Preparing for the interview: Part 1

My series on job interview mistakes received some attention from a writer for jobulo—a website previously unfamiliar to me, but that seems to be designed to help job seekers create solid CVs (CV is short for Curriculum Vita, and it’s similar to a resume, but much more detailed and typically used in academic circles). I’m going to use the next few posts to share my thoughts about the advice in the jobulo article: “10 Tried and True Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview.”

1. “Read the job description.” Obviously you would have read the job description carefully before you applied for the job (following my advice in Tip 36. Read job ads and position descriptions carefully) and incorporated the language about skills and experience into your application materials. If you hadn’t done that, it’s unlikely you’d be called in for an interview. But it may have been several weeks since you sent that application, so you need to refresh your mind about what this particular job entails. Be prepared with anecdotes about things you have done that demonstrate the skills required by the position.

2. “Research.” Twenty years ago, doing research about an organization was time consuming and difficult. However, today just about any organization you might want to work for is going to have a presence on the Internet, and you can find out a lot about who they are, what they do, why they do it, and who they do it for (or to). When you go for an interview, you need to know as much as you can about that organization: How many employees do they have? How many locations? Who is their customer base? What is their organizational structure? What is their mission? What have they done recently that has made the news? What kinds of awards have they won? And so on and so forth. You also need to find out as much as you can about the specifics of the position you’ve applied for. If possible, do research on the reporting structure for the position, the number of people are currently in that role, the primary responsibilities, the career trajectory, and so forth. You can glean some of it from the job description, but you may be able to find more on the organization’s website or by looking at the LinkedIn profiles of their employees. (Get more suggestions for how to do research in Tip 37. Do research on every company where you want to apply.”)

3. “Analyze your own skills.” This is so important that I devote an entire step to this in my book: Step 1: Identify your skills and strengths. The seven tips in this section help you think about the skills you have that employers want—regardless of what field you’re in or what job you’re applying for—as well as those skills that are specific to a particular position. You’ll also learn how to identify and talk about your weaknesses, which is a common question in job interviews.

In my next post, I’ll tackle more of the suggestions provided in the jobulo article—I think I’ve given you enough to work on for one day.