A job interview is the final step before getting the job. It’s the most critical step because if the candidate does not convince the decision maker of being the ideal candidate, the job goes to someone else. Preparing for the interview is not to be taken lightly. To win this tough competition, one needs to invest time and effort, must feel commitment, and must persevere. Following are a few practical steps.

The single most important thing to do during interview preparation is to hold live mock interviews with someone experienced and competent in this area.

  • Practice the 20 most common interview questions again and again until you feel confident.
  • Focus on learning about the prospective employer’s problems and immediate needs.
  • Prepare for reciting fact-based success stories from your past that are relevant to what you’ve learned about the hirer’s needs.
  • Practice, practice, and practice some more. You’ll be happy you did!

Learn as much as you can about the company.

  • Begin with the company’s Web site, and look at every page. Drill down into details to mine specifics you could talk about with the interviewer.
  • Find out who are the people you’ll interview with, and evaluate their LinkedIn profiles.
  • Check out who they’re connected with on LinkedIn.
  • Attempt sleuthing into the company via these connections to find out about the company’s culture and, possibly, specifics about the position.
  • Find out what your interviewers are tweeting about. This might be challenging because people sometimes use pseudonyms. Use for your research.
  • Do searches on YouTube and Vimeo. Don’t underestimate what you can find out in these hidden places.
  • Look for and review blogs posted by your contacts at the company.
  • Use free tools to gain additional knowledge—for example, and
  • Do Google searches on both the interviewers and the firm. Go through several pages of the results.

Answer the following questions.

  • Do you fit into the organization?
  • Do you have the skills, education, and experience required?
  • Do you possess experiences and skills to offer in support of the company’s mission statement?
  • Can you recite via a vignette or two some past experiences that would serve as a natural evolution into company growth?

Engage with the interviewer via questions that prove your value.

  • Ask questions you already know the answers to.
  • Show the interviewer that you’re very familiar with the industry and the company’s competition.

Preparing for a winning interview is hard work and takes many hours, if not days. By doing such preparation, one gains not only specific knowledge but also a lot of confidence.