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Tools to prepare for your next interview

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Getting ready for a job interview? You don't have to rely on your wits and cunning alone; technology is here to make the ordeal a little less grueling. I've rounded up a handful of apps and Web sites you can use to brush up on your interviewing skills. And if you are a hiring manager preparing to conduct interviews over the phone, I've got something for you here as well.

Get interview advice online. I don't often find myself at, but that's a mistake: Each section of the site is curated by a human being who keeps it up to date and full of valuable information. The Job Searching section is no exception, and you'll find details on how to conduct yourself on a phone interview, how to dress for success, avoiding mistakes on the day of the interview, and more.

Improve your speaking skills. Your verbal skills are the most important tool at your disposal when being interviewed, so it pays to be a great speaker. Sure, you could join an organization like Toastmasters to hone your speaking skills, but there are easy things you can do without leaving home as well. Check out SayHired, where you can practice your phone interview skills with a real phone call, for free.

Get help with job interview questions. Job Internet Questions is a site dedicated to interview advice. You'll also find some unusual topics here, such as how to conduct yourself during a lunch interview (something which I always find uniquely problematic both as the interviewer and interviewee).

Get advice on your phone. There is no shortage of mobile apps that you can use to coach yourself for your next job interview. Consider Interview Questions Pro, for example, a 99 cent app that works on both the iPhone and iPad. It is chock full of advice on how to think about common interview questions, what kinds of questions you can ask the interviewer, plus tips for how to behave at the interview. Likewise, InterviewWow costs 99 cents and comes packed with with articles, checklists, and video to help you weather an interview. The app begins with a checklist you can use to prepare for the interview, starting at about 72 hours prior (research the company and choose your clothes), and terminates with several day-of recommendations, such as smart choices for what to eat and drink before the interview (avoid things which could stain your clothes at the last minute) and a reminder to be polite to the receptionist, who might well be polled as a part of your interview.

Record and transcribe your interview. Are you a hiring manager prepping for a phone interview? Then check out TheInterviewer, which lets you schedule calls, organize your notes, and even record the call for review or speech-to-text translation later. To use the service, grab an account and schedule a call. You can type free-form notes on the page and upload documents you might want to refer to during the call. At the appointed time, visit TheInterviewer and click the link to start your call. The site calls the other party, asks him or her to wait, and then calls you. Then, with no further ado, you're connected and can start your conversation, with full access to any notes and attachments you set up earlier. The entire call is recorded. When the call is over, the interview entry at TheInterviewer gives you consolidated access to your notes, the details of the call, and the audio which you can play back right from the page. It's also a snap to download the audio to your PC as an MP3.

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