Congratulations!! Your resume and cover letter did their job! A Corporate Recruiter called and conducted a telephone interview, and has invited you in for a preliminary face-to-face interview!
The recruiter's task during the hiring process is to collect information that enables him or her to accurately rank order the available candidates. While there are other methods of collecting information for use in the candidate evaluation process, such as contacting your personal references, conducting background checks, administering tests, and so on, the face-to-face interview remains the employer's single most important source of information about you.
In every interview, the company is evaluating whether you have the "right stuff." Do you have what it takes to work effectively in their organization? Oftentimes, that means more than whether you have the specific skills to perform the tasks listed on the job description. Having the "right stuff" can include:
Many times, you will go into the interview without knowing what "intangible attributes" the employer values. You will be responding to questions without knowing what response the interviewer considers the "correct" answer. For example: The interviewer says, "Would you rather work on individual projects, or as a member of a team?" Is the "right" answer individual projects, because the interviewer is looking for people who can work independently and without close supervision? Or team projects, because the interviewer is looking for people who work well with others?
In interview situations, the "correct" answer is always the truthful answer. Don't waste your time trying to second-guess the interviewer. It rarely works. And if it does work, it may result in your receiving a job offer for a position you won't be happy in (because you don't really possess the attributes required to be successful).
Your role, as the interviewee, should be twofold. First, to present the most descriptive self-portrait possible during the initial interview. Second, to collect information you need to decide if this is a position you really want. To accomplish these dual objectives, you need to be prepared. What follows are some general "do's and don'ts" to help you not only get prepared, but to also land the job and career you want.
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