I prepped by researching the organization through their website and learned about the structure and some of their partnerships. I focused on learning their mission and vision statements and thought about ways to weave some of that language into my responses.
I studied the job listing the evening before the interview, taking particular note of the personality and performance aspects that were emphasized as being "important" or "critical." I also reviewed what I'd written in my cover letter that addressed each of these points. That way, my interview responses would be consistent with my letter of application.
I looked for sample interview questions online, picking out 12 questions I've heard most frequently in recent interviews that I felt I needed to work on. I then sat at the computer and typed up clear, concise answers to each of these questions. I reviewed this document briefly a half hour before going into the interview so I felt comfortable with main points without trying to memorize anything.
The questions I focused on included:
*1. Tell us about yourself. (They asked this question. I emphasized aspects of my educational and professional background appropriate to the job description.)
*2. What do you know about our organization? (They asked this question. Being able to acknowledge their mission and vision statement impressed them.)
*3. Why do you want to work here? (They asked this question. Having thought about how my professional and educational background applied to the position and organization helped me answer this question smoothly.)
4. Why did you leave your last job?
5. What are your best skills?
6. What is your major weakness?
7. Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
*8. What are your career goals? (They asked this question. Having prepped this answer and listening to information from the interviewers allowed me to customize a response appropriate to the organization.)
9. What are your hobbies?
10. How do you handle a situation of conflict?
*11. What qualities do you feel make a good supervisor/manager? (They asked this question. I kept this answer brief: being respectful toward employees, offering constructive feedback and critique and utilizing common courtesy — saying please and thank you.)
*12. Do you have any questions for us? (They asked this question. I asked about new employee training and when they expect to make a final decision on the position.)
I took time to select and press my outfit the day before. I spent extra time getting my hair to behave and doing my make up so I looked polished and professional for a daytime office setting. I did not wear perfume or wear heavily-scented products.
I was careful not to overdress. I've made that mistake before--going in wearing a suit when the interviewer was wearing a polo shirt and slacks. Not good. I was careful not to wear flashy jewelry. I've made that mistake before, too. The interviewer spent the entire encounter staring at my shiny necklace of concentric silver rings. Again, not good.
When I met the interviewer, I introduced myself and had a good handshake (solid, not crushing). During the interview, I was just myself, but I made certain to maintain eye contact. I smiled and laughed when appropriate.
Answering the practice questions made me aware that I needed to be concise with my answers. I listened carefully to interviewer and made mental notes on points of interest without interrupting. That way, when the person asked, "What do you think of that?" I had points ready to respond to.
This is all terribly long-winded (which, by the way is my major weakness!) but maybe it will help someone else.
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