Preparation is the key to any successful job search. Laying the groundwork before you face the first interview, you'll have the confidence to succeed and keep the frustration level down to a minimum. Here are some things to consider as you get started:  

  • Understand your skills and how they relate to the job description.
  • Your experience.
  • Who you are.
  • Your resume.
  • Research information and network of contacts.
  • Interviewing skills.
  • Prepare yourself for your interview.




Work habits that can transfer between jobs and include adaptability, interpersonal skills, and work habits such as integrity, motivation, and self-management. 



Work habits that can transfer between jobs and include adaptability, interpersonal skills, and work habits such as integrity, motivation, and self-management.



Find out as much as you can about the people you will interview with. Get their name, title, personality, job function, how they got into the organization, etc. Your recruiter will be happy to furnish you with this background information. 



Develop a resume that highlights your accomplishments, develop a confident telephone presence that can be used in maintaining contacts and phone interviews, and continue to develop a network of contacts and other advocates who can also promote you. 



  • Good communication skills are required for any job. 
  • Take the time to perfect your resume. It should be well written, with no errors in spelling, layout or grammar.
  • If the job you're seeking produces frequent written materials, you may wish to show samples of your previous work.
  • Speak well, pronouncing words correctly. Don't talk too much, just enough to answer the question and get your point across.


Remember that as the employer is evaluating you, you must also evaluate the employer to determine if the opportunity is right for you. Ask questions! Below are some possible questions for you to ask: 

  • What's the most important question you can ask? Ask for the job!
  • Do I have the qualifications for this position?
  • What specific tasks does the position require?
  • Where does this job fit into the organizational structure?
  • How will the work be evaluated?
  • Whom would I be working for and with?
  • Where is the organization going?
  • What opportunities for advancement are there?
  • Are there any long range plans for the office, department, region, division?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • How do you encourage innovation?
  • What is the financial health of the organization?
  • Will I work independently or with others?
  • Questions you have that I could answer about my background?
  • If someone had this position before, why did he/she leave?
  • What are the major issues that this organization will be facing in the near future?
  • What role do you see my job playing in these issues?
  • Who are the other people in the department? What are their roles and how long have they been here?
  • What direction is the organization taking and why? Is growth projected?
  • How does this organization compare with others like it in the field?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenge for the person filling this position?


  • How close is this job to my job goals?
  • Is this job a good vehicle to reach my goals?
  • What are the people like?
  • How do I feel about my manager?
  • How do I feel about the organizations' goals?
  • How did I feel about the organizational climate (e.g. hours people are expected to work, what was the atmosphere of the office)?
  • What is the commute like? Is the geographical move, if any, agreeable?
  • Are the duties of the job ones that I am willing to undertake?
  • Does the work schedule fit my lifestyle (9:00-5:00p.m., flexible hours, part-time, variable schedule)?
  • Is the travel enough? Too much?
  • Is the compensation adequate?
  • Are the benefits adequate?
  • What hesitations do I have, if any?
  • What additional information do I need to make a decision?


Open-ended questions about past events are often asked during interviews. 

  • Interview questions may include "tell me about a time when you managed pressure successfully," or "Tell me about a time when you were not successful dealing with conflict."
  • Be prepared to effectively answer questions by providing a specific instance of past behavior, describing results attributable to your actions, and positively summarizing your skills.
  • If asked about previous failures, describe what you have learned from your mistakes and how you have overcome them.

Show positives that will benefit the company. 

Combine your skills with what you are able to provide for the company in a positive statement of confidence. An example of a skill-benefit statement for a good team player might be "I can work with difficult people, so I will have no problem fitting into any situation you place me in." 


So, how do you stand out from all the other candidates? 

  • Double check the time of appointment. Arrange to be five minutes early, before the scheduled time. Do not be too early…(you shouldn't be hanging around their lobby for half an hour).
  • Have extra copies of your resume with you. Have your reference list available, including names, address, and phone numbers. Also, be sure that your references expect phone calls or other inquiries about your job search.
  • Wear clean, well-pressed clothing appropriate to the job you are seeking. Arrive well groomed from head to toe.
  • Give the appearance of self-confidence and energy when you first enter the room: Smile, Be Yourself. Give a firm handshake. Be relaxed. Maintain eye contact.
  • Be genuine, but not overly friendly with the interviewer.
  • Before answering a question take time to pause and plan an adequate response to the question. Try not to fill silences with nervous responses.
  • Keep your responses positive. Prepare positive answers to the most frequently asked interviewing questions. Prepare positive responses to cover an irregular or problematic work history.
  • At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer(s) for his (her or his/their) consideration and time. Close! When do I start?
  • Write a thank-you letter to the interviewer(s) immediately following the interview.
  • Thank him/her (them) for the interview, recap what you learned from the interview, and reaffirm your interest in the job (ask for the job!) This can even be e-mailed or faxed later the same day!