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Three Steps to a Successful Job Interview

Three Steps to a Successful Job Interview

Kay Peterson, Ph.D./FastWeb

You’ve made it to the interview stage! But before you step through that door, make sure you know the basic steps of a successful job interview.


- Learn about the company and the position. Check their Web site, use online corporate directories such as or Yahoo Finance, or request information from the company’s public relations department. Your school’s reference librarian can help you track down all sorts of useful information, such as the company’s size, history, main products and services, the names of top executives and current news stories.

- Rehearse with mock interviews. Check with your school’s career planning center to see if they offer a program to help you improve your interview skills.

- Double-check the time and location of the interview. If it’s in an area that’s new to you, consult a map or take a test-run the day before to make sure you know how to get there.

- Prepare what you want to say in the interview. Think about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your most significant work or school experiences, your future plans and your ideal job.

- Review your resume. Think about how your experiences can be matched up with the job’s requirements.

Quiz: The Healthcare Interview Quiz

1. It's interview time! You arrive at your interview:

30 minutes early - you want to show your dedication to the job.
10 minutes early - But you were actually parked and ready to go in 20 minutes ago.
5 minutes late - You don't want to seem too eager.

Interview Day

- Dress appropriately. Choose conservative clothing and keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum.

- Be punctual. Arrive a little early to allow yourself time to relax and focus.

- Bring along some basic interview tools: extra copies of your resume, a notepad and a pen. Take notes on any interesting points or questions. Your notes will come in handy when preparing for a second interview or writing a follow-up letter.

-Be sure to listen actively throughout the interview. It’s easy to spend all your time planning your answers, but remember, this is a conversation. Listening carefully helps you to respond appropriately.

- Avoid generalities and cliches (“I’m a people-person”). Give concrete examples when describing your work experience. And always be positive. Don’t be critical of previous co-workers or bosses. The way you talk about your former or current boss may be seen as an indication of how you will talk about your future boss.

- Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about this career path and this company by asking intelligent questions about the position. Draw upon your research about the company, or ask about the working conditions, the chances for advancement and major projects your prospective job would entail.

- Ask your interviewers for their business cards. This will ensure that you have the proper contact information when you follow up.

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