How to Prepare for an Interview (Steps to Take)
Here's how to prepare for an interview. While interview preparation can be overwhelming, there are numerous measures you can take to ensure a good video interview, pre-screen, or other. Follow these interview preparation tips to be the most prepared.
How to prepare for an interview in your job search
Preparing for an interview entails deliberating about your objectives and qualifications in relation to the role and company. To do so, conduct research on the company and thoroughly read the job description to see why you would be a good fit. Consider the stages involved in interview preparation.
1. Thoroughly review the job description
Throughout your preparation, you should refer to the employer's listed job description. The job description is a list of the credentials, characteristics, and history of the perfect applicant that the company is searching for. The more closely you can match yourself with these facts, the more readily the company will recognize your qualifications. Additionally, the job description can provide you with insight into the types of questions the company can ask during the interview.
2. Consider your reason for interviewing and your credentials
You should have a company grasp of why you desire the job and why you are qualified prior to the interview. You should be prepared to articulate why you're interested in the position and why you're the ideal candidate for it.
Related: Zoom interview
3. Conduct research about the organization and its function
Conducting research about the company to which you are applying is a critical component of interview preparation. Not only will this assist in providing context for your interview talks, but it will also assist you in formulating meaningful interview questions for your interviewers.
Conducting extensive research about the organization and position will offer you an edge over the competition. Additionally, thoroughly preparing for an interview can help you maintain your composure and perform at your best. Before you enter your interview, there are a few things you should know:
Conduct market research on the product or service:
Even if the position has nothing to do with the company's product or service, you're still wanting to join the team. It's critical to gain as much knowledge as possible about the product or service the company creates and advertises. You do not need to grasp every detail, especially if the product is technical and you are interviewing for a non-technical role, but you should have a general awareness of the company's primary goods or services.
Request a sample of the product if feasible to have a better understanding of the customer's perspective. The more information you can provide on the product from both a corporate and customer perspective, the more prepared you will be for your interview.
Investigate the role
It's critical to thoroughly study the job description and ensure that you grasp all of the criteria and duties associated with it. This will not only enable you to ask meaningful, focused questions about the role during the interview but will also guarantee that you are genuinely qualified and prepared to take on the duties if hired.
If feasible, conduct research on comparable occupations and read evaluations from persons who hold those roles to get a sense of the day-to-day responsibilities. During the interview, inquire about any clarifications or specifics regarding the role to ensure that you're prepared if you receive a job offer. Conducting research about the role before an interview can also assist you in determining whether or not the position is a good fit for you.
Conduct a cultural audit of the business
Nowadays, most businesses have social media profiles and blogs where they describe their corporate culture and industry. This information can help you get a sense of the company's tone and personality, as well as what they value. Regardless of how appealing a job appears to be, it is critical that you fit inside the corporate culture and have comparable personalities and values.
If you have any queries regarding the work environment, culture, personality, or values, make sure to bring them up during the interview. These inquiries might vary from the company's software and tools to its vacation and sick leave policies. Bear in mind 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. Knowing that your beliefs coincide with those of your employer contributes to a fulfilling working life. This is also an excellent time to learn more about the company and demonstrate your match to the interviewer.
4. Consider your responses to frequently asked interview questions
While you cannot anticipate every question that will be asked during an interview, there are a few frequent ones for which you should prepare responses. Additionally, you can choose to construct an elevator pitch that succinctly defines who you are, what you do, and what you desire.
Certain occupations can need a test or evaluation as part of the interview process. For instance, if you are interviewing for a position in computer programming, development, or analytics, you can be requested to create or evaluate lines of code as well. It can be beneficial to speak with peers in the sector for examples of tests for which they have been responsible.
Additionally, you should be prepared to explain your pay expectations. If you're unclear of the wage range that is right for the position for which you're applying, visit Indeed's Salary Calculator to receive a free, customized pay range based on your region, industry, and experience.
Related: Phone interview questions
The following are a few examples of frequently asked interview questions:
Why are you interested in working here?
The best approach to prepare for this question is to become familiar with the company's goods, services, mission, history, and culture. Mention 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 makes a difference." Finding a company with a pleasant work atmosphere and beliefs that line with mine has been a priority throughout my job hunt, and this organization rates near the top."
What excites you about this position?
Employers ask this question to ascertain your comprehension of the position and to provide a chance for you to highlight your relevant abilities. Comparing the position criteria to your abilities and expertise might be beneficial.
Choose a few things that you especially like or excel at and make a point of emphasizing them in your response.
"For the most of my professional career, I've been passionate about user experience design." I was pleased to discover this company used Adobe products, as I am proficient with the whole suite. Additionally, I am a strong supporter of incorporating agile workflows into the design. I believe this is the most effective method for tackling huge jobs. In my previous job as UX manager, I successfully built and launched an agile methodology, and we witnessed significant gains in project pace."
Related: Final interview questions
What is your greatest strength?
This question allows you to discuss both your technical and soft abilities. When an interviewer asks you to explain your strengths, reveal your own characteristics and then connect them to the position for which you are interviewing.
"I'm a born problem-solver," for instance. I find it gratifying to delve deep and unearth solutions to problems—similar to solving a puzzle. It's an area in which I've always excelled and one in which I take pleasure. Much of product development is about developing novel answers to difficult problems, which is what first intrigued me to this professional path."
Additionally, you should prepare responses to behavioral interview questions that the hiring manager could ask.
5. Experiment with your speaking voice and body language throughout the interview
During the interview process, it is critical to establish a favorable and lasting impression. This can be accomplished by developing a confident, powerful speaking voice and an open, pleasant body language. While some of them can come easily to you, you can choose to practice them with trusted friends or family members or in front of a mirror. Particular care should be paid to your smile, handshake, and stride.
