What are some tips to pass a job interview?

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Answered by: Alex, An Expert in the Human Resources - General Category
Finding a job in a weak economy is difficult enough. In order to pass a job interview, candidates must first obtain one. It is not uncommon for new graduates and veterans alike to seek out positions for which they are overqualified, simply to earn a living; however, this does not mean that job seekers in specialized fields should accept their situation. Persistence and motivation will eventually pay off, leading to an interview. Considering the competition, even the slightest mistake can disqualify a person.

A common error potential employees make is to assume that the interview begins when they meet a prospective employer. In order to maximize the chance to pass a job interview, job seekers must realize that the process begins immediately after the invitation. First of all, research the organization. Examine the services it offers, its company mission and the responsibilities involved. This prepares a person to focus his or her responses to fit the needs of the employer. Research is also important because the interviewer may ask questions to test the candidate's knowledge of the organization.

Preparation does not end at research. It is also important to bring any necessary information to the interview, specifically an extra resume and a properly formatted list of references. This is also the proper time to bring a letter of reference. It is not advisable to provide a letter of reference or references when handing in a resume for the first time, unless specifically requested by the employer's advertisement.

A final aspect of preparation is to anticipate potential questions. Some generic questions can include queries about one's personality or interests, such as "tell me about yourself" or "why should we hire you?" In this case, one should focus on positive attributes and skills specifically pertaining to the categories mentioned above. As for specific questions, such as those related to knowledge or skills, one must gear answers to the specific duties.

For example, if data entry is a major part of the job, then elaborating on skills in Microsoft Office will help the interviewer understand candidates better. In most cases, however, the employer wants to asses one's compatibility with the organization, making the self-summary critical for success. Aspects such as computer skills can be trained, while an outgoing, dedicated and responsible personality is inherent and therefore cannot be learned.

Being prepared is crucial, but ultimately ineffective if one is nervous or naturally restless. With this in mind, body language and clarity also need to be addressed in order to pass a job interview. Scratching, fidgeting, slouching or leaning can all affect a person's image during the interview. Communication is just as essential. A person should maintain eye contact most of the time, while answering all questions clearly and directly. Rambling will reflect poorly on an individual's communication skills and potentially lose the interviewer's interest.

Once the interview is over, it is important to have two or three questions in mind. It is virtually guaranteed that the employer will ask one if they have any questions. Saying "no" indicates a lack of interest. Additionally, they would expect a prepared person to have some questions based on the research they conduct prior to the interview. Questions can include more detailed information about the company's history, number of employees and status in terms of competition.

Most importantly, one should never ask questions about benefits, vacation time or any other incentives. If these are not brought up during the interview, it means that the employer wants to see a person's motives for applying. Seeking a job simply for security or benefits will send a message that the candidate is not interested in the job itself, but rather what he or she can personally gain.

The final step to help pass a job interview is the follow up. Before leaving, a candidate should ask when the recruiter will make his or her final decision. If nothing is heard within that timeframe, call the organization to thank them for their time and inquire as to whether the position has been filled. In many cases, the process can be delayed by unforeseen circumstances.

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