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In my career operating a Microsoft IT college in Mississauga, the topic of job interviews comes up quite often. Many students ask me for interview tips that can lead them to success and how they can prepare in advance.
Why Should You Prepare for an Interview in Advance?
Many people assume that since an interview is simply a conversation between the employer and the candidate, they don’t need to prepare; it’s just answering basic questions, right?
Wrong. Preparation is essential before an interview. The interview is the most important part of your job search and is usually when the employer decides whether or not to hire you. You should prepare for an interview ahead of time for the following reasons:
1. To Avoid Clumsiness
If you have prepared in advance for the interview, you will have a good idea of what is going to be discussed and you won’t feel rushed or nervous. This will allow you to give calm and complete answers without any awkward pauses or disruptions.
2. To Prevent Last Minute Delays
Preparing in advance can eliminate various factors that could delay you on the day of the interview (a missing button on your shirt, a traffic jam, etc.). Arriving early without having to rush will prevent you from feeling flustered before the interview.
3. To Assure Organization and Completeness
Preparing in advance will give you the opportunity to make sure that all your documents — your résumé, portfolio, application, etc. — and your attire is perfect and presentable.
Tips for Interview Preparation
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a successful interview:
Ensure that you have all the necessary documentation you will need in the interview. Make sure no certificates are missing, you have copies of your résumé, your career advancement portfolio is up to date and you have a list of references or letters of recommendation.
Conduct research about the company you are interviewing with. Learn about their mission, their major competitors, suppliers and vendors, and any challenges they may be facing. Knowing information about the company will not only impress the employer, but it will help you better sell yourself as an ideal candidate for the position. If possible, learn about the person who will be interviewing you as well.
Check the clothes you will be wearing for the interview; do they need dry cleaning or ironing? If so, make arrangements to ensure that they are ready the day before the interview. Your clothes should not have any stains on them and should not be wrinkled.
4. Thank You Letter
It is critical to send a thank you letter or email after an interview. Write a thank you letter in advance and drop it in the mail after your interview — or send an email when you get home.
5. Mock Interview
Studies show that performing a mock interview before an actual interview increases your chances of being hired. Make a list of all the common questions that are asked in an interview and practice your answers for each one. Add any questions you think the interviewer will specifically ask you. For example, if you have a two year career gap on your résumé, you should be ready to explain it. Have a friend ask you the questions, or practice in front of a mirror. If you practice on your own, record your responses so you can critique yourself and improve your answers. Not only will this boost your confidence level, but it will also make sure you do not fumble in your interview.
6. Your Questions
Before the interview, make a list of questions you are going to ask the interviewer. At the end of the interview, you will be given the chance to ask questions. The questions should be related to the job, the company, the work environment, the role you will have in the company, what your responsibilities will be, etc. Politely ask if you can ask a few questions at the end if the interviewer doesn’t provide you with an opportunity.
Follow these tips to give your best performance at your next interview. If you need help preparing for your next interview, or if you are interested in upgrading your technical skills to better market yourself for employment in the IT field, please feel free to contact us. We provide intense Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Cisco, Linux and Red Hat courses. We are located in Mississauga near Toronto, Milton, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton and offer courses to students looking to change their career or improve their professional skills.