Jobseeker’s Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview

Job Seeker's Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview: Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com resume writing services resume writing professional resume writing resume resume cover letter professional cover letter writing a professional resume executive resume writing resume professional resume writing companies it resumes resume writing service professionally written resume writing a resume resume services professional resume writing service make over resume writing professional professional resume service professional resume writing services professional resume services resume professionals professional resume writing cv writing best resumes writing resumes job resume resumes and cover letters cv writing service professional resume examples it resume help with resume write a resume job resumes resume template résumé free job search resume help good resumes sales professional resume professional resumes professional resume builder resumes best resume writing service executive resume writing service nursing resume resume writing help write resume executive resume resume service reviews resume makeover resume preparation services best resume writing services example resume games for girls best resume services resume services writing girls games work resume it resume examples resume example resume writing examples resume for job resume services online cover letter writing examples of professional resumes resume services nyc free job posting sites virtual hairstyles sample cover letter best resume service resume templates cv template top resume writing services resume editing services professional resume format make over games try on hairstyles resume examples resume building resume services dallas it professional resume resume writing services nyc taaz.com resume for a job profesional resume resume service executive resume writing services cv samples writing a cv monster.com jobsearch experienced professional resume resume writing service reviews www.taaz.com federal resume writing services work search cover letters for resumes make overs cover letter writing service resumes services

The goal of the résumé is to get you a job interview (and then the job.) Once you secure an interview, researching and preparing for the interview is important. Like studying for a test, some of the information you can prepare ahead of time — and some of it is important to review just to be better prepared in general. Believe it or not, many job candidates don’t prepare for job interviews. Spending just 30-60 minutes (at a minimum) can improve your chances of securing a job offer.

Research on the company can be vital information that you can use to your advantage in the interview. It will also shape your ability to answer the interviewer’s questions, and can give you a strategic advantage when it comes to salary negotiation.

Think about a job interview from the employer’s perspective. They are looking for the best fit — skills, experience, education — and, most importantly, fit with the company’s culture. Focusing on the needs and preferences of the company can help you identify which aspects of your work history and background will best serve your future employer.

Like Zig Ziglar said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

By understanding a company’s needs, you can identify how you can help them in the job you’re seeking — and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the position.

If it’s a sales job, you’ll want to show them how you can:

  • Increase sales, revenue, and profits
  • Secure new business while retaining existing customers

If you’re applying for an information technology position, you’ll want to demonstrate your:

  • Ability to solve problems
  • Skill in helping the company save money on their technology needs

In her book “Résumé Magic,” author Susan Britton Whitcomb suggests jobseekers target what she calls “employer buying motivators.” These include the company’s desire to:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Save time
  • Make work easier
  • Solve a specific problem
  • Be more competitive
  • Build relationships / an image
  • Expand business
  • Attract new customers
  • Retain existing customers

 

Keep these in mind as you prepare for the interview.

It also helps to understand that the information an interviewer wants from you falls into a couple of broad categories:

  • Who You Are
  • What Sets You Apart From the Other Candidates
  • Can You Solve a Problem We Have? (Remember, all jobs solve a problem)
  • Why You Might Not Be The Best Fit For the Job
  • Why You’re Looking For a New Job (Unemployed? Underemployed? Seeking a better opportunity — but why?)

 

Understanding that most interview questions will fall into these broad categories will also help you prepare for the interview.

Before your interview, ask for a list of the people you will be meeting with for the interview. Don’t be shy about this — it’s a completely normal request. Be sure to ask for spelling of the name(s). This will help you conduct your pre-interview research.

Not only will you want to research your interviewer(s) — by Googling them and/or conducting a people search on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and/or BranchOut — but you’ll also want to find out who you know in common so you can get advance insight into the interviewer and the hiring process.

Your research before the interview can also help you ask better questions in the interview. Remember — a job interview is about “fit” — but the “fit” from your perspective is as important as “fit” from the company’s point of view. The job interview is like a first date — you want to see what you have in common and whether it’s worthwhile to continue to pursue a relationship or whether you should “see other people.”

If you are given a choice of times you would like to interview, consider your personal preferences — such as, are you a morning person, or not — and also the overall interview schedule. Generally it’s best not to be the first person interviewed for a job. As with house hunting, the natural inclination is not to believe that the first candidate is the best one — interviewers generally have a better idea of what they want — and don’t want — after conducting several interviews.

The “Pre-Interview Checklist” is very important. Fill this out for each of your interviews. Don’t skip this step! Knowing this information can give you a competitive advantage over other (unprepared) candidates.

Fill out as much information as you can. The more you know about the company, the interviewer(s), and the job, the more confident you will be.

Download the Pre-Interview Worksheet and Checklist today!

