Preparing for an Interview (13 Top Ways to Get Prepped)
Preparing for an interview? Is there a job interview on the horizon for you? Preparing for an interview ahead of time will help you ace the interview and land a job offer. There are a few things you can do before (and after) the interview to make a great first impression on your future employer.
Preparing for a job interview is the best way to close your job search and/or get the next job interview. Below are interview preparation tips to land your next dream job.
How to prepare for an interview
Preparing for an interview entails thinking about your objectives and qualifications in relation to the role and company. To do so, you should do some research on the company and read the job description thoroughly to see why you would be a good fit. Let's take a look at how to prepare for an interview.
1. Examine the job description thoroughly
You should utilize the employer's stated job description as a guide throughout your preparation. The job description is a list of the credentials, characteristics, and experience that the company seeks in an applicant. The more you can match yourself with these facts, the more qualified you will appear to the employer. The job description can also provide you with ideas for questions to ask the company during the interview.
2. Think about why you're interviewing and what credentials you have.
You should have a clear idea of why you want the job and why you're qualified before the interview. You should be ready to explain why you're interested in the position and why you're the ideal candidate for it.
Related: Professional Interview Tips
3. Research the company and its function.
Researching the company you're applying to is a crucial component of interview preparation. It will not only help you prepare meaningful questions for your interviewers, but it will also help you offer context for your interview talks.
You'll have an advantage over the competition if you do as much research as possible about the company and position. Furthermore, properly preparing for an interview can assist you in being cool and performing at your best. Before you go into your interview, there are a few things you should know:
To learn more about a product or service, do the following:
Even if the position has nothing to do with the company's product or service, you still want to be a part of the team. It's critical to understand everything you can about the company's product or service before applying. You don't need to know every detail, especially if the product is technical and you're interviewing for a non-technical role, but you should have a fundamental grasp of the company's major goods or services.
Request a sample of the product if feasible to acquaint yourself with the customer's viewpoint. The more you can inform them about the product from both a corporate and a consumer perspective, the better your interview will go.
Investigate the role.
It's critical to read the job description thoroughly and ensure that you comprehend all of the criteria and duties. This will not only prepare you for the interview by allowing you to ask meaningful, focused questions about the position, but it will also guarantee that you are genuinely qualified and prepared to take on the duties if you are hired.
If feasible, look for comparable jobs and read evaluations from people who have held them to get a sense of what the job entails on a day-to-day basis. Ask for clarification or specifics about the role during the interview so you'll be prepared if you get a job offer. Preparing for an interview by researching the role can also assist you in determining whether or not the position is a good fit for you.
Examine the company's culture.
Modern businesses typically have social media profiles and blogs where they discuss their culture and industry. This information can help you get a sense of the company's tone and personality, as well as what they value. It's critical that you fit into the corporate culture and have comparable personality and beliefs, no matter how fantastic a job appears to be.
Ask questions during the interview if you have any regarding the working environment, culture, personality, or values. These inquiries might vary from the company's software and tools to its vacation and sick leave policies. Remember that the interview is about you finding a good match for your personal work environment as much as it is about the company finding a good fit for the position. A pleasant professional existence is ensured when your values coincide with those of the company. This is also a great time to learn more about the company and demonstrate to the interviewer how you'll fit in.
4. Think about how you responded to frequent interview questions.
While you won't be able to anticipate every question you'll be asked during an interview, you can prepare responses for a few popular ones. Consider creating an elevator pitch that briefly summarizes who you are, what you do, and what you desire.
Some occupations can need a test or evaluation as part of the interview process. If you're interviewing for a position in computer programming, development, or analytics, you could be asked to write or evaluate code lines. It's a good idea to ask peers in the business for instances of examinations they've had to prepare for.
Just in case, you should also be prepared to address your pay expectations.
Here are some popular interview topics to consider:
Learning about the company's goods, services, mission, history, and culture is the best approach to prepare for this question. Mention the features of the company that appeal to you and fit with your professional aspirations in your response.
“I'd want to work for a company that is making a difference,” for example. Throughout my job hunt, I've prioritized finding a business with a pleasant work atmosphere and values that fit with my own, and this organization is at the top of the list.”
What about this role appeals to you?
Employers ask this question to ensure that you understand the position and to allow you to emphasize your relevant abilities. Comparing the job criteria to your abilities and expertise might be beneficial. Choose a few areas you like or excel in, and concentrate on them in your response.