6. Prepare a list of pertinent questions for the interviewer(s)
Numerous companies express confidence in applicants who inquire thoughtfully about the company and the role. Prior to the interview, you should prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that demonstrate your study on the company and familiarity with the role.
Several examples of possible questions include the following:
- What is a normal day in the life of someone in this job like?
- Why are you so happy to work here?
- Which characteristics distinguish your most successful employees?
- I've had a great time learning about this possibility. What are the hiring process's next steps?
7. Hold mock-interviews
As with public speaking, interview practice is the most effective approach to alleviate nervousness and boost confidence. While the practice can seem boring, constantly going through the interview process can increase your comfort level and help you create the best impression.
Conduct as many mock interviews as possible with the assistance of friends or relatives. If you are unable to have another person present, practice your questions and responses aloud. You can discover that an answer sounds uncomfortable or does not communicate the message you intended when uttered; this provides a chance to improve your responses and commit them to memory. The more times you practice your interview, the more certain you will be during the actual event.
8. Make physical copies of your resume
While the majority of companies request digital copies of your resume as part of the application process, they can not have easy access to them during the interview. Having several versions to offer to various interviewers demonstrates that you are organized and prepared. You should have at least three copies available to provide to several interviewers, as well as one for yourself to use as a reference.
While you're preparing, go through your resume and practice explaining any gaps or other anomalies that can arise. For instance, you can have taken time from work to care for a kid or family member, changed fields, or experienced other acceptable job breaks. Employers can be concerned about these, so it's wise to provide an answer that demonstrates you're not a risk.
Additionally, you can confront embarrassing queries regarding your résumé. It is critical to be candid but polite while dealing with them. For instance, you can have left a job due to a disagreement with your supervisor or manager or with company rules, but you do not wish to talk badly about your previous employer. Consider the following probable questions and prepare your responses in advance to avoid saying anything you'll regret.
As with the rest of the interview, it's ideal to prepare for these questions in advance by taking notes and rehearsing your responses aloud numerous times.
9. Make travel arrangements
Job interviews are stressful for the majority of individuals for a variety of reasons, but getting to the interview can be difficult in and of itself. If your interview is in a strange region or even a new city, it might be stressful to navigate and ensure that you arrive on time.
To prevent being too stressed during your commute, prepare yourself in advance to guarantee that the meeting goes successfully. This is how:
- Depart early: This can sound self-evident, but it is best to leave early enough to make it to your interview on time, even if it means arriving much too early. Even if you allow yourself a few additional minutes to get there, little difficulties such as heavy traffic, accidents, a lack of parking, or difficulty finding the building might cause you to be late. If you come early, simply review your notes and mentally prepare for the interview.
- Make a note of the interviewer's contact information: Even if you leave plenty of time for your journey, circumstances beyond your control might lead you to be late. If anything unexpected occurs and you anticipate being late, contact your interview organizer to inform them of the circumstance. The majority of people are sympathetic to these situations and accept that certain circumstances are unavoidable, especially if you notify them in advance and provide a good explanation. The worst thing you could do in this scenario is arriving late without warning and attempt to justify yourself.
- Conduct advance research on the area: The majority of interviews are arranged days or weeks in advance, giving you ample time to conduct research on the venue. If your interview is close enough, you can spend a day visiting the area and scope out parking, observe traffic patterns, and locate the suite or office where your interview will take place. If you're concerned about parking or any other element of the site, speak with your interviewer and request further information.
10. Promote your capabilities
Selling oneself is one of the most difficult aspects of an interview. While most individuals are uncomfortable with this concept, honestly and positively representing oneself does not have to seem like a selling. The reality is that you do possess professional talents and experiences that can differentiate you from other applicants, and it is both appropriate and required that you communicate them to your prospective employer.
When preparing for a job interview, take note of your relevant talents and consider how your experiences and abilities can contribute to the department's and company's overall goals. Because your responses will be brief, you want to provide just the most positive and pertinent facts throughout the interview.
If you have measurements or statistics that demonstrate your successes or progress in past positions, they can be a tremendous asset in selling yourself during the interview. For instance, in your previous role, you can have improved sales by a particular percentage or increased social media engagement.
Whatever successes you have, do not hold back during your interview. Your prospective employer needs to know that you'll be a good match and that you'll be able to contribute to the company, and they need to know all the reasons why you can do so.
11. Be prepared to follow up following the interview
Following your interview, you should plan to contact the employer. This serves to remind the employer of your conversation, demonstrates your genuine interest in the position, and provides an opportunity to bring up things you missed during the interview.
Following are some guidelines for writing a follow-up note:
Mention the particular job title and express gratitude to the interviewer in the opening paragraph.
In the second paragraph, provide the company's name as well as a discussion topic and/or objective that appeared particularly significant to the individual with whom you spoke. Make a connection between that point and your own experiences and interests.
Invite them to ask any further questions in the final paragraph and conclude by expressing your eagerness to hear back.
Finally, if you are unsure about the answer to a question, pausing for a moment and just saying, "Let me think about that for a bit," is totally fine. Employers would appreciate it that you took the time to provide a meaningful response. Wherever feasible, use detailed instances. Preparing for an interview in advance will eventually make you feel more at ease and confident during the process.
Related: Thank you email after interview
Job interview tips
Tips for your next job interview:
- Research the company.
- Practice interviewing.
- Get comfortable with video interviews.
- Use the STAR method.
- Bring examples of work.
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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