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The purpose of an interview is to help the employer get to know you better – and to help you get to know the organization. Whether you have a single interview with one person or multiple interviews involving numerous people, your actions and responses should be directed toward telling the employer as much as possible about you and obtaining as much information about the organization as you can.
Before going on an interview, research the company and be prepared to ask intelligent and well thought out questions. Find out as much as you can about the company through its website, industry associations, employees, business journals, etc. – anything that will give you more insight to the company and its culture. You can even visit one of the company’s properties before your interview.
You will most likely be asked questions about your previous employment, your education, why you are looking for a job, and why you want this particular position. Respond with replies that are clear and relevant. Pausing for a moment to gather your thoughts is not only helpful but wise. Get directly to the point, and only discuss the facts needed to respond to the question, being truthful and positive at all times.
Prior to the interview, take the time to think through answers to typical interview questions. Formulating your answers in advance and practicing them aloud will help you solidify your thoughts and ultimately give you more poise and confidence during the actual interview. Finally, make sure you bring a pen and paper to the interview, and use them. It will show you are genuinely interested in being the person to fill the position. If nothing else, it enables you to jot down the names and titles of the people you met so you can send them a follow up thank you letter.
What you do after the interview is also important. Always send a thank you letter to all of the individuals who interviewed you. Keep it short, but do reinforce your interest in the position. Despite your eagerness, refrain from calling the employer too soon. If you learn that another candidate was chosen for the position, consider sending a follow-up letter, again saying thank you for the opportunity and letting them know that you would be interested if another or similar position became open in the future.