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Preparing for Your Interview

by Kelly Bryant

You have applied yourself to your job search by using a variety of methods to find job leads, putting together a comprehensive resume, and submitting a great cover letter. Now you have been rewarded with a job interview so you can showcase your personality and strengths. Yet for many, this is a stressful time when nerves kick in.

To help you reduce that anxiety and have a winning interview, here are some simple preparation strategies you can use:

Know the company. Get to know more about the company and position you applied to by researching its website and social media presence, reviewing recent media releases, and if possible, arranging an information interview with a staff member.

Structure Your Answers. Think of situations, actions and results you have achieved so you can give examples of your skill sets and experience.

Identify a "hook". Think of a memorable story (or two) that shows why you are a strong candidate, keeping in mind what makes you a great fit for the position.

Stay Relaxed and Positive. The employer will feel more comfortable with you if you are genuine; so relax, be yourself and keep a positive attitude.

Practice answering interview questions. Take it a step further and video yourself to watch for body language, tone and overall impact.

There are many common interview questions available on the internet to help you prepare. Here are six questions and some things to consider in creating your responses.

Tell me about yourself. Often used at the beginning of an interview, this question is an opportunity to cover a few things that you want the employer to remember.

Why are you interested in this position? This is your chance to demonstrate your research by referencing some aspect of the company and position that interest you.

Why should I hire you? Use your “hook” and demonstrate why you are a strong candidate by highlighting specific skills and experiences that set you apart from others.

What are your weaknesses? Identify a minor work-related area you would like to develop such as gaining experience with a piece of equipment or getting training in a particular area.

How do you handle stress? This is an opportunity to mention some of your recreational activities such as hobbies and exercise routines.

Do you have any questions for us? This closing question is your chance to learn more about the company such as what their workplace culture is like.

Remember, the interview is your chance to showcase what you have to offer, so be prepared and let yourself shine through.