Gain a greater advantage to accessing freedom through competitive employment by remembering the 9 steps to a successful interview.

Today, my focus area is on competitive employment of people with disabilities in the U.S. and in Canada. I actually began my career in 1979 in the executive search industry and quickly learned that most people overlook some of the key aspects of gaining employment.  One of the basic and most important aspects of getting a job is being prepared for the interview.  Here are nine tips to being prepared to get the job!

1. Research the Company 

One of the first questions asked on an interview is "What do you know about our company or agency?"  Not being able to effectively answer this question demonstrates a lack of initiative.  Initiative is one of the key attributes employers are seeking. If you did not even take time to research the company, why would they hire you?

2. Obtain Logistical Information


Get the names, titles, and contact information of the interviewer(s). If you have an emergency occur, you will need the numbers and e-mail addresses. Also, know they will ask you at the security desk for the name and number of your contact. Make sure you get the correct spelling of the names ahead of time.

On-Site Interviews

Be sure to get the full address of the company or agency you are interviewing with that day. If possible, travel to the location of the interview the day before to find the best route and see how long it will take.  If required, make sure you discuss accessibility and any needed interview accommodations, prior to the interview.

Phone Interviews

If your interview is by telephone, you should select a place where you will have complete silence without any background noise.  If you are using a cell phone, make sure it is charged.  Also, do not conduct your interview while driving or riding in a car; you can easily lose access.  I would suggest a “land-line” phone if you have one.

3.  Develop a “Plan B”

Have a back-up plan.  If possible, have another person ready and available if your first mode of transportation fails.  If you are a person with a disability who uses para-transit, make sure to confirm your reservation and find out the earliest you can use the services. If all else fails, have money for a cab.  The money spent will be well worth it if you gain employment.

4. Dress to Impress

The night before the interview, select the clothes you plan to wear to the interview. Make sure they are pressed and shoes are shined.  For men and women, you should wear a suit to the interview. Only if it is a very casual work environment should you consider wearing business casual attire. Do not wear t-shirts, hoodies or pull-over sweat shirts to the interview…no tennis shoes.  Women…do not wear anything revealing or too short.

5. Come Prepared with Your Resume and References

You should take a copy of your resume and references with you to the interview, even if you already provided it.  Make sure you ask permission before using someone as a reference

6. Sell Yourself

The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself, so prepare by knowing what you will say. Communicate your strengths and skills.  There are many websites and books on interviewing. Also, refer to my blog for future posts of interviewing questions and how to answer them.    

7.  Ask Questions

Generate some questions ahead of time to ask during the interview when prompted.  Typically, it is appropriate to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions, unless the interviewer asks if you have questions during the actual interview.

8.  Rehearse

Get a friend or family member to ask you about the company, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and why they should hire you.  By the time you are done, this interview will be a breeze!

9.  Follow up with a thank you note or email

Always send a professional thank you note or email as a follow up to the interview.  Make sure to proofread for spelling or grammatical errors.  You want to thank the interviewer for his/her time and indicate your interest in the position.  This makes you stand out among other applicants.

Now…get that job!



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