yerington, Nevada said: Great advice from everyone here. One of the key things just about everyone has hit on is research - research the company, the job itself, and common questions. Mock interviews help a lot, but, as Bluetea said, you have to take it seriously, and you have to have someone who'll give you honest feedback. It's normal to be nervous during interviews, but you can decrease that quite a bit by practice, preparation, and research. Essentially, spend as much time on interview preparation as you need; there's no set time amount.

"Being interviewed is a lot like dating. The only difference, is that at the end of a date, there is a slim chance you might be naked!" - Seinfeld.

As funny as this is, its true.

The problem now is that you only have a few minutes to stand out from all the other "dates". I have been on interviews where three other people are waiting in the lobby and they have the same 9:00 am appointment as I do. Makes you feel very special. LOL!

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

46 months ago

kiki9 in New Jersey said: Good advice from all, I personally believe good preparation is essential. I've tried all methods said above, my problem is I become sooo nervous! In spite of my detailed preparation & being completely qualified for the position, last week I became so nervous during an interview, my voice actually was unsteady answering a question! Yikes!
Any advice on how not to be so nervous?

Don't think of it as an interview. Think of it as a discussion that you are going to control and dominate. Pretend it's a debate, and the moderator asks you a question. You're not necessarily going to answer the question, you're going to say what you want to say. Most of the time, in scripted interviews, the questions aren't all that specific and you can riff through it. Just don't riff for long.

Be confident, relaxed, forthcoming, brief and control the interview. Of course, what do I know? I've failed 25 interviews.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

46 months ago

Joe Gagill in Middletown, New York said: I basically treat it like I'm preparing for the Presidential debate. I lock myself in my room for 2 days.

I get that this is an attempted joke (haha), but don't do this. Ever. Communicating with people the day of will relax you and prepare you.

Sorry to be so serious, stiff and unfunny. But getting a job and eating are, um, kind of important.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes / No Reply - Report abuse

Jeff in Denver, Colorado

46 months ago

Stillsmiling in Kingsland, Georgia said: All the suggestions given are really good. If you spend too much time worrying over the interview, it probably won't go so well. Go over your resume, be prepared to answer just about any question they ask you and listen carefully to them when they tell you about the job. Now a days, a lot of interviews are scripted questions and they are looking for specific answers so be sure you have thoroughly read the job description so you can tell them how your education/experience fits with the job. But most of all, if (and when) they ask you if you have any questions, don't say no you don't. Have questions prepared that you can ask them. They like that. Not about pay or benefits unless they bring it up first. Ask questions such as:

What happened to the last person who held this job?

What is the typical day-to-day like for this position?

What kind of person are you looking for?

What is the next steps in the interview process?

I always try to come up with at least 3 questions before I go to an interview so I can be prepared but by listening carefully, you may come up with other questions to show you are active in the interview process.

I was thinking of questions more like "Where does this organization want to be in 5 years?" or "If this organization was an animal, what animal would it be?".

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (5) / No Reply - Report abuse

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

46 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: I get that this is an attempted joke (haha), but don't do this. Ever. Communicating with people the day of will relax you and prepare you.

Sorry to be so serious, stiff and unfunny. But getting a job and eating are, um, kind of important.

Not a joke. You want the job or not. If so be prepared. Unfortunately, with so many people out of work you need to be perfect.

1)First I look at the job requirements and think about examples in my work history that match their job position requirements.

2)Then I look over everything on my resume. I need to be able to talk about anything and everything that I have down on my resume and in detail with examples. I need to tell a story.

3)I go over about 50 of those "stupid" behavioral questions. And if I don't have an example to use...I make it up. A great lie too.

4)I research the company and also the people working there thru Linkedln so I can connect with them on a personal level. For instance if they went to the same college.

5)I clean the car, get my hair cut, dye my hair sometimes, trim my nails, get the clothes ready, print out resume to take, make sure there's money in my wallet for tolls, etc

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

46 months ago

6)I think about questions to ask. ex. What's a big challenge that this industry is facing?

7)I think about how to close the interview strong.

8)I think about talking in a soft clear voice that is soothing to hear. Alot of people talk fast or because their nervous their throat is dry and because of this their voice is choppy.

