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Interview Prep for Every Job Seeker

May 01, 2012 by Careerminds

There is typically a list of any number of things a job seeker can do to prepare for an interview, and some of what is on the list is dependent upon the position, the company, the field, etc. Certainly, an architect will have a very different interview experience overall than a school nurse, for instance. In more general terms, however, most job seekers take many of the same steps to prepare for an interview, and they can be summed up as research and practice. When you put it that way, it seems pretty simple, right? And maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require some real effort on your part.
To give you a better idea of exactly what “research” and “practice” entail, here are some more detailed preparation instructions:


  • First, get to know the job description. Presumably, you already have a fairly good grasp on the specifics of the position after having composed your resume and cover letter, but to prepare for an interview, it’s a good idea to really learn the ins and outs of the qualifications and responsibilities listed. Just like your application documents, the questions and answers in your interview will be expected to center around these specific qualities, so knowing them back and front will help you formulate great answers quickly and easily.
  • Next, it’s vital to research the company. This may entail learning more about corporate culture around the office, the company’s recent achievements in the news, the overall mission of the organization, or maybe even the CEO and other company leaders. Comb through their website for what you think is most important to know, gathering a general understanding of most everything– you’re expected to know what information is available to you, so don’t get caught asking a question that’s already been answered online.
  • Also, research yourself! It’s a good idea to perform a formal or an informal self-assessment, focusing on relating your experiences and skills to the requirements of the position and the overall needs of the company. Come up with a handful of great STAR examples that you’ll have ready to go once you’re in the interview, and give some thought to your career goals so that you can articulate them effectively in the moment.


  • Once you’ve got all the information researched and stored in your memory, it’s time to rehearse– seriously! Look up common interview questions online, formulate your answers, and practice them out loud. The point is not to come to the interview with your answers already memorized word for word, but rather to familiarize yourself with questions you may have to answer, and to have an idea of how you’d like to respond. That way, your nerves won’t get the best of you in the moment.

A few other preparatory steps may include putting together a nice interview outfit– it’s important to look the part– and gathering any documents you may want/need to take with you (i.e.: extra copies of your resume, portfolio items, etc. plus a pad of paper and a pen to possibly take a few notes).
Preparation for your specific position may include a few more specific steps, but these are the steps that most every professional in career transition should know and adhere to for a successful interview.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.

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