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So you’ve finally made it: You landed a first interview with an employer. While you may feel grateful that a potential employer finally chose you, remember that: They chose to look at you. This means you have something to offer that they want. Admittedly, the interview can bring on a serious set of nerves. But remember that you are qualified enough that they want to take a closer look, and let that give you confidence. And don’t forget to ask a few thoughtful questions yourself.

Now, to prepare yourself for the interview, you should take a few simple yet essential steps:

1. Know the company. Once you have the interview, find out as much as you can about your potential future employer. Goals and objectives? Their market? Do you know anyone who works there who could give you some insight? Aside from examining the employer’s website, check them out on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Look to see if they’ve been in the news lately: This will help you know about the latest plans and innovations.

2. Know your potential position and how you fit in. Examine the position and what it entails. What are the minimum qualifications? What do they want you to do? List them and then write down how your assets match each of those qualifications. It really comes down to this: Your potential employer has a problem that needs to be solved. So ask yourself this key question: How can I solve that problem? What skills and experience do I have that fills the company’s need? If you can answer this, you can confidently present yourself as a needed employee.

3. You do need to practice. Sit down with a friend or family member who can fairly observe and help you with your interview skills. It helps to have an outside source spot your strengths and weaknesses. By practicing (and looking up some of the most commonly asked interview questions and how best to answer them; you’ll feel more relaxed and ready when the real interview happens. Get to the point where you feel you can answer comfortably but do not sound too rehearsed.

4. Turn the tables. Most interviews will give you the chance to ask some questions of your own. Have some prepared that will give you insight into how they think–and give the interviewer a chance to see what you consider important to know and how seriously you take the position. Here are a few questions that will help you accomplish that:

  • What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
  • What have you enjoyed most about working here?
  • What would you say are the three most important skills needed to excel in this position?
  • How can I best contribute to the department?
  • Do you have any concerns about me or about my qualifications that may prevent you from selecting me for the job?
  • What is your ideal communication style with your staff?

Understand that the interview isn’t about them firing questions at you; it’s a chance for you to get information as well, demonstrating your dedication to the position and the company through your own questions. For help on having a successful interview, contact the experience recruiting staff at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks for guidance.

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