Congratulations! Your resume and cover letter stood out enough to help you land an interview, now it’s time for interview prep. Job interview preparation is often overlooked, but necessary part of landing a job. Many people feel like they’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle by landing the interview. Some think their personality and people skills are strong enough to help them get the job. But, whatever the reason, many people fail to prepare for an interview properly.
Interview prep is about more than looking up “common interview questions” and reviewing the “about us” page on the company website. Your interview is your first, and maybe only, chance to make a great impression. You need to show the hiring manager that you’re a perfect fit for the position.
If you want to know how to prepare for a job interview, here are six tips that will help you make a lasting impression and have a better chance at landing the job.
1. Review the job description
Obviously, you already reviewed the job description and applied, otherwise you wouldn’t be preparing for an interview. But, it’s a good idea to review it again. Make a list of all the important qualifications for success in the role that are listed. Then make a list of your own, personal qualifications and skills and how these make you a good fit. Think of examples that will showcase how you’ve used these skills in the past, and how you might use them in the future.
Making these lists will help you feel more confident as you go into the interview, and it will probably help you provide better answers to questions because you’ll be ready with good examples.
2. Get to know the company
Getting to know the company is a VERY important step in the interview prep process. Company research will prepare you to answer as well as ask intelligent questions about the company. It will also help you learn if this is a place you want to work. Remember that you are making a decision about the company the same way they are about you. You want to find out as much as you can to ensure that it’s a good fit.
You’ll want to check out the company’s website and social media pages, but you should also dive deeper. Read press releases and news articles about the company and its competition, research sites like Glassdoor.com, and find out what others are saying about the company. It’s also a good idea to find out the names of people you’ll be interviewing with so you can learn more about them and ask specific questions, which are sure to impress.
3. Prepare answers to common interview questions
Even if you feel confident about your skills and ability to express yourself well, it’s still a good idea to prepare answers to common interview questions. One of the first things a hiring manager will often ask is that you “tell me a little about yourself.” You want to nail it with a concise answer that showcases you’re a perfect fit for the role. Preparing answers to common interview questions will help to calm your nerves and reassure that you won’t be scrambling for answers under pressure.
4. Plan what you’ll wear and bring to your job interview
Different positions will require different job interview attire, but regardless of the job, you want your clothes to be clean and free of wrinkles. You want to be well groomed with a neat, tidy appearance. This means no chipped nail polish, scuffed shoes, or uncombed hair. Feeling good about your appearance makes you more confident. You want to plan your outfit carefully, so you won’t be working on throwing something together the morning of your interview adding extra pressure to an already stressful situation.
It’s also important to plan what you’ll bring to the interview including extra copies of your resume, a list of references, your list of questions, and something to write with so you can take notes. Clean out your purse or bag, and bring only the essentials. You don’t want to seem disorganized by digging around for things you need. Finally, remember to turn off your cell phone and spit out your gum.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Ask a friend to help you practice for your interview. Practice answering some of the questions you’re likely to be asked as well as the type of interview you’ll be facing. If you’re going to have a phone or video interview, have a friend connect with you that way. If you have a panel interview, ask a few friends to sit down with you and fire off questions. Make sure you ask friends who will provide you with honest feedback and way to improve.
You’ll also want to practice good manners during your interview. Say hello and make conversation with the receptionist, greet your interviewer warmly, make eye contact as you speak, and listen when others are speaking so you can respond appropriately.
6. Get directions and plan to arrive early
You definitely don’t want to make a bad first impression by showing up late for your interview. Use a map tool to find out exactly where you’ll be going and program your GPS to find the best route. Check out parking to make sure that won’t be an issue. If possible, it’s a good idea to do a trial run and find out how long it will take you to get to the interview. Make sure to give yourself enough time, and plan to arrive early. This way, you’ll have a little wiggle room in case the unexpected happens.
Putting in extra time to prepare for your job interview will give you the confidence you need to make a great first impression. Following these interview prep tips will help you better answer questions you might be asked, understand the company you’ll be working with, look great for your interview, and arrive confident and ready to impress.
If you’re thinking about a new career, taking a six-week job search training course will prepare you for everything the job hunt throws at you, especially the interview!