How to prepare for a job interview.
Show that you’ve got what it takes.
A recruiter or hiring manager wants to schedule an interview with you for your dream job. Knowing how to prepare for a job interview is critical, because let’s face it that old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” really holds true when it comes to searching for that next job. Here are some great tips to get you well prepared and feeling confident on that big day.
Make a list of the skills, knowledge and professional and personality qualifications outlined in the position description. Next create a list of your skills, knowledge, professional qualifications and abilities that directly correlate to what’s included in the description. For each one, write down a specific experience from your past where you demonstrated that quality or ability and how doing so helped your manager, team or company. The more specific results you can provide (percentage increases, amount of cost savings, sales closed, efficiencies gained), the better.
To build confidence and get your thoughts in order, rehearse answers to questions that you think you may be asked in the interview with a friend or family member. Your rehearsal partner can gauge if you’re speaking too quickly, if your sentences are too long, or if your answers are hard to follow. Also ask your partner to observe your body language to ensure you appear as confident as you feel. Just as in the actual interview, be sure to look your rehearsal partner in the eyes when speaking. Rehearsing is one of the most effective methods of preparing for a job interview.
Before the interview, find out the names and titles of every person you will meet. If dealing directly with the company, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the HR representative to provide these details.
Look up everyone on LinkedIn to review their backgrounds and read what their colleagues or bosses may have written about them. Did you attend the same college? Enjoy the same hobbies? Have a connection in common? Be sure to scan for any commonalities between you that you can work into the interview to build rapport. