Preparing for a Job Interview

Preparing for a job interview is a multi-step process. You will need to complete each step properly to ensure you are successful in securing the position you are interested in during your interview with a potential employer.

Preparation is essential, as this will help you to decide what you need to wear for your interview and what questions you will need to ask upon your arrival. The more primed you are, the easier the interview process will feel in the moment.

Your preparation for a job interview should begin at the earliest stages while you are still researching positions to apply for. You will need to be sure you are qualified for any given position before submitting an application. Pursuing job opportunities you have a strong chance of getting will help you to organize your information and accomplishments prior to receiving a job interview offer. Your interviewer will be able to tell a prepared job applicant from one who is just “winging it.”

What to Do Before Your Interview

The first step in the interview process is selecting job opportunities you are qualified for. By selecting positions you have the necessary qualifications for, you will have a simpler time answering questions once you are in an interview setting. It is easier to detail to a potential employer the ways you can handle the job position you applied for if you have direct experience completing similar tasks.

Read the job description thoroughly and match the skillset you have against the skillset the company has outlined with the job advertisement. If you find you are match for the skills they are looking for, you can submit your application or letter of interest.

After you have been called for a job interview, you will need to spend time researching the company you are interviewing with before you meet with the individual conducting your interview. Developing an understanding of the company, its core values and its mission statement will help you to impress your employer. You will also have an easier time answering specific questions pertaining to why you chose to apply for a role with this corporation over its leading competitors. The more you know about your potential employer in advance, the easier it will be to discuss why you will fit into the company culture if hired for the position.

You may also find it useful to conduct a mock or practice interview with someone you know prior to your real interview. Ask a trusted friend or family member to sit down with you for a few minutes to go over practice interview questions to ensure you are comfortable answering anything that may come up during your professional meeting.

You can review commonly asked interview questions and select a few that seem more challenging than the others. In doing so, you will ensure you are prepared for a question regardless of how difficult it may be in the heat of the moment.

What to Wear to Your Interview

An essential aspect of preparing for a job interview is selecting the outfit you will wear to your meeting with a potential employer. First impressions can be lasting ones, and you will want to present an appropriate appearance regardless of the type of position you are interviewing for.

If you are interviewing for a casual position, you will want to present a polished appearance without seeming too formal. You should always appear neat and well put together when interviewing for any position, whether it be in a restaurant or at a company. Showing you care about your appearance will encourage employers to think you will be a strong representation of the company.

For a professional job position, you will want to dress in business attire. Men should wear a full suit or dress slacks and a sport coat with dress shoes. Women should wear dress slacks or a skirt with a blouse, a professional dress or a business suit.

High heels or business shoes are acceptable footwear for women when entering a professional setting. A man should ensure he is well groomed prior to an interview, including facial hair. Women should ensure their hair and makeup is presentable before meeting with a potential employer.

What to Do During Your Interview

Once you have researched the company and selected your interview outfit, you will be ready for the interview process to begin. To ensure you are fully prepared, you may want to compile a list of questions you want to ask the employer during your meeting.

If you have questions regarding salary or schedule, an interview is the right place to ask those questions. You can also choose to ask a potential employer questions about the company values or company culture to ensure you are finding a position that feels right for you.

In addition to preparing questions, you will want to bring a copy of your resume for each person you are interviewing with. You will also need to bring something to write with, as this shows you are prepared at a moment’s notice. You should switch your phone to silent before entering the interview, cellphone interruptions appear unprofessional. Engaging in proper etiquette is essential in terms of impressing an employer. Silencing your cellphone and extending a firm handshake can go a long way toward gaining favor once you have begun the interview.

It is important for you to listen fully and remain attentive during the duration of your interview. You want to remain engaged with your potential employer to show your interest in the position and to answer questions thoughtfully when asked about your experience or education.

Be sure to speak with the employer truthfully and naturally, as you are building the foundation of your work relationship during this initial meeting. If you are robotically answering interview questions, an employer may feel as though you have rehearsed for the meeting and are being disingenuous about your interest. Additionally, do not forget to come up with a few questions to ask your interviewer.

Following your interview, it is polite etiquette to send a thank you email to the individual or individuals you met with at a company. This further shows your professionalism and creates a positive impression on the people who will choose whether to extend a job offer to you or not. In your follow up letter to your employer, be sure to include the following:

  • Your thanks
  • A restatement of why you want the job position
  • Your qualifications
  • How you can make substantial contributions to the role and the company

You can keep the thank you note brief, but be sure to highlight the important matters to further show you are deserving of the open position.

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