“For the most of my professional career, I've been passionate about user experience design. Because I'm familiar with the full Adobe suite, I was ecstatic to learn that this company employs them. Also, I'm a big proponent of using agile workflows in design. It is, in my opinion, the most efficient method of tackling huge tasks. In my prior job as Product Manager, I was able to effectively develop and deploy an agile methodology, and we witnessed significant gains in project speed.”
This question allows you to discuss both your technical and non-technical abilities. When an interviewer asks you to explain your strengths, talk about your personal characteristics and how they apply to the job you're looking for.
“I'm a natural problem-solver,” for example. It's satisfying for me to delve deep and discover solutions to problems—like it's completing a puzzle. It's something I've always been good at and like doing. Finding new answers to difficult problems is a big part of product development, which is why I chose this professional path in the first place.”
You should also prepare responses to behavioral interview questions in addition to these.
5. Practice your speaking voice and body language throughout the interview.
During the interview process, it's critical to establish a favorable and lasting impression. You can do this by speaking with a confident, loud voice and using pleasant, open body language. While these can come naturally to you, you should practice them with trusted friends or family members or in front of a mirror. Take extra care with your grin, handshake, and stride.
Practice interviewing at least two to three times before your actual interview.
6. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer(s)
Many companies have high regard for candidates who ask meaningful inquiries about the company and the job. Take some time before the interview to prepare a few questions for your interviewer(s) that demonstrate you've done your homework on the company and are knowledgeable about the role. Here are some examples of questions you might ask:
- What does a day in the life of someone in this job entail?
- Why do you like working here so much?
- What are the characteristics of your most successful employees?
- This opportunity has piqued my interest, and I've appreciated learning more about it. What are the phases in the recruiting process after that?
7. Practice using mock-interviews.
Interview preparation, like public speaking, is the most effective technique to reduce nervousness and boost confidence. Practice can seem boring at first, but going through the interview process several times can make you more comfortable and help you create the best impression possible.
If you can, do as many mock interviews as you can with the aid of friends or relatives. If you don't have a partner, practice your questions and responses aloud. When you speak, you can discover that an answer sounds odd or does not express what you want, so this offers you the chance to fine-tune your responses and commit them to memory. The more you practice your interview, the more confident you'll be when it comes time for the actual deal.
Answer interview questions as though this was a real part of the hiring process. In your next interview, your ability to answer tough questions, like those about salary expectations (or any other type of salary question), will be easier.
8. Make a physical copy of your resume.
Although most companies want digital copies of your resume along with your application, they can not have easy access to it during the interview.
10. Anticipate their concerns.
There are usually more applicants for vacant opportunities than there are available vacancies. As a result, interviewers search for ways to exclude candidates. Put yourself in their position and consider why they would be hesitant to recruit you (“I don't have this,” “I'm not that,” and so on). Then prepare your defense: "I understand you can believe I am not the ideal candidate for this post because of [their objection]." But you should be aware of [cause for the interviewer's lack of care]."
11. Be strong-willed and take charge of your interview.
Some normally outspoken candidates become extremely meek during job interviews, canbe in an effort to be courteous. However, civility does not imply passivity. An interview is similar to any other discussion in that it is a dance in which you and your partner move together while simultaneously reacting to each other. Don't make the mistake of merely waiting for the interviewer to bring up the Nobel Prize. It is your job to ensure that he understands your major selling points.
12. Research the hiring manager.
In advance of the interview, research the hiring manager you'll be speaking with. Learn their job title and prepare for what types of questions they could ask in the job interview. LinkedIn or the company about page can list current and former employees. Refer to the company website for further information about the professional you'll be speaking with.
13. Get directions in advance.
If you're having a face-to-face interview (rather than a video interview), it's crucial to know where you'll be going ahead of time. That way, you won't be late for the interview. If you're not sure where you're heading, use Google Maps or another comparable tool to acquire instructions.
If you have a GPS, program it to determine the quickest route to the company. If parking is likely to be a difficulty, double-check.
It's a good idea to perform a practice run a day or two before the interview if you have the time. You'll know exactly where you're heading and how long it'll take you to get there. Allow yourself a few additional minutes and come for the interview a bit early.
You could also want to double-check the interview time and location to be sure you're on the correct track.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
Job search resources
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