How to Prepare for an Interview
Do you have a job interview on your schedule? Review this advice on how to prepare for an interview beforehand. That way, you can ace it and make a terrific impression on the interviewer.
Here are tips on analyzing the job and making sure the hiring manager knows why you’re a good match, researching the company, practice interviewing, what to wear and what to bring to the interview, how to impress during the interview, and how to follow up.
Analyze the Job
An important part of interview preparation is to take the time to analyze the job posting, or job description, if you have it. As you review the job post, consider what the company is seeking in a candidate.
Make a list of the skills, knowledge, and professional and personal qualities that are required by the employer and are critical for success in the job.
Make a Match
When you have created a list of the qualifications for the job, make a list of your assets and match them to the job requirements.
Create a list of up to 10 assets, including skills, certifications, experiences, professional qualifications and abilities, computer skills, and knowledge bases and have it at the ready to share with the interviewer. Be sure your assets correlate directly with the skills and abilities required by the company.
Review your list, and the job requirements, prior to the interview so you’re prepared to share them during the interview.
This preparation will help you be ready to answer job-specific interview questions designed to determine if you have the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job.
Research the Company
Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the company. Company research is a critical part of interview preparation. It will help you prepare to both answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions. You will also be able to find out whether the company and the company culture are a good fit for you.
Take some time, in advance, to discover as much information as you can about the company. Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see if you know someone who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates.
Here’s more advice on how to research a company.
Taking the time to practice answering the interview questions you will probably be asked during a job interview will help give you a framework for your responses and will also help calm your nerves, because you won’t be scrambling for an answer while you’re in the interview hot seat.
Practice interviewing with a friend or family member ahead of time and it will be much easier when you’re actually in a job interview.
Review common job interview question and answers and think about how you will respond so you are prepared to answer.
Get Your Interview Clothes Ready
Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your interview clothes are ready. Have an interview outfit ready to wear at all times, so you don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear while you’re scrambling to get ready for a job interview.
Regardless of the type of job you’re interviewing for, that first impression should be a great one. When dressing for an interview for a professional position, dress accordingly in business attire.
If you’re applying for a job in a more casual environment, a store or restaurant, for example, it’s still important to be neat, tidy, and well-groomed, and to present a positive image to the employer.
Here’s more on what to wear to an interview.
Decide What to Do With Your Hair
How you style your hair for a job interview is almost as important as the interview clothes you wear. After all, the interviewer is going to notice everything about you—including your interview attire, hairstyle and makeup—and you only have seconds to make a great impression.
Review these hairstyles for short, medium and long hairstyles for inspiration for what to do with your hair when you’re interviewing.
What to Bring to a Job Interview
It’s also important what not to bring—your cellphone, a cup of coffee, gum, or anything else other than yourself and your credentials.
Here’s a list of what to bring to an interview to review.
Practice Interview Etiquette
Proper interview etiquette is important. Remember to greet the receptionist, your interviewer, and everyone else you meet politely, pleasantly, and enthusiastically.
During the interview watch your body language—shake hands firmly and make eye contact as you articulate your points.
Relax and lean forward a little towards the interviewer so you appear interested and engaged. Don’t lean back or slump in your chair. You will look too casual and relaxed. Keep your feet on the floor and your back against the lower back of the chair. Pay attention, be attentive and look interested.
The more positive an impression you make, the better you’ll do during the job interview. These job interview etiquette tips will help you make the best impression on the hiring manager.
It’s important to know where you need to go for your job interview—ahead of time. That way, you’ll avoid running late to the interview. Use Google Maps or Mapquest to get directions if you’re not sure where you are going.
Program your GPS, if you have one, so you can find the best route to the company. Check on parking, if it’s an issue.
If you have the time, it’s a good idea to do a practice run a day or two before the interview. That way, you’ll be sure about where you going and how long it will take to get there. Give yourself a few extra minutes and arrive a little early at the interview.
Listen and Ask Questions
During a job interview, listening is just as important as answering questions. If you’re not paying attention, you’re not going to be able to give a good response.
It’s important to listen to the interviewer, to pay attention, and to take time, if you need it, to compose an appropriate answer.
Also, be ready to engage the interviewer. You want there to be a give and take type of conversation, so you’re building a relationship with the interviewer rather than just providing rote responses to questions. Have questionsof your own ready to ask the interviewer.
Towards the end of the interview let the recruiter know that you believe the job is an excellent fit and that you are highly interested.
Follow Up With a Thank You Note
Follow up a job interview with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the job.
Consider your thank you letter a follow-up “sales” letters. Restate why you want the job, what your qualifications are, how you might make significant contributions, and so on.
This thank you letter is also the perfect opportunity to discuss anything of importance that your interviewer neglected to ask or that you neglected to answer as thoroughly, or as well, as you would have liked.