Posted By: Deanna DeBenedictis

The fated day has finally arrived: it's time for your interview! Are you ready? It's important to make sure that you have all of the steps in place to make a good first impression on your potential future employer. Employers are vigilant in examining every aspect about a candidate, from their physical presentation to their mannerisms and actions; they want to hire someone who is both the best fit for the position given their previous experience as well as someone who carries themselves professionally. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you along the way in terms of preparing for your interview:

1. Practice some answers and talking points ahead of time. Don't rehearse them to the point of sounding robotic and try not to word things verbatim for how they're written on your resume, but make sure that you can sufficiently and confidently verbalize why you're the best fit for the position and what skills and experiences solidify that fact. You want to wrap up your previous experiences and outstanding qualities in a neat little bow! Having a friend conduct a mock interview with you prior to the actual interview could be useful.

2. Think back to a previous work experience in which you handled a conflict.
In terms of interview questions, this is one that employers almost always ask. Not only is it a method of weeding out candidates who can't handle conflict well, it also gives an idea of the self-esteem and general attitude of a candidate. Whatever example you may be thinking of, it's important to figure out a way to paint that picture (and yourself) in a positive light rather than a negative one---a learning and growing experience as opposed to a failure.

. Have a few solid questions ready beforehand.
It's not that you need a ton, but a lack of any sort of questions is not a good look for a candidate. Maybe you're wondering if the work environment is more relaxed or conservative, or what the training process will be like, or whether or not the office is accessible by means of public transportation. Regardless, employers are more than happy to answer any inquiries that you present as they further express your interest in the position. Just don't ask about salary!

4. Make sure to wear a suit.
Unless the employer has previously specified otherwise in terms of a dress code, a suit is definitely the best way to go (whether you're male or female.) Don't worry about being overdressed or looking like you're trying too hard; employers would rather see a candidate putting forth an effort to look polished, clean, and pressed than someone who looks too casual or unprofessional. Plus, if you are offered a position, chances are you will be informed on what sort of dress to wear on the job.

5. Bring a physical copy of your resume. This is crucial! You might not feel it necessary as the employer probably already has a copy of your resume if you've secured an interview, but there's no guarantee that they will have printed out a physical copy to refer to during your interview. They may also want to pass your resume on to others in the office, so it's always good to have a couple of copies on hand. This also shows employers that you think proactively and know how to prepare.

6. Bring writing utensils and paper. Along with your resume, these things are important to take with you so that you have the materials to fill out paperwork and write down notes during the interview. While you don't want to bury your nose so deep in your notes that you can't make a connection with the person (or people) conducting your interview, you do want to jot down important notes and contact information. Most of the time, employers like to see candidates take notes as it displays attentiveness.

7. If possible, arrive early for the interview. Most employers will need you to fill out paperwork upon your arrival, whether it be a brief application or some sort of check-in form. For that reason, along with presenting yourself as punctual, it is important to leave yourself some wiggle room in terms of time prior to your interview. Arriving fifteen minutes early is always a good timeframe to aim for; the closer you cut it, the more likely you are to run into problems and cause yourself to arrive late.

8. Avoid casual slang in conversation. Employers look for professionalism in everything a candidate does, including their speech. Verbal and interpersonal communications are a key element of many positions, especially when engaging with clients, so it's very important to use proper language. Avoid exclamations like "sweet," "nice," and "cool" and opt for other words such as "great," "excellent," and "wonderful." Turn those "yeah"s into "yes"s and those "nah"s into "no"s!

For more information and guidance on interview preparation, click here: http://www.fanning-boston.com/blog/blogpostcategory/Interview-Preparation/

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