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Research your prospective employer â€“ before the interview, take some time to review the companyâ€™s website, reading the â€śabout usâ€ť page, and if available, press releases, financial statements, and strategic plans. If the company does not have a website, try searching for references of the company online to see if you are able to glean any additional details about the organization. You can also search on hoovers.com for basic stats such as company descriptions, key personnel, and financial data including number of employees, revenues, and the trends in each area. Additionally, check what others say about the company on LinkedIn. From a quick search on LinkedIn you could find someone in your network associated with a target employer, providing for added insight into the organization, current employment trends, and just as important, its corporate culture. Once armed with this information, begin to review your own background and how certain skills, experiences, and achievements would translate well based on your prospective employerâ€™s current situation. Prepare for the tough-to-answer questions â€“ are there certain questions you have had difficulty answering in the past? If so, script strong responses and practice answering those questions before the interview. A couple of questions candidates often express are most difficult for them include â€śTell me about yourselfâ€ť and â€śTell me about a weakness.â€ť Remember, when a prospective employer asks you to tell them about yourself, they are not asking for you to tell them you are married, have 2 children, a dog, and like skiing! What they are really asking is â€śWhat in your background positions you to excel in this role.â€ť If you developed a qualifications summary for your resume, you have taken great strides in your ability to answer this question succinctly. To prepare for this question, review your background and identify your core value messages. These messages should be comprised of the skill you offer and the benefit of that skill to the prospective employer. Think about where you have gone above and beyond, when have you addressed a challenge and driven strong results, or when your specific strengths have added value to your employer. Remember you donâ€™t just want to tell an employer what you can do, you want to show them what you can do by presenting value messages including a combination of your actions/skills and the results/benefit of each. Letâ€™s look at some examples: Donâ€™t say, â€śI have great organization skills.â€ť Do say, â€śI have repeatedly increased department productivity by streamlining processes, reducing redundancies, and improving workflow.â€ť Donâ€™t say, â€śI manage people well.â€ť Do say, â€śI have a proven record building, training, and motivating top-performing teams that have surpassed aggressive performance goals.
Maximize job offers through proactive interview preparation
Many candidates invest time revamping their rĂ©sumĂ© but neglect to invest time preparing for the interview. This weekâ€™s column will focus on preparing you for an interview and handling those tough questions. Top tips include:
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