You decide that you want a job. You send in your brilliant (and mostly accurate) résumé, ask for an outrageous salary (with full benefits, perks, and a generous signing bonus), and get a letter one week later saying that you're hired.

Congratulations! You are officially living in Fantasyland. Today, a résumé only functions as a entrance test to snag an interview. It's during the interview where a company decides if it wants to hire you.

We'll be even more direct: the job interview is the single most important part of getting a job. It's your chance to show your future bosses that you are smart, funny, quick on your toes, able to communicate, and relatively unlikely to go postal. Because of the importance of the job interview, you might be worried about cracking under the pressure. That is a concern… for the people that didn't read this SYW; once you've absorbed our sage advice, you'll up your chances of getting hired. Then you'll be stealing office supplies in no time.

Before we proceed, we should make an important disclaimer: every job has different required elements for the interview. For instance, prospective consultants have a particular interview regiment unique to that industry. Our tips, however, will consist of the stuff that can apply to virtually any interview.


Before you show up on the steps of your future employer's business place, you must recognize an important element of a job interview: the wooing. You must impress the interviewer with your knowledge about the company and the industry. After all, they'll have loads of information about you, so don't you think you should even the score?

Gather as much information on the company as you can

First and foremost, check out the company's website. This will give you a good overview of the company's philosophy, earning power and the big guys/gals around the office. While you're online, take a little time to search a few major newspaper sites (such as the New York Times) to see how the company is faring in the media. Jot down some stand-out points about the company from both their website and these articles. Another fine website to pull up is The Vault. This insider site was created specifically for job applicants to learn the "insider" knowledge about companies and industries. It may give you some tips that'll really impress your interviewer, such as changes in management or recent business deals. Write everything down.

However, you MUST be careful; if you are going to say something about what's happening in the company you are interviewing with, make sure you have it right. You will make yourself look like an idiot if you accidentally compliment the company's competitor.

Learn about the person interviewing you

As important as it is to know lots about the company, you also need to find information about the person who will be interviewing you; after all, the interviewer holds the key to the executive washroom or straight back to your parent's basement.

You don't have to know the interviewer's shoe size, but it's especially important to know:

  • The names and job titles of the people you will be speaking to.

  • How to spell and pronounce the interviewers' names. It's really impressive when you pronounce tough names correctly.

To find these names, positions, and pronunciations, ask the company's recruiter or ask whoever set up the interview. And if it's accessible, try to find out some personal information about your interviewer (though remember that most states have stalking laws). If you know that your interviewer played a sport that you play, then you'll have a conversation ice-breaker. To find such information, many company websites have biographical information about staff.

Compile your information

As good as your research is, it isn't going to do you much good unless you retain it. So take all of your notes and write them neatly on a piece of paper - this will be a great cheat-sheet for the morning of your interview. Look that the sheet the morning of the interview as you leave the house or as you sit, waiting to be interviewed. You'll feel confident that you can tell the interviewer a thing or two about his/her place of employment. And as you'll find out later, confidence is incredibly important.