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Too many job applicants turn up ill-prepared for their selection interview.

They arrive at the job interview knowing very little about the organization, the section or unit involved or the nature of the advertised position.

It is very difficult to convince a selection panel that you are really interested in an advertised job if you demonstrably know nothing about it!

It is even harder to convince the selection panel that you are the best person for the job where the advertised job involves some element of research, e.g. an IT position, policy work or investigation-type role.  Your lack of preparation works against you from the start as you have just shown a failure to demonstrate your research capability.

What you have to keep in mind is that the nature of your preparation (which will come through on interview), says a lot more about you than the words you have written in the job application.

So what can you do to prepare for the job interview?

Here’s four suggestions:

1.  Read the material provided as part of the recruitment package.  This will often involve information about the organizational structure, the nature of the unit, role description, and the history of the unit.  This information is provided for a reason – it is designed to orientate you to the advertised role.

2.  Check out the organization’s website.  Get a feel for the organization, the work they do and where the advertised role fits in.  Do a search on Google for information about the organization and some of the key tasks, concepts or roles to get further background or history.  This will often show up press releases so you will find out about what is deemed “newsworthy” about the organization (…and learn something about the organization’s political issues).

3.  Talk to someone you know who has worked in the organization.  In this conversation about the job and the organization, get a feel for the organizational culture – the aspects that are valued and rewarded by the organization (e.g. punctuality, transparency, confidentiality, customer service or innovation).

4.  Research the company and key personnel at LinkedIn – the world’s largest, global professional network.  (Note: your target organization will probably research YOU on this site as well as on Google!)

If you really want to win the job, make sure you prepare very well for your job interview.  Your preparation reflects your attitude to the job, so be prepared!

Photo Credit:  James Cridland

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