9)I write down a few key phrases in my professional resume holder that I want to think about during my interview. Like, be positive, be happy to be there, be a smooth cat like Bill Clinton is when talking to the press, think before you answer...

Like football => all the weightlifting, stretching, running, film
watching, the prep that goes in to it before game day.

My problem is that I don't apply often to jobs cause there's really nothing out there. The more you apply the better the chance.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (2) / No Reply - Report abuse

alchemist in St. Louis, Missouri

40 months ago

Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York said: 6)I think about questions to ask. ex. What's a big challenge that this industry is facing?

8)I think about talking in a soft clear voice that is soothing to hear. Alot of people talk fast or because their nervous their throat is dry and because of this their voice is choppy.

This comment is a few months old, but I just read it and wanted to respond -- I have found in interviewing that being personable and relaxed is incredibly important. I'm in communications, so that may be a prerequisite. However, although you would think that no one wants a nervous or introverted communications person, a lot of people who are good writers make the transition to communications, even though the skillset (writing) is not always compatible with the personality type (extrovert) that is needed in some positions.

Even in non-communications roles, often the best interviewee -- not the best candidate -- is the one who gets the offer. You need to fit the position, but you also need to be someone that they could see working alongside other team members.

So, yes -- make sure you can speak clearly and not ten-miles-a-minute unless you are interviewing to be an auctioneer. That may mean forcing yourself into some public speaking roles outside of interviewing, just to get past the nervousness 'hump.' That could be something like reading a notice in church, or joining Toastmasters, or -- if you're in school -- making it a goal to ask one on-topic question per class.

Interviewing will never be fun, but even introverts can succeed in making it a less stressful experience.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (4) / No Reply - Report abuse

interviewsuccessformula in Reston, Virginia

36 months ago

So how many hours should you prepare for an interview? I think there is no top limit on how many hours you can dedicate to job interview preparations. You could spend 15 or 20 hours on it and really beat the day lights out preparation and do a great job in your interview. The question is on the bottom end, how little time do you need to prepare for an interview. That also depends on how well prepared you are in general to tell stories about yourself.

You have already been on a number of interviews so you already have the answers to a number of questions, then your preparations come down to doing the research of the organization and the job description itself, and learning how all those pieces line up to who you are. So that can be done pretty quickly. I would even guess that you could probably do it in a couple of hours if everything else is ready to go.

But if you do need to repair some answers to some specific questions, re-understand the job organization, or if you are after a higher level job where doing some advance preparations is really going to make the difference, then you are going to want to put in more time.

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (1) / No Reply - Report abuse

Ashley in Englewood, Colorado

36 months ago

I REALLY feel that applicants can ace any interview if you go online and find a list of behavioral interview questions, cut and paste them onto a word document, and work on answering those questions applying your own personal strengths and experiences that you would like to highlight to a potential employer. Even if you don't end up in a behavioral interview (many companies and organizations are going that way or are in the process of switching to this style of interviewing), you will find yourself incredibly adept at being able to bring up specific examples of accomplishments or situations that you may not have been able to highlight otherwise. If you can think like a behavioral interview expert, you will be an awesome interviewee. Also, make a list of your best "stories" and just review that list - think of ways ahead of time to be able to plug them into different types of interview questions. For example, as a mental health clinician and program developer, I made a list of the most satisfactory, successful, challenging, interesting, creative, etc cases I worked on over the years. I quickly reviewed just the list of cases before interviews and found that being able to access really interesting examples during interview conversation worked very well for me -- and if I had not made sure that my "best" case examples weren't in the forefront of my mind, I may have missed the opportunity to talk about a really creative/frugal/interesting/challenging way I solved such and such challenge in previous jobs. The second thing that is invaluable: I had several friends and relatives tell me that in their opinion, the MOST important thing to convey to any level of interviewer is what VALUE can or will you bring to the company. This isn't a description of your skill set or specific abilities as they relate to the job opening in question. What to be communicated is how does your skill set translate to VALUE to the company. I just got 3 job offers using this prep method

- Was this comment helpful? Yes (7) / No (1) Reply - Report abuse

» Sign in or create an account to comment on this topic.