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Financial Literacy - Feature Article

Top 5 Tips for a Successful Interview

Tips for having a successful interviewby Lauren Podolsky, Financial Literacy

You’ve applied for a job and after playing the anxious waiting game; you’ve finally progressed on to the next step, the interview.

A job interview is face-to-face introduction with your prospective employer and a chance for you to sell yourself on the position.  Even though it may seem effortless to talk about your skills and personality, the process is one that can make any candidate full of nerves.  While you can’t always predict the questions that will be asked, it’s important to prepare as best you can and follow a few simple tactics in order to ensure that your first impression is not your last.

Here are our top 5 tips for a successful interview…

1. Do Your Homework - The first question often asked in any interview is, “What do you know about this company.”  Most prospective employers want to know that you have some kind of vested interest in the place that you have chosen to expand your career, so having a few facts on hand about the organization will only benefit you. I don’t mean you have to spend hours researching the company, but a simple Google search for the website will put you 10 steps ahead of where you already were.  Try to find out important information like how many locations it has, the philosophy of the business, or the other jobs offered in the organization.

job interview skills2. Arrive EARLY but not too early -
 Yes, I know you have heard this one over and over but it’s very important.  Being late is automatically counted against you, no matter the reason.  If you are present and ready to go 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time, you are in good shape.  The counter-side of this is; being too early also doesn’t look good.  If you think you’re putting yourself in the lead by arriving 2 hours early, your interviewer may not be ready for you. You want to be prepared but you also want to ensure that you don’t create an uncomfortable situation by showing up too early.

3. Take the first step -
As the interviewee, you should always be the one to reach out your hand and introduce yourself.  NEVER have the person you are meeting have to ask for your name.  It doesn’t look like you are taking initiative if you don’t establish who you are and a pleasant greeting.

4. Be honest -
 It’s easy to embellish and not always a bad thing, but just make sure you are not over-emphasizing your answers.  It is usually obvious when your story doesn’t seem authentic.  Also, you are less likely to stumble over your answers if you just tell the truth.

5. Dress for success -
No matter what job you are applying for, dressing professional to meet your prospective employer is essential. It not only shows respect, it proves that you are serious about the chance to be interviewing for a potential position. There is a possibility that a dozen other candidates could be interviewing for the same position. There might not be much that sets them apart as far as skills and experience so this is your chance to go the extra mile and set yourself apart with your appearance. Don’t you think that interviewer is going to remember the sixteen-year-old dressed in a suit and tie than the one in a T-shirt and jeans? What is considered good dress attire?  Think church clothes!  Professional and conservative is what you are trying to achieve.
Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.  The interview is the time to SELL YOURSELF so make them believe you are the one for the job.  Confidence equals trust so the more sure you appear of yourself, the more likely they are to believe you.

If you have other tips we should add to this list, or any questions or comments, please Contact Us

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Lauren Podolsky - Financial LiteracyAbout Lauren Podolsky: With over 10 years as a blogger and Financial Literacy adviser, Lauren lends her money tips and financial Q&A insights here on Stage of Life each and every month. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice, check out Lauren's personal site at where she shares her love of food, staying fit and living a healthy and balanced life.

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