How To Prepare for an Job Interview ?
Preparing for an interview primarily means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the position and employer. To accomplish this, you should perform research on the company and carefully review the job description to understand why you would be a good fit. Let’s look at the steps to preparing for an interview.
1. Carefully examine the job description
During your prep work, you should use the employer’s posted job description as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities, and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give you ideas about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.
2. Consider why you are interviewing and your qualifications
Before your interview, you should have a good understanding of why you want the job and why you’re qualified. You should be prepared to explain your interest in the opportunity and why you’re the best person for the role.
3. Perform research on the company and role
Researching the company you’re applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, but it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.
4. Consider your answers to common interview questions
While you won’t be able to predict every question you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do, and what you want.
There are some jobs that may involve a test or evaluation during the interview process. For example, if you are interviewing for a computer programming, development, or analytics role, you might also be asked to write or evaluate lines of code. It might be helpful to consult with colleagues in the industry for examples of tests they’ve been given to prepare.
5. Practice your speaking voice and body language
It’s important to make a positive and lasting impression during the interview process. You can do this by practicing a confident, strong speaking voice and friendly, open body language. While these might come naturally to you, you might also want to spend time performing them with trusted friends or family or in front of a mirror. Pay special attention to your smile, handshake, and stride.
6. Prepare several thoughtful questions for the interviewer(s)
Many employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position. You should take time before the interview to prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that show you’ve researched the company and are well-versed in the position. Some examples of questions you could ask include:
What does a typical day look like for a person in this position?
Why do you enjoy working here?
What qualities do your most successful employees have?
I’ve really enjoyed learning more about this opportunity. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
7. Conduct mock interviews
Just like public speaking, practicing interviews is the best way to relieve anxiety and improve your confidence. The practice may feel tedious, but repeatedly experiencing the interview process will make you more comfortable and help you give the right impression.
If you have friends or family to help, conduct mock interviews as much as you can. If you don’t have another person, practice your questions and answers out loud. You may find that an answer sounds awkward or doesn’t convey what you wish when it’s spoken, so this gives you an opportunity to refine your answers and commit them to memory. The more you repeat your interview, the more confident you’ll be during the real thing.
8. Print hard copies of your resume
Most employers ask for digital copies of your resume with the application, but they may not have easy access to it during the interview itself. Having copies to present to multiple interviewers shows that you’re prepared and organized. You should have at least three copies to provide for multiple interviewers, plus one for yourself to follow along.
During your preparation, read over your resume and rehearse explanations for any gaps that may appear or other oddities. For example, you may have taken time off work to care for a child or family member, switched careers, or had other legitimate reasons for employment gaps. These can be a concern for employers, so it’s best to prepare your explanation to show them that you’re not a risk.
You may also encounter questions about your resume that are awkward. It’s important to be honest but diplomatic in addressing them. For example, you may have left a job because of your supervisor or manager, or policies that you didn’t agree with, but you don’t want to speak negatively about a former employer. Consider these possible questions and prepare your answers in advance, so you don’t accidentally say something you’ll regret.
Like the rest of the interview, it’s best to prepare for these questions by writing notes and rehearsing your answers out loud multiple times prior to the interview.
9. Prepare your travel arrangements
Job interviews tend to be stressful for most people for many reasons, but getting to the interview can be a challenge in itself. If your interview is an unfamiliar area or even an entirely new city, it can be a source of anxiety to find your way around and make sure that you show up on time.
10. Sell yourself
One of the biggest challenges in an interview is selling yourself. Most people are uncomfortable with this idea, but presenting yourself accurately and positively doesn’t have to feel like a sale. The truth is that you do have professional skills and experiences that may set you apart from other applicants, so it’s acceptable and expected for you to acknowledge them to your potential employer.
When you prepare for a job interview, make note of your skills that relate to the role and think of how your experiences and abilities can contribute to the overall goals of the department and company. Your answers will be somewhat short, so you want to choose the most positive and relevant information to share during the interview.
If you have metrics or stats to show your accomplishments or growth during your previous roles, they’re a great help in selling yourself during the interview. For example, you may have increased sales by a certain percentage or increased social media engagement in your last position.
Whatever accomplishments you have, don’t be modest about sharing them during your interview. Your potential employer wants to know that you’ll be the right fit and that you can deliver something to the company, so they need to know all the reasons that you can provide that for them.