Preparing For a Job Interview

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Anxiety about an upcoming job interview is normal. Everyone is uneasy about being scrutinized and judged. Nerves are compounded by fear of the unknown. You can ease your nerves by knowing what to expect in the interview and by being prepared.

1.1 Before the Interview
You will need to do a number of things before going for an interview.
1) Do your homework.

Make full use of the resources around you. Find out as much as you can about the company with which you are interviewing. Search the Internet, find newspaper or magazine articles about the company or ask anyone who works or has worked with the company. Inform yourself about the company’s latest projects and other statistics. Being informed about the company will enable you to feel more confident about the interview. Some interviewers will ask you questions about the company to see if you made an effort to learn about your prospective employer.

2) Know your destination.
Confirm the interview date, time and venue. Certain companies have more than one branch, so do not assume that the interview will be held at the company’s main branch. Call and reconfirm. If the location of the venue is a considerable distance from your home, make an effort to go to the location using the transportation means that you will use the day of the interview, and determine how long the journey takes. Familiarize yourself with the landmarks near the venue so that you will not be lost on the interview day.

3) Take care with your appearance.
Get a haircut if you think you need one. Determine what you will wear, including any accessories, and make plans to buy proper clothes or accessories if you will need them. Be sure to shower and shave. For men with facial hair, trim so that the facial hair looks well-groomed. If you wear perfume or aftershave, wear something with a light scent. Do not forget to clip your fingernails. Female candidates with long hair should keep it tied in a ponytail or a bun. If you have short hair, make sure it looks neat. A little makeup and accessories are fine, just don’t overdo it. Consider breath mints to avoid bad breath.

4) Know the dress code.
The appropriate dress code depends on the nature of the job itself. For creative fields like art and design, music, advertising and public relations, you may be allowed to dress less conservatively. However, fields like law, accounting, finance, and banking usually require you to dress more conservatively.
Conservative colors are black, blue, brown and grey. Men should wear a light-colored shirt (white is best). Pants should be in any of the conservative colors; black and blue are the common choices. Men should avoid wearing jewelry.

For women, a blouse worn with a knee-length skirt or a suit is ideal. Avoid bright-colored or tight clothes. It is advisable for women to wear light-colored nylons, as they are considered work attire.

5) Interview preparations.
Practice a mock interview with a friend. Acting out an interview will give you practice answering questions. You can also record the mock interview using a tape recorder, video camera or cell phone camera. By watching yourself in the video, you will be able to assess your weaknesses and correct or avoid them during the actual job interview.
1.2 The Interview Day
Bear these points in mind the day of the interview:
1) Be punctual.
Arrive 15 to 30 minutes earlier than the interview time. This will give you some extra time to calm yourself if you feel nervous.

2) Courtesy counts.
Be courteous and congenial to everyone. Remember that not only the interviewer but also the receptionist and everyone else who sees you before and after the job interview will judge you. Everything you do will be noticed: how you sit, how you talk, how you look and what you read. Introduce yourself to the receptionist and wait to be invited to sit.

3) What to bring:
  • A clear holder or a file to keep copies of résumés, original and copies of relevant certificates, relevant work samples
  • A notebook and a pen
  • Tissue or handkerchief to wipe sweaty palms
  • Breath mints to be taken before the interview
4) What not to bring:
  • Any kind of gadget, such as an mp3 player
  • Cell phone—make sure that it is turned off or is on silent/vibrate mode if you need to bring it along
  • Food or drink
  • Cigarettes or chewing gum
5) Overcome your nervousness.
Ease your nerves by taking deep breaths and counting slowly from 1 to 10. Remember that people will never know that you are nervous if you don’t show it. Acting confident also helps to bring out the real confidence in you.
2.0 Ten Important Job Interview Tips
1) First impression
    Greet the interviewer confidently. Extend your hand, look the person directly in the eye and introduce
     yourself. ''I’m pleased to meet you, Ms./Mr. Y. I’m X.''
2) The handshake
    A firm handshake is important. A firm handshake sends a nonverbal message of poise and

3) Breaking the ice
    Take your seat only after the interviewer invites you to do so. It is fine to make small talk to break the ice.

