Interview questions and structured interviewing
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What to do Before the BIG Interview

By Aparna Kumar

Generally speaking, interviewing helps employers know the three things they need to know before they make a hiring decision...

Are you capable of doing the job? Do you have the necessary skills and experience or can you be easily trained?

Are you motivated to do the job? Will you take the trouble to do the job well, ask for guidance when appropriate, and make the necessary effort to meet tight deadlines? Or will you resort to excuses?

Are you a person they'll like working with? Will you be a team player and adapt easily to the company culture? Will you be cheerful or a complainer? Will you give or grab credit?
Resumes provide few answers to the second and third questions and alone are not sufficient to speak to the first. The interview process is intended to help fill in these blanks.

Interviewing potential employees is an art. Some people have a talent for it, others don't. Regardless, it's important that you be well prepared, make the process easier for the interviewer, and realize that the interviewer is trying to find out (whether they do it smoothly or awkwardly) what is not on your resume—namely, how you will behave on the job.

But interviewing is not merely a matter of satisfying interviewers. You also want to determine whether this is the right company, the right job, and the right team for you. After all, you will be committing the majority of your waking hours to the job for a year or two, if not longer. Ideally, you want to find the work satisfying, enjoy your colleagues, learn a lot, and position yourself to achieve your long-term career goals.

Preparing for the Interview
Before an interview, learn about career-related issues in your selected field and prepare a two-minute presentation; think through the key points you want to make in response to typical interview questions; develop a portfolio; create a weighted list of must-haves and nice-to-haves in a job; and choose and brief your references. For a specific interview, there are three of levels of preparation you can do, depending on how much you think you'll want the job:

Level One—Just the Basics

Learn about the company from its website, annual report, and your networking sources.

Know what the company's products and services are.

Learn about the company's financial condition—is it prosperous, pinched, in trouble?

Find out where the interview will be, obtain clear directions, and confirm the time. If possible, make a dry run to the location, timing how long it takes and then allowing extra time for possible traffic delays.
Level Two—A Bit More Effort

Get information about your interviewer from your networking resources, the person's assistant, or someone else inside the company.

Obtain the job specification, if possible, and think about how it relates to your own experience, education, and accomplishments.

Research the company's history with the products or services that are relevant to the position you're interviewing for. Is it an industry leader? Did it make or buy the technology? What is the company's competitive edge?

Learn about the company's culture, if you can, from general business or trade periodicals or from WetFeet's Insider Guides or Company Gallery profiles. A reference librarian can also help you with this research
Level Three—When You Really Want That Job

Do some original research on customer needs, what the competition is doing, and how the company is faring in the marketplace.

Come up with some original ideas that could be beneficial to the company.