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Preparing for Interviews

"Fail to prepare, and you prepare to fail!”

You want to make the most of your interview, so don’t waste the opportunity by not being prepared.  Making sure you know enough about your employer, have thought about the questions they might ask and have decided what to wear, will help you feel positive on the day.
Preparation is essential to maximise your chance of success so the more you know about your employer, the more confident you’ll feel.  Use any information available to you through the internet (there website, news articles), brochures or even your detailed job description to gain a better understanding and feel for the company. Now if you are questioned on what you know about the company and why it appeals to you your answer will demonstrate an understanding of the organisation. 
Prior to attending any interview you need to be aware of:
  • Its structure (e.g. numbers of staff, departments and various locations)
  • Who its competitors and customers are in the marketplace
  • What products and services it offers or its main function
Don’t be afraid to call the company direct when researching your position, the people who work there will help you enormously.  Call your interviewer direct to demonstrate your excellent telephone manner and enthusiasm or email your interviewer in advance to introduce yourself and build a rapport.  This way you will feel more comfortable on the big day.
For the interview prepare a folder with your resume and samples of you work that you believe is relevant to the position.  For example if you were applying for a journalism position, you could provide samples of your published work.  If you use a portfolio ensure that it is simple, easy to digest in a short period (interviews can be only 20 minutes long in total) and that it demonstrates your abilities, skills and achievements.
You should also prepare questions to ask your interviewer, to clear up any queries you have about the position and to show that you’ve really thought about the job and are confident of getting it.  Think about questions which relate to the position or alternatively some questions you could ask are:
  • Why has the position become available?
  • Are there training opportunities to develop my skills?
  • Could you describe your company's management style and the type of employee who fits well with it?
  • How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
  • What kind of work can I expect to be doing the first year?
Finally prepare a Preparation Proposal to demonstrate your understanding of the organization to show not only your dedication and enthusiasm towards the position, but your excellent research and written communications skills.  Please ensure you use the correct pronunciation spelling for the interviewer and company’s name!
Remember it isn’t what a company can offer you but what you can bring to a company.
Don’t forget to prepare the appropriate documents to take to the interview in order to feel confident and well prepared:
  • spare copies of your resume and application
  • your planned answers to predicted questions
  • academic transcripts
  • written references
  • copy of the original job advertisement
  • an optional portfolio with samples of your work (if required)
Finally think positive!  Everyone gets nervous at job interviews. It's just your body releasing adrenalin to help you focus and deal with the challenge at hand.
  • Try taking slow deep breaths while you're waiting to go in and use the nerves to give you that little boost you need to do well.
  • If you can, it's a good idea to have a dummy run before the interview, with a friend asking you the kind of questions you might be asked.
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