Preparing for Interviews

In interviews, your job is to convince a recruiter that you have the skills, knowledge and experience for the job. Show motivation and convince a recruiter that you fit the organization's culture and job description, and you get that much closer to an offer.

7-Step Interview Prep Plan
1. Research the organization.
This will help you answer questions — and stand out from less-prepared candidates.

Seek background information. 
  • Visit the organization’s website to ensure that you understand the breadth of what they do.
  • Review the organization's background and mission statement.
  • Assess their products, services and client-base.
  • Read recent press releases for insight on projected growth and stability.
  • Get perspective. Review trade or business publications. Seek perspective and a glimpse into their industry standing.
  • Develop a question list. Prepare to ask about the organization or position based on your research.

2. Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements.

  • Analyze the job description. Outline the knowledge, skills and abilities required.
  • Examine the hierarchy. Determine where the position fits within the organization.
  • Look side-by-side. Compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications.
Sign up for email alerts from your selected job sites. Many job sites offer a service that sends postings matching your job search criteria directly to your inbox. It's a good idea to check in occasionally on the job sites you set up alerts with to carry out a manual search in case your alerts have missed any jobs that might be up your street.

Step 3
Upload your resume to job sites. Some sites allow job seekers to upload their resumes to a central database that recruiters can search. Load your resume with keywords that are relevant to your job search. If you're a computer programmer, make sure you include references to the languages you use. Save your resume as a word processing program file before uploading it to job sites. Some applicant tracking systems can't scan PDF or TIFF files. Uploading your resume in files such as these could result in employers being unable to find you.

Step 4
Set up one, well-put-together social media profile to sell yourself to potential employers. "The Wall Street Journal" advises that one decent social media page is far more effective than multiple half-finished ones. Krista Canfield, a spokesperson for professional social network LinkedIn, notes: "Just signing up for an account simply isn't enough. At a bare minimum, make sure you're connected to at least 35 people and make sure your profile is 100 percent complete."

Step 5
Check out the recruitment pages of companies you'd like to work for. Not all firms use job sites, so you could miss an opportunity if you're not proactive in your efforts to find work.