Seven Tips to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

Seven Tips to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

Art Koff

Unfortunately, many job seekers make mistakes during their job interviews that cost them the opportunity. This is particularly true for those who have been out of work for some time.


The following tips should offer you the best opportunity of receiving the consideration you deserve if your background and skills are a match for the opening. Follow them, and you should be line for the job (or at least a second interview):

1: Interview with a temp firm or staffing organization prior to interviewing with an employer.

These interviews are relatively easy to get and are good practice. You don't want to go to your first interview in a long time and make easily correctable mistakes. Every job interview you have will make the next one easier. A "bad" job interview, one in which you gave poor answers to questions asked, should be a learning experience. Register with the temp firm as they could place you with one of their clients.

2: Get information on the perspective employer prior to your interview.

Research the employer using a search engine to see who their customers are, learn more about their products or services, and examine the company culture. Try to find someone at the employer and network with this individual. A CareerXroads survey found that referred candidates have a 31-to-1 chance of getting hired, vs. a 500-to-1 chance for candidates that come via other means.

3: Revise and update your resume.

Carefully follow advice provided in articles on this site, or visit a professional resume writer for help, since the resume you used years ago is no longer appropriate. be ready to modify it for each opportunity, highlighting the experience appropriate for the job you are seeking. A single general resume for all interviews is not the best way to get hired.

4: Even if you are interested in full-time work, consider starting on a project basis.

When applying for a job, tell the employer you are willing to start working as a consultant or on a project basis; this often gives you a leg up on job seekers who are often unable to accept this kind of employment. Temporary employment or working on a consultative basis can often lead to full-time work. Check here for resources for executives, professionals and managers interested in project assignments.

5: If you are in-between jobs, volunteer with a charity or nonprofit.

Although in most cases there is little or no monetary compensation, it is often excellent experience and can possibly lead to employment with an employer that appreciates your work ethic. It is also easier to find employment while you are working, as you have a better mind set.

6: Assess your situation today versus years ago. Below are some questions you might ask yourself in preparation for a job interview.

What do I want?

What are my values?

Do I need to make a difference or make big bucks?

What are my core strengths?

7. Plan your interview and be prepared to present yourself. Below are some questions and exercises that can also help you prepare.

Product—What skills and contributions do you offer?

Price—What is your value?

Promotion—What messages convey your skills?

Place—How will you get your message out?

Position—What differentiates you from others?

Present yourself with concrete examples of your role and accomplishments.

What was your role, title, team type and position within the team?

Examples of how to do so:

"As Director of _____I…."

"I was responsible for…"

"As a member of the product team…"

"When I taught or instructed I…"

What did you do?

"I created, led, initiated, designed, developed, simplified, organized, facilitated…”


"I developed a plan that …"

"I created a process that…"

"I led the team that…"

What was the result of my efforts?

"I increased, improved, reduced, achieved…”


"I reduced vacancy rates 30%"

"I improved test scores by 20%"

"I achieved highest-ever attendance levels"

"I increased call efficiency by 10% for 3 consecutive quarters."

If you feel this is too much information to remember as far as examples of work you've done as they relate to the position, practice explaining them with a friend or family member before your next interview.

Don't be concerned that employers are not interested in you. Interview as if you are the best candidate for the job.

Art Koff is the founder of and author of Invent Your Retirement, a resource guide to help anyone preparing for retirement.

Career Topics
Job Interviews