Preparing for a job interview? Don't skip these 6 steps

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Ten Tips on Preparing for a Job Interview

Arriving at the interview without being fully prepared is a rookie mistake.

You only have one shot at making it to the next step in the hiring process. Be at the top of your game and make sure you follow these steps.

SEE ALSO: 9 ways your references can help you land your next job

1. Research everything you can. Don't wait for the interview to learn about the company and people. Before the interview, research competitors, financial performance, culture, management style and who your colleagues may be. Thanks to the Internet, you can uncover a treasure trove of information about companies and people. Visit the company website to see which news it's sharing about itself, but don't stop there. Look up the people you'll be interviewing with on LinkedIn. Ask for their names when you schedule the interview. If you can't get a name, at least research people in the department or with similar roles. You can also use Glassdoor to see if any employees have reviewed the company. You may even find interview questions the company has asked in the past. Talk with people you know and ask what they know about the company. And don't forget to talk with current and past employees about what they liked about working there. The more information you know about the company going into the interview, the better. The questions you ask will be stronger, and you'll come across as prepared and professional.

2. Prepare answers. You can't predict every question you may be asked during an interview, but you can anticipate some. One of the easiest ways to identify potential interview questions is to review the job posting line by line. Each requirement is a potential question. For example, if a post states, "Manage client relationships and develop relationships to ensure project success and client satisfaction," you will certainly be asked about your skills managing and developing client relationships. In order to answer this question, think about a specific instance at work when you successfully managed a client. Your example should include how your outcome improved client satisfaction. Use accomplishment stories to briefly describe the problem you were faced with, the actions you took to resolve the situation and the results. That's a powerful way to tell your story.

Here are the 10 worst body language mistakes you can make in an interview:
10 worst body language mistakes during interviews
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Preparing for a job interview? Don't skip these 6 steps

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 


3. Keep your answers concise. In order to keep your interviewer's attention, you'll want to keep your answers succinct, but you don't want to omit important information either. That's a tough balance to reach. "Never use more than 60 seconds on any answer," writes Robin Ryan in her updated edition of "60 Seconds and You're Hired!" She explains that we live in a world of short attention spans and sound bites. In order to leave a memorable impression, your answers need to be enthusiastic and succinct.

4. Rehearse out loud. Your answers may sound terrific in your head, but may not come out as well when spoken. Great actors and actresses rehearse their lines, but they don't sound robotic or rote. That's because they practice the words, as well as the tone, inflection and body movements, to come across as genuine and believable. When you invest time practicing your answers out loud, you will also present the best version of yourself.

5. Prepare questions. Conversational interviews, which are back-and-forth discussions, feel more comfortable and establish rapport. In order to achieve this mutual relationship during an interview, asking questions is the solution. Don't just ask, "When do I start?" Or only ask, "How much time off do I get?" Ask questions that show you are interested in the role. Ask what immediate concerns the interviewer would like to see addressed, or how your performance will be evaluated. It's fine to bring your list of questions into the interview, just in case you need to reference them. The interviewer usually has a list of questions they refer to as well. Mutual respect and a level playing field will help you feel more comfortable, too.

6. Plan to follow up. It will be your responsibility to follow up after the interview. Job seekers often become discouraged when they don't hear back, but don't let this stop you from following up. Before you leave the interview, find out when to follow up and with whom. Take initiative and contact the appropriate person after the stated date. Your persistence can show interest, maturity and responsibility. One last warning: Never assume no news is bad news. It only means the interviewer hasn't contacted you yet.

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Preparing for a job interview? Don't skip these 6 steps

13. Postal service clerks

Average hours typically worked a week: 39.32

Median earned income: $51,000

What they do: Perform any combination of tasks in a post office like receive letters and parcels; sell postage and revenue stamps, postal cards, and stamped envelopes; fill out and sell money orders; place mail in pigeon holes of mail racks or in bags; and examine mail for correct postage.

(Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images)

12. Speech-language pathologists

Average hours typically worked a week: 36.17

Median earned income: $54,000

What they do: Assess and treat persons with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders.

(Jayme Poisson via Getty Images)

11. Registered nurses​

Average hours typically worked a week: 37.59

Median earned income: $56,000

What they do: Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing-care plans, and maintain medical records

(Reza Estakhrian via Getty Images)

10. Psychologists

Average hours typically worked a week: 36.75 

Median earned income: $56,000

What they do: Diagnose or evaluate mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observations, interviews, and psychological tests and formulate and administer programs of treatment.

(Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

9. Chiropractors

Average hours typically worked a week: 39.75

Median earned income: $60,000

What they do: Assess, treat, and care for patients by manipulation of spine and musculoskeletal system.

(Yellow Dog Productions via Getty Images)

8. Occupational therapists

Average hours typically worked a week: 36.02 

Median earned income: $60,000

What they do: Provide rehabilitative treatments and procedures that help build or restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills.

(Dan Porges via Getty Images)

7. Technical writers​

Average hours typically worked a week: 39.61

Median earned income: $62,000

What they do: Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions.

(Thomas Barwick via Getty Images)

6. Physical therapists

Average hours typically worked a week: 37.43 

Median earned income: $63,000

What they do: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

(Bloomberg via Getty Images)

5. Audiologists

Average hours typically worked a week: 37.77

Median earned income: $64,000

What they do: Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders.

(Boston Globe via Getty Images)

4. Radiation therapists

Average hours typically worked a week: 38.40

Median earned income: $70,000

What they do: Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards.

(Thomas Tolstrup via Getty Images)

3. Optometrists

Average hours typically worked a week: 39.03

Median earned income: $100,000

What they do: Diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system.

(Vince Talotta via Getty Images)

2. Pharmacists

Average hours typically worked a week: 38.38

Median earned income: $102,000

What they do: Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use.


1. Dentists

Average hours typically worked a week: 37.83

Median earned income: $130,000

What they do:Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums.

(Don Bartletti via Getty Images)


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