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Job Search: Pre-Interview Worksheet and Checklist

Jobseekers Guide Interactive Pre Interview Worksheet and Checklist - Job Search Advice from ResumeButterfly.com

Pre-Interview Worksheet and Checklist

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 Read this post first – Jobseeker’s Guide to Preparing for the Job Interview. Remember, research on the company can be vital information that you can use to your advantage in the interview. It will also shape your ability to answer the interviewer’s questions, and can give you a strategic advantage when it comes to salary negotiation.

 

JOB OPPORTUNITY

 

Job Title You’re Interviewing For                                                                                                       

Date/Time of the Interview                                                                                                               

 

COMPANY INFORMATION

 

Company Name                                                                                                                                 

Address                                                                                                                                              

Phone Number                                                                                                                                   

Website                                                                                                                                             

  • Review the company website — in particular, the “About” page, “Media” section (if there is one), and information about their products and services.
  • Check out the source code on the company website to see if there are particular keywords that give insight to the company’s focus. (Go to the company website. In your web browser, go to the “View” menu and choose “View Source.”) Note: Not all companies include this information in their source code (look at the title code and meta tags).
  • Describe the company (Is it a subdivision of another company? How many employees? How many locations? What industry? Structure — public, private, family-owned, nonprofit, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Facebook business page:  www.facebook.com/                                                                              

  • Look at the content the company posts, but also look at what other people post on the company’s page. Can you identify any potential problems that need solving?

 

Company Twitter handle:  @                                                                                                                      

 

Blog URL:                                                                                                                                           

  • Review the blog for greater insight into the company.

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/                                                                                            

  • Take a look at the official videos posted by the company.
  • Also do a search for the company on YouTube and see if there are any videos posted by employees, the media, or affiliates.

 

Notes/thoughts based on online profile research                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

GOOGLE

  1. Do a Google search on the company. Review the first three pages of Google results — anything interesting?

 

Notes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  1. Look at what other job postings are open at the company — these can help you identify growth opportunities in the company.
  2. Do a Google news search on the company (news.google.com).

 

Any news stories?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Any major announcements in the last 18 months?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

LINKEDIN

Search “Companies” on LinkedIn

  • Does the company have a profile on LinkedIn?         Yes          No
  • How many followers does the company have on its company page?                            

 

If the company has a profile, does it list:
Company type:  
Company size:   
Industry:            
Year founded:                                                                                                                                    
Headquarters (location):                                                                                                                   
Makeup of employees (location, job title, education):

 

  • Also look at the “Viewers Also Viewed” list of companies. These are potential competitors for you to research.
  • You will also be able to see if any of your existing connections are affiliated with the company. You can also see “2nd degree” or “3rd degree” contacts. You can click through to those profiles for additional information on the employee’s background.
  • The “Insights” tab (if one is available for the company) will give you information about the company’s employees
  • If the company has provided “Company Updates,” be sure to read those.
  • On the company’s LinkedIn page, click the yellow “Follow” button, and information about the company will be included in your “Updates” feed on the home page of your LinkedIn profile

 

THE INTERVIEWER

You can often find this information on LinkedIn, Facebook, or through a Google search.

  • Who Are You Interviewing With?

Name                                                                         

Job Title                                                                      

  • Google your interviewer’s name.

Notes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

    • Twitter handle:   @                                                                                                                
    • Approximate Age (and Date of Birth, If Known):                                                                  
    • College/University                                                                                                                 
    • Degree Pursued/Achieved                                                                                                     
    • Year Graduated                                                                                                                     
    • Military Service __ No  __ Yes (if yes, which branch:                                                )
    • Family – Married? Kids?                                                                                                        
    • How Long in Current Job?                                                                                                      
    • Previous Positions with the Company                                                                                    
  • Previous Company                                                                                                           
  • Previous Job Title                                                                                                             
  • Professional or Trade Organization Memberships                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Social Clubs / Associations / Affiliations                                                                          
  • Active in Community (Community Service) or Religion (describe)                                                                                                                                                                          
  • Honors/Awards                                                                                                                
  • Hobbies / Recreational Interests*                                                                                   

* Do not bring these up unless confirmed by evidence in interviewer’s office (i.e., trophies, awards)

  • Sports Interests (Teams)                                                                                                  

 

  • Do a Google Image search to find a photo of the interviewer (images.google.com/)
    • Is this individual making the hiring decision?   __ Yes  __ No
    • If no, what is the name/title of the hiring decision-maker?
    • Name                                                                               
    • Job Title
  • Does the interviewer have a profile on LinkedIn?  __ Yes  __ No
    • Who do you know in common? Who do I know who knows this interviewer?
  1.                                                                                    
  2.                                                                                    
  3.                                                                                    
  4.                                                                                    
  5.                                                                                    
  • What LinkedIn groups is he/she a member of?
  • If the interviewer is a technical manager, have they written any LinkedIn Recommendations for current or previous employees? What skills/attributes did they value?

