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Ace the Job Interview

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Ace the job Interview!

The interview is clearly a key part of the job search process.  In a tight job market, it becomes even more critical to be at your best when the opportunity of a job interview arises.

Here are five key strategies to a successful job interview:


Many job seekers know very little about the organizations they apply to, and some only spend a few minutes on the company’s website as their preparation for an interview.  You will stand out as an interested, and well-prepared candidate if really do your homework.  For example, you can find friends, or connect to folks on Linkedin to get more information. You can go to GlassDoor.com to read what former employees say about a company. You can also block out several hours to research the company through its’ own website, press releases, recent news articles, etc. to better understand the company’s current business projects and issues


I recommend you share their job-related strengths immediately.  Questions such as “Tell me about yourself.”, “Why should I hire you?” and “What are your top qualities/strengths?” are all opportunities for you to sell yourself to the interviewer.  An example of a good answer might be, “I have extensive Computer Engineering coursework, I have experience leading class projects and dividing up work, and I’ve written over 1000 lines of C++ code."


Most employers ask Behavior-based interview questions which require specific examples from your past.  The task of trying to come up with good examples off the top of your head is one of the biggest sources of stress before and during an interview.  The solution is to prepare some success stories prior to the interview.  Sketch out some stories in a Situation-Action-Result format that you could apply to multiple questions.

For example, I led a class project team of four in building a robot. One class member dropped out mid-term.  I re-organized the work between the three of us. We completed the project on time and got an “A”.

This story could be used to respond to questions about: Teamwork, Meeting deadlines, Flexibility, etc.


If you do not ask even one question, the interviewer may feel he/she has no interest in the position. Since some of your questions may be answered during the interview, type up 10-12 questions to be safe.  Ask questions about key job duties, training/development opportunities, and areas that truly matter to you (culture, manager’s style, work content, advancement opportunities, etc.)


Like a salesperson who asks for the sale, you must ask for the job.  For example, a candidate can close the interview by saying, “I’m very interested in this position, and I believe I would be a strong fit on this team!  I look forward to hearing back from you soon.”    In a competitive hiring situation, a candidate who expresses sincere interest and excitement about the position, may be the one who ultimately gets the job.

Use these tips to fully prepare yourself before an interview, and you greatly increase your chances of success.
About the Author
Jeff Dunn is a Campus Relations Manager for Intel Corporation. He has over 20 years of corporate recruiting experience. Jeff received his Bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley. He is a Past President of the Sacramento Area Human Resource Association. Jeff frequently speaks in the media and the community about effective job search strategies.