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How do you best prepare for an interview?

This is part of our professionals series, where we ask professionals what they think students should know

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Vamshee’s Answer

Know your Resume: Meaning, you know what you have put on your resume and able to answer any questions specific to your courses, achievements, projects, experience etc.

Know The Job Requirements and Responsibilities: This will help you focus on the topics which are of interest for the position.So you can prepare and tailor your answers accordingly.

Attitude is important: They observe how you look, how you behave, your confidence etc. Its ok if you cannot answer 1 or 2 hard questions, but you can be able to show that you can learn or know how to go about it.


Reasearch and prepare for Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Tell us about your background. Tell a concise story with a beginning, middle and end that explains your current career status, why you are qualified and clearly defines why you are the best candidate for the job.

Why do you want to work for us? Focus on what makes you passionate about the job and company. Demonstrate how you fit into the company’s culture.

Tell us about something from your résumé. Pick out the accomplishment that most clearly relates to the job.

Why should we hire you? Use your concise elevator pitch, which should touch on the skills and experience you have that qualify you for the role.
Highlight your achievements and credit those who helped you along the way.

“It’s really important to make sure that you tailor your experience for the position that you’re applying for.”


When discussing your achievements, Stress the importance of tailoring your response to the job you are interviewing for. “People tend to talk about why they’re the best candidate in the world instead of the best candidate for that specific role,” she says. “It’s really important to make sure that you tailor your experience for the position that you’re applying for.”

Tell us about a challenge you faced at work and how you dealt with it. Highlight your problem-solving, teamwork and leadership skills.
Why are you the best person for the job? Focus on past successes that are most relevant to the job.
What is your greatest achievement? Tell a short story about an achievement, how you overcame challenges to accomplish it, the impact it made and what you learned in the process.
Be honest, positive and constructive as you consider how to answer interview questions about flaws and failures.

Employers ask some questions to identify any potential red flags. Keep in mind that, while everyone has failures in their careers, the way you frame them is important. “Is the candidate pointing fingers and not taking ownership? That’s a key indicator of their ability to work as part of a team and of taking ownership of the product and decisions that are being made,”

Hope this helps!
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Amanda’s Answer

Analyze the job listing. Take note and compare the required/preferred skills to your resume and attempt to tailor it to their needs. Once you understand the position you are walking into, go and delve into the details of the company. Find out what they do, their mission/goals, and how they represent themselves. Going in with a decent understanding of the position and the company will assist you in answering the questions they will have. Once you have the technical aspect handled you can spend more time focusing on preparing physical attributes like business attire. Do not oversell yourself or lie on your resume. Recruiters and managers often will ask technical based questions to test your abilities. It is okay to be nervous, many managers will understand that, focus on the things you know and try to represent yourself to the best of your abilities.

Some people find mock interviews to assist them when preparing, I personally did not, but it is definitely worth a try.
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Malati’s Answer

Thank you for this question. You have already received two useful answers. I am adding a few points. I hope they help you. All the very best for all your interviews! May you never need more than one:)))

How to Prepare for an Interview

1. Read the job requirements carefully and identify the exact points that support your candidature.
2. Read up on everything about the company, its mission, vision & values.
3. Now, check again whether those mission, vision and values are something that you relate to
4. Tailor your resume, highlighting those aspects of your qualification and experience which support point 1 above. E.g., If it is a technical role, you do not need to highlight your non-tech experience. Write only facts; do not exaggerate or make up stuff. That never works.:)
5. Write down your answers to these often-asked questions. While doing so, always keep the focus, as mentioned in point 4. Talk about the company and what you have read about them on their website; what about the company appeals to you and why.
a. What do you consider your greatest achievement to date? Your biggest failure?
b. What are your strengths? Your areas of development (Always pick an area of development that will not impact your performance in this particular role. Always tell them what you are doing to work on this area and that you are seeing improvement…If that is true)?
c. Why do you want to join us? Why should we hire you?
d. Where do you see yourself in 3 years/5 years/ 10 years etc?
e. What are your hobbies? While answering this, be prepared to answer in-depth questions on the hobbies. One of the panel members may have the exact same hobby and engage you in a long discussion, so be honest–write only what you truly practise as a hobby:)
f. Do you have any questions for us? This is the last question that the panel may ask. It would be nice to engage them with one or two (no more!) interesting questions about the company or the role. Don’t ask-‘Am I going to be selected?’:-D You will find out soon enough. But you can ask how long the process will take and by when you should expect to hear from them.
6. If you have access to someone who is an experienced interviewer, and can conduct a mock interview for you, do try it out. You may get some helpful tips.
7. All of the above relate to what you will say. Now, coming to the other equally important aspect: how you will carry yourself. This is as important as the first part.
a. Dress comfortably, smartly, not over the top, no jingling, jangling, distracting colours/patterns/style/accessories etc. Everything should spell simple and elegant. Neat, not drab, no clicking heels or shoes that make a loud noise, no strong perfumes. Neat hairstyle, well-groomed hand, nails and hair. Etc. You get the picture.
b. Take a deep breath before you enter and tell yourself it’s going to be a wonderful interview and a great meeting for both the interviewers and yourself.
c. Keep a smiling face throughout, without grinning or laughing unnecessarily.:) Particularly watch out for nervous laughs or mannerisms.
d. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say, ‘ I am sorry, I do not know that but will look it up.’ If you are unsure, say, ‘I am not quite sure, but I think this may be the answer…’ So they know you are being honest.
e. Sit comfortably, look the person you are speaking to in the eye. Don’t fidget, look away, play with your fingers etc etc. A deep breath and a genuine smile can chase away most fears:)

That is a lot of information for you to digest. I wish you all the very best. If you do not get through, it means the Universe has something better in store for you:)))

I will end with a little story which may help.
An interviewer wanted to hire someone for a role and had an expert psychologist to help him decide. There were 3 candidates. The expert asked the same question to all 3: What is two and two? The first candidate said ‘four’, the second said, ‘Well, it could be a trick question, so maybe 22?’ The third candidate said, ‘Either four or twenty-two.’

