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You've got an interview! Now what?

Great news! A potential employer has read your resume, believes that you are a qualified candidate, and wants to interview you. Nervous? Try not to be. Just keep in mind that an interview is a 2-way street, and then turn your nervous energy into confidence. Remember that while you're searching for the perfect position, the employer is looking just as hard for the perfect candidate - and they hope it will be you!

The best way to calm yourself during the interview, is to do everything in your power to be prepared for it. To prepare yourself to the best of your ability, take the time in advance to consider such key questions as:

What to do before the interview?
What to do in the interview?
Questions you may be asked
Questions to ask the interviewer

Before the interview

Educate Yourself:
  Review the company’s website and job description
Practice Makes Perfect:
  Review the answers to potential questions in a mock interview
Look your Professional Best:
  Wear business attire and select your fragrances and jewelry sensibly
Your Resume:
  Bring extra copies with you to distribute to the interviewers

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In the interview

During the interview you're going to have your skills, qualifications and level of competence evaluated.
Keep your focus in the right place. This means, you will need to understand the employers' requirements, and prove to them why you are the best candidate for the position. Don't get lost in the details of your likes and dislikes. Focus instead on what you can do for their company.

To answer questions appropriately, be honest, concise, courteous, enthusiastic and emphasize all of your positive points. Don't be evasive, overly aggressive or egotistical. Remember: the interviewer is assessing your personality and your ability to fit into the existing team. Your attitude is often the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job. Here are a few additional things to consider during your interview:

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions:
  Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile
Calm and Confident:
  How you appear and sound will determine how the interviewer reacts to you
Body Language:
  Your posture reflects your confidence and competence
Maintain Eye Contact:
  This shows that you are confident about yourself and your capabilities.
Pay Close Attention:
  Notice the interviewers verbal and non-verbal cue and act appropriately
Listen Carefully:
  Answer questions in a factual, organized manner
Ask for Clarification:
  If you do not understand a question, politely ask for clarification
Give Detailed Descriptions:
  Answering with a simple "yes" or "no" is a definite no-no
Refrain from Rambling:
  Try not to "over answer" questions, and discuss only what's needed
Stop and Think:
  Don't be afraid to think about what you're going to say before answering
Consciously Courteous:
  Never interrupt the interviewer.
Desist from the Disparaging:
  Don't make derogatory remarks about past or present
Compensation Caution:
  Don't inquire about salary, vacations, benefits or bonuses in the initial interview
Indicate your Interest:
  If you want the job, then tell the interviewer

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Questions you may be asked

You should prepare your answers carefully for the following questions, as a number of them will almost certainly be asked in some form or another. Preparing and practicing answers in advance will help increase your level of confidence during the interview. You may even want to practice using a mock interview, and remember - keep your answers concise, courteous and to the point:

What type of position are you seeking?
  Keep your answer suited to the position you applied for
What are your strengths?
  Keep your answer relevant to the position you're interviewing for
What are your weaknesses?
  Pick only one and spin on it
Why are you interested in this company/position?
  Mention something that you learned when you were researching the company prior to your interview
Why do you want to leave your current position?
Keep it factual and never demean your current employer.
What would your current supervisor/co-workers say about you?
Keep your answer honest – they may check it out
What’s the biggest impact you made in your current role?
Have a relevant example ready
Are you a team player or do you prefer to work alone?
  Give examples based on your strengths
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
You should be prepared to discuss your long-term goals
Do you work well under pressure?
  Employers want to know your ability of complete tasks on time
Have you ever been in a leadership role?
If yes, give examples. You can give examples from your personal life
What are you currently making?
  Tell the truth. Your answer may be verified later
What is the salary you expect?
  Have an answer ahead of time, but also remain flexible as you may learn new information in the interview
Tell me about yourself?
  Ask for clarification and keep you answer relevant to your professional goals

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Questions to ask the interviewer

Prior to your interview, it's also a good idea to prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, and then take them with you. Doing this will show that you are prepared and organized, and having a list of questions readily available will also be beneficial in the event that you forget what you were going ask. It's important to be very selective about the types of questions you decide to ask, so try to stick to questions that indicate your level of interest and reflect your suitability, such as:

What are the greatest challenges of this position?

Is there any opportunity for upward mobility or

How many people are on the team?

What is a typical day like?

What are the normal working hours?

What are the key expectations for someone in
this role?

How will my performance be evaluated?

Whom would I be reporting?

What is the compensation you are offering for this position
  If you do not have any information about the compensation package prior to the interview, you may want to ask. Otherwise, the initial interview is not the place to discuss it. Refrain from asking questions that pertain to salary, flextime, bonuses and vacation time. While such subjects are important to you, they're dangerous during the early stages of an interview.

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