4) Body language and eye contact
     Do not immediately rummage through your portfolio or briefcase to look for your documents. Sit up
     straight and lean forward slightly, do not slouch or lean back, and do not make excessive hand and arm
     movements. Keep your feet on the floor. Make eye contact frequently but do not stare.

5) Acknowledge your interviewer
    When answering questions, make sure you address your interviewer by name, but not too often. You
    demonstrate attention to detail if you remember names.

6) Politeness and manners
    Don’t forget to smile and demonstrate your positive attitude. Sound enthusiastic but make sure you are    

7) Tackling overwhelming questions
     Sometimes an interviewer will ask a question just to see how you will react and respond. If you find
     difficulty in answering certain questions, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to rephrase them. When   
     answering, make sure you think fast but talk slower. This will help you choose your words carefully and
     give a satisfactory answer.

8) Be prepared with questions
    This is your opportunity to be in charge of the interview. Ask questions that show you are interested in
     knowing more about the company or the job for which you are applying.

9) Salary expectations
    Prior to the job interview, find out the current salary in the market for the job for which you are applying. Be     careful when stating your salary. If you ask for a low salary, it could appear that you are short-selling
    yourself. If you expect high pay, be prepared to explain why you deserve it by virtue of your skills,
     achievements and experience.

10) When can I know?
        Before you step out of the interview room, you may want to ask ''When may I expect to hear from you?''
Finally yet importantly, do not forget to thank your interviewer and restate your interest in the position and the company.

3.0 The Importance of an Updated Resume
1) Make sure all important information is updated.
    Update important contact information, such as mailing address, telephone number(s), and E-mail
    address. Do not forget to update your references and expected salary and attach a recent photo, if    
     requested in the application.

2) Make sure all relevant skills are highlighted.
    It is important to tailor your résumé to the requirements of the job for which you are applying. Remember     that you are using your résumé to get a face-to-face interview, not the job itself.

    Highlighting relevant skills means you will be able to request higher pay in accordance with your previous     employment, accomplishments, awards, additional qualifications and skills.

3) Increase readability of your résumé.
    Make sure your résumé is in the right format, as most companies prefer conventional résumés. Fit           
    everything on one page if possible, or on a maximum of two pages. Use high-quality paper and printers.     Do not forget to use spell check or ask a professional proofreader to proofread your résumé.

4) Use numbers to your full advantage.
    Highlight your involvements and achievements, such as previous and current projects. List the specific   
    goals achieved in previous projects; for example:
    Managed and supervised a team of 10 graphic designers and produced 30 banner designs, of which the     client chose 20, driving a total sales profit of $30,000.

5) Preparation of documents
    Provide originals and copies of important certificates, references, recommendations and samples of your
     work, if needed.

4.0 Communication Skills Necessary to Get Your Dream Job
        4.1 Verbal communication
Speak clearly with an enthusiastic tone. Do not rush when answering questions. Make sure you speak loud enough for the interviewer to hear. A variation of vocal tones to express different emotions is acceptable, but do not shout.

Use proper English and enunciate clearly. Remember, you will be judged by how you communicate. Avoid slurred words like ''wanna'' and ''din’t,'' as well as slang expressions like ''yeah'' and overuse of ''like.'' Eliminate verbal static (''uhm'' and ''ah'') in your sentences.

Express yourself sincerely. If you are sincere and honest, it will show in your facial expression and tone of voice.
        4.2 Non-verbal communication
4.2.1 Writing skills
Although you may speak English well, you might not be as good with written English. Learn different writing skills, such as how to write formal E-mails and memos and how to prepare formal letters, project reports, technical reports and other documents. Certain companies may require you to sit for a short writing test before the interview, so be prepared. Learn to use correct grammar and widen your vocabulary by reading more. Don’t use bombastic words to get your message across; it will show that you are trying too hard to impress.

4.2.2 Listening skills
The interviewer will be attuned to whether you have good listening skills. Pay attention when the interviewer explains something and listen to the questions attentively. Some companies will require you to sit for a listening test, especially for jobs that require you to have excellent listening skills, such as call center personnel.

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