Newly dry-cleaned suit? Check. Professional resume printed on ivory-colored heavy paper? Check. Black binder with notebook, additional copies of resume, and letters of recommendation? Check. Interview questions and answers? CHECK.
No, this last piece of information is not acquired by using covert operations to infiltrate the company and sneak confidential files out of heavily guarded safes. It is perfectly legal, and extremely easy, to find possible interview questions and tips on how to answer them. You would never appear as a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and have nothing prepared to say, no anecdotes or clever quips, so why would you go to a job interview without an idea of what might be asked of you or how to answer potentially problematic questions? As the Boy Scouts of America like to say, "Be Prepared!" There are several ways to find typical interview questions and get advice on how they should be answered. I'll show you where to go, what you'll find, and which web sites and books can offer you the most when your career's on the line.
The easiest place to find a plethora of information in the category of job searching is, of course, the Internet. The easiest place to find a plethora of ridiculous web sites that lead you around in circles, ask you to send money, or simply don't give you reliable answers to any of your questions is again, the Internet. It's a dog-eat-cyber-dog world out there, and the one thing to remember is that you should never have to pay for any information you could get at your local library for free. Here are several web sites that offer excellent career advice, and have lists of commonly-asked interview questions with tips on answering them. All this for FREE:
- HotJobs Several articles on answering interview questions, what to ask the interviewer, and do's and dont's of interviewing are offered in Hot Jobs' "Career Tools" section. This site also shares tips on handling illegal interview questions and ways to avoid interview stress.
- InterviewResource This web page is exactly what it sounds like; a resource for everything interview-related. The articles here deal with interview preparation, interview etiquette, and sample interview questions. Although some of the articles are rather short and less detailed than they could be, good information can still be had.
- GeekInterview For those tech-minded individuals seeking employment in fields like Accounts Payable, Data Warehousing, or Oracle Apps, this web site offers a network of technical interview questions and users' comments on how to answer them. The information is clear and concise, and separated into tons of different specific categories in order to find just the answer you're looking for.
- Monster.com More than just a site for posting resumes and searching for employment, Monster.com also showcases a wealth of knowledge when it comes to interview preparation. The Interview Center is a great resource for advice with networking and job fairs, and features sections with guidance geared toward specific occupations. The most impressive slice of this website pie, however, is a page called the "Random Question Generator." Simply put, this element allows the user to go through a virtual interview, and displays the most commonly asked questions from its interview vault that the user can practice answering. This provides an excellent tool for helping a person prepare for any type of interview, and the question selection is seemingly endless.
- Lastly, at your local library there are hundreds of career-oriented books with much of the same information found on the Web. Titles like Nail the Job Interview! 101 Dynamite Answers to Interview Questions by Caryl and Ron Krannich and Top Answers to Job Interview Questions by Donald K. Burleson are good supplemental reads. Both works offer sample questions and detailed answers, making them easily usable if your access to the Internet is limited.
You only get out of life what you put into it, so take the time to prepare adequately for your big interview and ensure that you will get the most out of it. Whether you are exploring a career change, are interested in a summer job after graduation, or are looking to score the next big promotion at your office, practice, practice, practice! Rehearse your answers until you have them down like a pro, and you'll impress by responding quickly and eloquently.