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The Job Interview Process - 5 Stages
By Lenny Laskowski   Printer Friendly Version

While many of us may not think of job interviews as a presentation, it may be the first presentation we ever make. It may also be the most critical. With a job interview we are there to "sell ourselves" not just ideas. First impressions are extremely important and like presentations we should properly prepare ourselves for the interview.

Below are the 5 stages of the Interviewing Process I recommend you use when preparing for your interview:

  1. Preparation - Learn as much about the company as you can before your interview. Find out what they do, what they make, and what kind of services they provide and determine if your skills can fit with what they do. Determine what you can offer the company. Arrange and confirm the time for your interview. Make sure you arrive early. Don't be late. Ask for directions when you confirm your appointment, if needed. Make a list of what questions you may want to ask them. More importantly, make a list of those questions you anticipate they might ask you and decide how you will answer these questions. You then are prepared how to answer them.
  2. Introduction - Make sure your initial non-verbal contact is positive. For example, smile when you first see the person interviewing you. Have a firm handshake and establish good eye contact when talking. You be the one to start off the conversation. Go prepared with your list of specific questions to ask them about the job and the company. Don't forget to bring the questions with you.
  3. Presentation - When asked questions always listen to their questions carefully. If you don't understand any question, ask them to clarify the question. If you do not know the answer to the question be honest and say so but do offer to get back to them with the answer later and DO GET back to them.
  4. Obtain Information for Yourself - Remember, this job interview is for your benefit also. Ask questions about the actual job requirements, benefits and type of work that you will be expected to do. Determine if the job will fit in with your educational background and career goals. (Have you written down your career goals?). Be prepared to take notes during the interview. This "shows" you came prepared. Write down all the names of the people you meet and their position. Be active in the interview process. Don't just sit there and not ask any questions.
  5. The Final Stage - Write down all the reasons for the company to hire you. Ask if your background matches what the company is looking for. Ask is they are interviewing other people for the same position and when can you expect a decision. Ask if the interviewer wants you can call later for an update. Also, ask how long it will take before they will make a decision. Don't forget to follow up with a phone call or a thank you note. Clearly tell them you are interested if you are BEFORE you leave the interview.

For a more comprehensive guide to the interviewing process, order our booklet, "The Interviewing Process". You can order this booklet on-line through our convenient on-line catalog. This guide will provide you with the questions you should know the answers to and the questions you should ask. A helpful follow up checklist is also provided.


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