After the candidates left, the expert gave his personality analysis of the 3 candidates and asked the interviewer which candidate he would like to hire. The interviewer said, ‘The one with the smiling eyes.’:):):)

So, smile, relax and enjoy the interview!
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Charles’s Answer

I best prepare for an interview by making connections. It helps me to take a little time to build relationships 1) with the hiring manager and 2) potential coworkers. Many people feel anxiety or get nervous when it's time for an interview. Try this to remain calm and put your best foot forward:

1) Learn about the company on its "about" page of the website. Read the mission and vision to see if they pass the vibe check.

2) Ask for an informational interview before the official interview. Think of a few questions to ask that can reveal what it's like to work there.

3) Remember...you have an interview because they want to hire you. Show your skills and willingness to learn by being curious about the company's future.

An interview is a conversation with someone that wants to hire you. Be prepared to answer questions about your resume. Have someone you trust look over your resume and practice interview questions with you. Get to the interview early and do your best. You got this!
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Jake’s Answer

There are a few things you can do to best prepare for a job interview. The first is to understand the job and the responsibilities that the job will require. Also, you want to make sure you research the type of company you are applying to and what their values are. Then, you want to make sure your resume is updated with your most recent experience. You want to create your resume with the job in mind, choosing your experiences to show that are similar to what the job will require.

After you have created a rough draft of your resume, I would suggest reaching out to your school counselor and asking to practice interviewing with them. With all interviews, practice makes perfect! The biggest thing with any job interview is being yourself. Remember, you want to like the employer just as much as you want them to like you! This will make sure that you are a great fit for the company.

Some key tips that have helped in my interviews include having a specific handful of experiences that I can speak to depending on the question. For example, I may have an experience that I can pick different parts of depending on what is being asked. This makes preparing for the interview much easier!

Another great tip is being able to ask a specific question to the person you are being interviewed by. This can be done by researching their LinkedIn Profile before the interview if you are able to. Any kind of personalized question with make the interviewer appreciate you more. For example, I may ask an interviewer about the specific college they went to, and how their degree led them to where they are now.

At the end of the day, a job interview is about the conversation between you and the interviewer and should not be stressful! Be yourself, try your best, and go in with a smile on your face. It may take more than one interview, but you will find a job that is right for you!
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Brittany’s Answer

Hello! I don't recommend memorizing what's on your resume, you should be ready to discuss any bullet points you've listed out on your experience, but I don't recommend reading directly from your resume.
Prepare by researching the company that you are interviewing with and the individual(s) your interviewing with. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and a company webpage will be helpful in this research. I would recommend taking notes and preparing questions based on what you've found. You are also interviewing your potential coworker/boss. Prepare a question or two based on their experience and what've you've learned about them as an individual during your research.
I also prepare by reviewing commonly asked questions for the position you're interviewing for (failures, successes, technical questions, education, volunteer work, credentials), First round interviews are more technical based, and the recruiter will dig into your history. Be prepared to talk about salary expectations, I would recommend doing market research and if you need to provide a range, keep it vague. Prepare questions about the role and company based on your research, questions should be different for each interview.
I personally found that the most successful interviews I had weren't necessarily question/answers but more of a conversation.
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Kim’s Answer

To the above, I shall add:

Learn to answer questions using the STAR format. "Tell me about a time where you had to oversee a group project, and, how did it turn out?"
Situation - lay the groundwork so they can understand what you were dealing with
Task - what was the specific challenge
Action - what did you do
Result - how did it turn out

It's a great story-telling format. Sometimes they will even specify for your answers to follow that format.

Make sure you have studied up on the company. When it comes time for you to ask questions, do NOT ask questions that you can find the answer to on the website! That makes it look like you failed to prepare.

Basically, it comes down to: know yourself, know the company. Even if it is not on your resume, look back on your work history, things you have done, try to think of things you could use as examples for various interview questions.

good luck!
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Velvet’s Answer

I would recommend doing mock interviews and looking up interview questions that could come up for the job that you would like!! Dress to impress your interviewer and be sure to think of questions you want to ask regarding the company that you want to work for!!
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Tricia’s Answer

Clarity on your skills (aka super powers) a must. Do not minimize your skills based on limited job experience, you’ve honed skills while you’ve participated in clubs, organizations, sports, interacted with others, and more. If you aren’t sure what your skills are ask others you trust (to be honest). It could be a parent, family friend, teacher, coach, mentor, etc. Where you find consistent feedback — that’s your super power(s).

Think about why you want to work for this specific company. Of course you want to get paid, but think beyond that. What makes this company important/meaningful/worth working for? How do you see yourself being able to contribute?

Practice how you want to present yourself (appearance and speech) beforehand. Practicing in front of a mirror a great trick to work out your answers, and facial expressions. Role play an interview with a trusted source beforehand.

Think about the points you want to get across and do not let the interviewer deter you, meaning — they ask you an unexpected question, such as “if you were an animal, what would you be?” You can answer with whatever animal you want, or tell them “I’m not sure what animal aligns with my strengths but they are…..” You’ve answered the question, but gotten through your key talking points.

And the weakness question, I loathe that. Should you get asked, again, don’t let them distract you. “I like to cross train to my strengths which are ….”. The interviewer will get the point and move on. 😊

Best of luck!
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