 

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Who is the company’s biggest competitor?                                                                                                  

Website                                                                                                                                                          

 

Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) Analysis

 

STRENGTHS (compared to the competitor, what is the prospective employer’s greatest strengths in the market)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

WEAKNESSES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

OPPORTUNITIES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

THREATS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

 

UNDERSTANDING THE POSITION

Who does this position report to (name and job title):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

Do any employees report to this position (names and job titles):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

What are the top three challenges of the job?

1.                                                                                                                                                                    

2.                                                                                                                                                                    

3.                                                                                                                                                                    

 

Which “employer buying motivators” apply to this position?

__        Make money                                       __        Save money

__        Save time                                            __        Make work easier

__        Solve a specific problem                     __        Be more competitive

__        Build relationships / an image           __        Expand business

__        Attract new customers                       __        Retain existing customers

 

Based on salary research, I would expect this position to pay between:
$                                    and $                                     .

 

PERSONAL ASSESSMENT

 

What is my biggest strength/qualification for this position? What sets me apart from other candidates?

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

 

What might keep me from getting the job?

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

 

What question do you least want to be asked in this interview?

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Context / Challenge / Action / Results Statements (CCAR)

  1. Prepare 2-3 CCAR stories (Context – Challenge – Action – Result) based on your research of the company and the position.

Employers generally formulate their interview questions around the skills they are seeking in a candidate. These skills can be:

  • Job-Specific: Technical skills that are gained through education, training, and/or hands-on experience.
  • Transferable: Skills such as problem-solving, organization, or leadership – that are inherent to you, not specific to any one job.
  • Interpersonal: Skills such as communication and collaboration.

 

Identify up to five skills that are required for the position you are seeking. These can be skills identified in the job posting or by reviewing job descriptions online, on O*NET — http://www.onetonline.org/, or the Occupational Outlook Handbook — http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

 

By “nicknaming” each of these skills, it will help you remember it more easily in the interview.

  1. SKILL #1 – Nicknamed
    Context (“While working at”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    Challenge (“I was given the responsibility to”)
    Action (“So I”)
    Result (“As a result of my efforts”)
  2. SKILL #2 – Nicknamed
    Context (“While working at”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    Challenge (“I was given the responsibility to”)
    Action (“So I”)
    Result (“As a result of my efforts”)
  3. SKILL #3 – Nicknamed
    Context (“While working at”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
    Challenge (“I was given the responsibility to”)
    Action (“So I”)
    Result (“As a result of my efforts”)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Based on your research, what three questions would you want to ask in the interview:

  1.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  2.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  3.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

REFERENCES

 

Who are your “ideal” references to use for this position? Contact each of them to ask permission to use them as a reference for this position; let them know you’ll be in touch with them after the interview to let them know how it went and prepare them for any specific issues they may be asked to address.

 

  • Reference #1                                                                                                                               

Contacted on (date)                                                                                                                     

  • Reference #2                                                                                                                               

Contacted on (date)                                                                                                                     

  • Reference #3                                                                                                                               

Contacted on (date)                                                                                                                     

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

Notes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


AFTER THE INTERVIEW

 

Take a few moments right after your job interview to write down your thoughts. Read through these questions before the interview so that you’ll have an idea of what kind of information you’ll be recording. Research shows that we forget almost half of what we’ve heard after just four hours, so the sooner you can complete the post-interview worksheet, the better.

 

Company                                                                                                                                                        

Job Title You Interviewed For                                                                                                                        

Date/Time of the Interview                                                                                                                           

Most Important Questions You Were Asked:

  1.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  2.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  3.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  4.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  5.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

“Connections” — What did interviewer like most/best about your skills/education/experience?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

“Disconnection” — Did the interviewer raise any concerns about your skills, education, and/or experience?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Does the company offer continuing education/training (describe)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Opportunities to advance (describe)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Pay/Benefit Information*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
* Do not ask about pay/benefits unless the interviewer brings it up. Consider giving a salary range.

 

REFERENCES

Contact your references and let them know about how the interview went and any specific issues (good/bad) they should be aware of, if contacted by the interviewer.

 

  • Reference #1
    Contacted on (date)                                                                                                               
  • Reference #2
    Contacted on (date)                                                                                                               
  • Reference #3
    Contacted on (date)                                                                                                               

 

NEXT STEP

Follow-up/next step (Will they contact you? More interviews?)

 

When is hiring decision expected?
If I don’t hear back by this date, I will follow up:                                                                              

  • Send a thank you note to the interviewer (handwritten or via email, within 48 hours of interview).

 

Additional notes from interview:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

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