© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
The ultimate test of a good job interview is whether or not you are called back for a second interview or are offered the job. There are, however, some clues you could use to let you know sooner. There are also some tips that you can follow to make sure you have a good job interview every time. As in most things, the key to a good job interview is to prepare ahead of time and to practice. Preparation consists of learning from formal and informal sources what the target company is looking for. Practice means conducting a mock interview, preferably recorded, using someone who can give you feedback and coaching on your performance.
Preparation for a good job interview can be started by looking at the job ad and job description. These documents give you a clear and formal description of the job requirements and duties that the target position demands. These two documents should be a source for you to learn the technical requirements that you will be expected to demonstrate in your job interview. Informal requirements and preferences can be learned by Internet research and by talking to people in your social network. These kinds of sources are good for learning the sorts of unsaid preferences the target company has regarding candidates, and the corporate culture of the target. Last but not least, a study of the relevant articles in the news and press should give you an idea of the competitive and economic environment the target company is part of.
Once you have a clear and complete idea of what the company is looking for, then you can begin preparing to answer interview questions in a way that conveys those characteristics. The best way to do that is to come up with a mental list of the traits the company is looking for and match them up with examples from your professional and personal life that most vividly demonstrate them. Think of the most concrete, specific examples you can and how you could quickly summarize them into a problem, action, solution, and result format to share during the interview.
The good job interview practice that you can undertake would include taking the questions that you have determined the interviewer is likely to ask and giving those to a coach or colleague who can conduct a mock interview. If you can record the mock interview, that's even better. In the mock interview, have the coach ask the questions you've prepared ahead of time. Do your best to respond to those questions in terms of your personal experiences. Also have your mock interviewer ask a few questions that aren't on the list to see how you react to the unexpected. After the mock interview, take a look at the tape with your coach and see where your strengths and weaknesses are for and spend time working on them before the real-life interview.
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