interviews require careful and thorough preparation on your
part. Knowing what to expect, the kinds of questions you may
be asked and how to respond, gives you greater self-confidence
and increases the chance that your interview will be successful.
Preparation should cover three areas: knowledge about yourself,
knowledge about the organization, and preparation directly
prior to the interview.
You need to know as much as possible about your education,
experience, skills, and personal qualities to communicate
a positive self image, allow the employer to conclude you
are the best person for the job, and be able to determine
if the position is one where you can be productive and successful.
A thorough self-assessment should enable you to:
your educational experiences
what your skills and abilities are and how they relate to
the position you are interviewing for
where you developed or used a particular skill
your personal strengths and weaknesses
your work and extra-curricular experiences in detail
your career goals and objectives
where you want to work and what types of positions interest
what your preferred starting salary is
what variables you are willing to negotiate (i.e. salary
for geographical location)
any problem areas in your background (i.e. poor grades)
and be prepared to address them and offer a strong case
for them in the interview
Employers view candidates as being unprepared when they know
little to nothing about the organization. The more information
you have about a prospective employer, the better able you
will be to ask meaningful questions of the employer. This
will impress employers by showing them you are a conscientious,
hard-working candidate who is interested in their organization.
Thorough preparation will also give you an idea of the qualities
and skills employers are looking for and will help you to
anticipate the kinds of questions you might be asked. The
kinds of information you should look for include:
of organization and its function
people in the organization
location, departments and divisions
and goals; history
description and career paths
policies and benefits
trends in the field
news reports on the company or on local or national news
that affects the company
JMU Libraries subscribes to several databases that provide information for job seekers conducting company research on prospective employers. These databases are free to all JMU students.
One of the databases, Business Source Premier, provides access to detailed company profiles, market research reports, industry reports, company profiles, and SWOT analyses. The SWOT analysis is extremely helpful and contains up-to-date information on a company’s s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Other helpful databases include:
- Associations Unlimited
- Business Company and Resource Center
- Hoovers Online Pro
- Reference USA
Please check out our "Researching Companies on JMU Libraries Website handout" for instructions and illustrations on how to look up company profiles. (Handout is a .pdf file)
following sources of information can assist you with your
research. Be sure to check the reference section of university
and public libraries, which contain a variety of professional
- Career & Academic Planning Resource Center
Job Choices (available in Career and Academic Planning)
of Commerce publications
periodicals and directories
employees of the organization
reports, recruiting literature, etc.
certain of the time and location of your interview.
how to get to the organization. It helps to drive to the
site prior to the interview.
early and be prepared to stay late.
the name of the interviewer(s), his or her job title and
role in the organization.
appropriate materials with you (copies of your resume, a
job application, names of references, samples of your work,
pen and notepad).