When hiring for a job, it is the interview that is the most important element in the process for companies. But all too often job candidates do little, if any, preparation for the interview which, given its significance, is a serious mistake.

Personnel is the biggest expense for employers, so in hiring a new person, a company really wants to make the right decision, because a wrong one will be a great cost in time and resources. It is during the interview that the company tries to determine if a candidate’s skills and experience are a good fit.

Here are some ideas to help with the interview.

The first thing is to understand why you are there – what this process is about. It is first and foremost for you, to sell yourself, to put on, in effect, an advertising campaign for your abilities. The other purpose is for you to find out about the company and the position, to learn exactly what it is you will be doing and if it is right for you.

You are not just answering questions, but doing so with a purpose – to address the needs of the company. You and the interviewer are doing the same thing – gathering information, selling something and trying to determine if you and the company are a good fit.

Before the interview, take the time to come up with three to five achievements or skills that will be your main pitching points. Think about the times where you showed your enterprise and leadership, where you overcame challenges or solved a problem. When the interview wanders away from your talking points, see if you can steer it back again.

In the interview, try to adapt your communication style to that of the interviewer, to let him or her know you are comfortable. If the interview is very formal, you should follow suit; if more casual or lighthearted, follow the interviewer’s lead there as well. This helps to build up trust during the interview.

You can make the interview more relaxed and conversational by asking questions yourself. This will also show your preparedness and interest. You should come prepared with questions to ask.

There also are a few standard questions that almost always pop up in every interview, and so you should be prepared for them and have a good answer ready. Some of these questions include: tell me about yourself, where do you see yourself in five years, describe your strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, practice your answers, so that when you respond you can do so in a relaxed and confident manner.

Come to New York City’s premier staffing service, Winston Resources, for the chance to interview with some of Manhattan’s best companies for long- and short-term temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you!

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