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Interview Prep for New Grads

CATEGORY: Interview Best Practices
POSTED: August 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Careful pre-planning is essential to having a successful interview process and landing the job you want. This fact is even more vitally important for recent college graduates who often lack interview and work experience.

Thoroughly research the company

This is a key first step. Begin by looking at the company website. Look for annual reports and press releases. By researching the firm, you will get a better understanding of the opportunity and will also become much more confident in how you present yourself as a prospective employee. Use LinkedIn or a similar online resource to see who you may know that either works there now or did previously. Other contacts may know other individuals who already work or do business with the firms on your list. Use Google to learn more.

Prepare to verbally expand upon your background as listed in your resume

The interviewer will invite you to explain your history and background. Prepare stories that convey your skills and experiences. Your narratives should be both entertaining and thought provoking while expressing how you successfully confronted a problem or made a difficult decision.

Bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter and other materials

The hiring manager may want to read over your samples during or after the interview. Don’t forget to bring a few extra copies of your resume and references in case you are asked to meet with additional interviewers. Consider bringing copies of citations or certificates.

Compile a list of questions

This shows that you have a genuine interest and foresight on your part. Some questions might be about the company’s management philosophy, training programs, industry outlook and benefits.

Avoid the common interview snares

Make certain you prepare as completely as possible. Know where the interview is taking place and how to get there. You may want to drive to the location a day or two beforehand to make sure you know the time involved in transit. Dress conservatively and take care that your appearance is appropriate. Show your interest by listening closely and display an upbeat and positive attitude.

A final tip

Write a rough draft of your thank you letter before the interview. This will help you get an email out to the hiring manager and other interviewers quicker and with much less anxiety.  Timely follow-up is of primary importance.

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