How to do well in a job interview

Before you can get a job, there is often an interview process where you meet the person who does the hiring.  It may seem like a scary thing to do, but if you prepare yourself, you can have a very good interview.  Here are some things you can do.

Long before the date of the interview, do some research online to find out about the company.  You should find out what products or services the company offers, how many employees work there, who the company’s competition is, and how long the company has been in operation.  In the interview you are often asked what you know about the company, and if you know very little, then your interview won’t go very well, so make sure you know these things.

It’s also a good idea to visit the company and see what people are wearing.  Go to your interview wearing the same kind of clothes as everyone there.  The way you dress tells the interviewer if you’ll fit in with the other employees.  Start practicing your answers to the common interview questions.  (See below)

On the day of your interview, prepare yourself well.  Clean your body, including washing your hair.  Afterwards, don’t put on too much perfume or after shave lotion.  Strong smells could make the interviewer uncomfortable or worse.  Arrive at the interview site at least fifteen minutes before your appointment.  After you tell the secretary your name, take a seat and relax.  Repeat to yourself, “This is MY job.  All I have to do is finish this interview, and they will offer me the job.”  By saying this again and again, you start to believe it.  When you believe it, you have a positive attitude.  When you bring this attitude into the interview, you have more confidence, so the interview goes much better.

When the interviewer comes out of his or her office, put a smile on your face, stand up and walk towards him ready to give a firm handshake, which is neither too strong nor weak.  At the same time look him in the eyes and say, “I’m pleased to meet you.”  Looking someone in the eyes makes a connection, and this will help in the interview.

After you both sit down in his office, he will start asking you questions.  Answer as honestly as you can.  Sometimes the interviewer will ask a question that has no good answer, such as, “What is your greatest weakness.”   When this happens, choose an answer that’s not so bad.  Say, “Sometimes I get a little nervous when I’m asked to do something I’ve never done before, but I’m learning to ask others for help.  The words “sometimes” and “a little” make your weakness sound smaller, and the part after “but” tells the interviewer that you’re trying to improve.  An answer like this will usually impress the interviewer.  Some people think a job interview is only about answering questions, but this isn’t true.  For every three or four questions you answer, you can ask a question yourself, such as, “Does the company have daycare service?”  If you ask the interviewer a question about the company, it shows that you’re interested in the company.

Don’t ask the money question too early in the interview.  Put that question after questions about benefits, such as medical and dental plans.  Use these words when you ask the money question:  “What can I expect in the way of salary?’  Don’t use:  “How much does the job pay?” because it sounds like you’re not as interested in the job.

If you follow the above guidelines, your job interview should go very well.  Below is a list of common interview questions that you should prepare.

•  Why would you like to work for our company?
•  What two or three things are most important to you in a job?
•  How do you work under pressure?
•  What do you know about our company?
•  What was the worst problem you had in your last job?
•  Why did you leave your last job?
•  Tell me about your last job.
•  Why should we hire you?
•  What are your weaknesses?
•  What are your strengths?
•  Tell me about yourself.
•  Where do you see yourself five years from now?
•  When were you most satisfied in your last job?
•  What did you like about your last job?
•  Why are you leaving your present job?

Click on the audio recording below to hear the lesson.  When you get to the interview questions, pause the audio after each question and give your best answer.


process:  a series of actions
prepare:  do things before the interview that will make it go better
research:  gathering information
online:  on the Internet
products:  things that are sold
services:  actions one person does for another
competition:  other companies that sell or do the same thing
in operation:  doing business
fit in:  be able to work well
site:  place, office
confidence:  a feeling that you are good enough
improve:  get better
impress:  make someone think you’re good
guidelines:  list of things to do, suggestions
common:  used in many interviews
Pronunciation Exercise:  Listen and repeat the vocabulary on the audio file below.
© 2013 Ambien Malecot

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