A Crash Course in Interview Preparation

Christopher Jones

Everyone loves to get this phone call: "This is Jane Doe. I'm calling to see if you would like to come in for a job interview."

Your pulse races: A job interview!

It isn't until the night before the interview that your stomach drops, a feeling of slight dread sets in and you ask yourself, "What am I gonna wear?" "What am I gonna say?"

You've got a case of the pre-interview jitters: A good sign that you haven't spent enough time preparing.

Getting ready for an interview should begin at least three days before the interview is scheduled to take place. This week, we'll run down the top things you should do before the big day arrives.

The Clothes Make the Job Seeker

Make sure your interview clothes are clean and pressed a few days beforehand.

The last thing you want to worry about the night before an interview is pleading with your drycleaner or getting burned by a hot iron.

Also, make sure you have a neutral colored umbrella on-hand in case of rain.

Don't Forget Your Resumes!

Make good-quality copies of your resume on a nice grade of paper. Take more copies than you will possibly need -- just in case. Store the copies in a folder where they will stay clean and unwrinkled.

Organize your portfolio, tear sheets, professional reference lists or any other papers you think your prospective employer would like to see.

Make sure your purse or briefcase is stocked with everything else you'll need: A working pen (no pencils!), a notebook, breath mints, a comb, the umbrella I mentioned and some tissues.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like most things, people get better at interviewing with a little practice.

Dedicate one night prior to the interview to a mock QandA. You can set this up with a friend or conduct the interview yourself with a list of frequently-asked interview questions and a mirror.

Don't panic if, during the actual interview, you are not asked any of the questions you practiced. The point of practicing is to "warm up" to the process of answering questions on the fly.

Do Your Homework

Spend at least two days before the interview researching the company. Take notes. Memorize important facts.

A little preparation goes a long way. A couple of hours researching the company and practicing answers to interview questions can give you that extra bit of confidence you need to ace the interview.

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