Prepare for your Job Interview

interview
You have been selected for an interview. Now, what should you do? How should you prepare for it? Here is a simple to-do checklist before the big day.

1. Do your homework

Check out the company's website for its corporate profile, working culture, business operations, main competitors, challenges, future plans and more. For bigger companies such as MNCs, check for the latest headlines they made and the industry's trends.

2. Be punctual

Arrive about 10 minutes before your interview. Being late brings the chances of you hitching the job to a great low or sometimes, even nil. On the other hand, being too early may be too telling and get you all jittery while waiting.

Find out how to get there with streetdirectory.com or plan your route with iris route planner. If this is an extremely important interview, you can even try traveling there at the same time the day before. Just in case, get the HR's contact number so you can call to inform them of any last minute delays.

3. Dress well

An interview unlike your resume puts you literally in the view of your interviewer. And as Mark Twain once said: "Clothes make the man", dress appropriately in light-toned colours instead of bright hues as the latter may come across as loud or unserious. For the gentleman, wear long-sleeved shirts and avoid quirky ties especially those with cartoons. For the lady, a simple blouse with skirt or pants and perhaps a blazer. Also, put on the basic makeup and make sure you go for your grooming before the interview.

4. Mind your (Body) language

Greet the interviewer(s), give a firm handshake with a good eye contact, then ask to sit. And here's some common bad body language to beware of: Folding your arms, putting your hands in your pockets, fidgeting, shaking your legs, biting your nails, cracking your knuckles or let your eyes wander around. Also, watch the 'rems', 'you know', 'ahhhs' and 'and thens'. Bad habits are hard to crack. Practice this a week before the interview by asking your friends to alert you.

5. Be ready for all questions

Have the answers to questions such as what can you contribute to the company, your strengths and weaknesses, your previous job experience and how it will help, and even what your hobbies and interests are.

There is no standard way of answering questions but there are answers that reflect your work and life attitude, your maturity level and can help you market yourself better. Always remember to use specific, concrete examples to back up each point.

6. Ask questions

Find out about your job scope and responsibilities, how will your performance be measured, are there any training opportunities, what are the advancement opportunities, what are the challenges present in the department now and in your job, and more.

7.On $alary matters

Do not negotiate for your pay now but do set an expectation just in case they make an immediate offer. Check out market rates for the position you are applying for and estimate realistically how much your value to the company will be from websites like the Ministry of Manpower (www.mom.gov.sg) and JobsCentral salary calculator (http://community.jobscentral.com.sg/node/898). Also, instead of giving a single fixed figure, give a range of expected salary when questioned. This leaves you with some room for negotiation.

7. Bring...

Your updated resume (including reference letters), copies of it and good knowledge of your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on points written on it. Bring a proper work bag or leave it outside with the receptionist. No messenger bags, backpacks or the like. Carry your bag on your left shoulder so that it will not slide down as you shake hands with the interviewer.

8. Mental Preparation

Lastly, and most importantly, dump those dumb thoughts and visualize success before entering. Calm and confidently enter the room, then smile and impress your audience.

Related links: Questions Not to Ask your Interviewer, Common Resume Mistakes, Interview and Image, Interviews: Practice Makes Perfect

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