How to Develop a Job Interview Strategy

You may pore over your resume for many hours checking it for any typographical errors and making sure you get the tone and formatting just right. Chances are, prospective employers will only look at your resume for a few seconds before deciding whether or not to call you in for an interview. Having a great resume can help you get your foot in the door. But make sure you don’t trip and fall once you get there with poor interview preparation. Just as presidential candidates prepare for debates and interviews and anticipate the kind of questions they will be asked, so job seekers should prepare for their interview.

Any Questions?

Many people don’t put too much effort into preparing for a job interview because they reason that they don’t know what questions they are going to be asked. A political candidate also may not know exactly what questions are going to be asked, but have an idea of the general topics. For instance, they can be pretty sure they will be asked about foreign policy, the economy, controversies they have faced in the past and proposals that have been discussed in the media. While there may be a few curveballs thrown in, a candidate and a job seeker alike should have their bases covered.

Think about what kind of questions you would ask if you are an employer. Put yourself in the situation of someone who runs a business in the industry you are planning to work and think about what qualities are the most important for completing the jobs that need to be done. Is absolute accuracy important, or does the work provide opportunities to fix things? Do you need analytical or creative thinkers? How important is a flexible schedule for this kind of work? Do you need a worker with a take charge attitude or do you prefer a team player? Will having an additional degree, such as an MBA or a USC MMLIS be helpful?  Once you explore these questions, you can be prepared for what you will be asked on the interview.

Creating an impression

While there is much concern about the kind of questions that will be asked in an interview, it is important to know that the interviewer pays at least as much attention to what is not said as what is said. Body language is important during an interview as well as details such as the way you are dressed, whether you are constantly looking at your phone and even how organized your purse or briefcase is. It is easy to look at the big picture and ignore the details, but this approach can compromise the impression you give.

A candidate for the position can be so preoccupied with giving a kind of performance that they may forget that in a business relationship, give-and-take is important to receive cues from the interviewer. You can tell right away whether the interviewer’s tone is more formal or casual, is focused on detail or is more creative. Respond to the social cues given by the interviewer and think of a successful interview as a kind of dance that requires coordination with the other person. If an employer feels the connection is been made, you can improve your chances of getting hired.

Don’t Sweat It

One of the most important tips for a job interview is to remain relaxed. It may be hard to relax when so much is at stake, but in addition to reviewing your qualifications, the employer wants to know how well you handle pressure. Having a relaxed manner during an interview not only creates a good impression but helps you establish a positive connection with the interviewer. After you have done your preparations, take a few breaths and think positively.

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