If someone asked what you wanted out of a job, what would you say? Do you know what’s really important to you, and where you want to go in your career? To answer that question, you need to take a look at makes you tick, what makes you happy and what makes you feel fulfilled.

You need to go into the interview having thought about your likes, dislikes, interests, abilities and skills. What are your personal values – do you work better as a team, or on your own? The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to find the right career match.

When you’re interviewing for a job, you are being interviewed, but you’re also trying on the company to make sure it’s a good fit. The more you know about the company, the more (or less) commonalities you will find with a potential employer. Here are some things to consider before your interview:

1. Compare the company with what you want. What’s the culture like? What are their ideologies and values, and how do they compare to what’s important to you? Values are different for everyone, and understanding your values will help you make the right move or correct decision that is best for you.  

2. Find commonalities. Look for similarities in how you do things, and the company’s choices and values to see if they match up with yours. This starts with knowing yourself. Can you list the top 10 skills that best describe you? Are you accomplished, efficient, adaptable, ambitious, practical, curious, competitive… all of these are great qualities to bring to a new job. Take the time to really think about what sets you apart, and be able to give examples to back it up.

3. Be prepared. The more you know about a company’s background and culture, the better prepared you will be with quality questions and answers. Be prepared to explain where you can intertwine your values and theirs, and why they are company of choice for you. What are some of the company’s accomplishments that support what you’re looking for, and your value system?

4. What are you passionate about? Have a list of your accomplishments written down or committed to memory, and make sure those align to who you are. The interviewer needs to know that you didn’t just accomplish something, but that you loved doing it. Be clear about what you like, and what drives you, and how those things will help you be successful. If you’re not sure where to start, try taking a personality assessment. There are many options available online that will help you get to know yourself and identify your skills. Check with your career center if you need guidance or advice.

5. What are your must-haves versus nice-to-haves? Finally, be sure to note the little (and not so little) items that are nice to have, and those bigger items that could be a deal breakers when job searching. That could range from a long commute to a flexible work schedule. Here’s a quick list of items to consider.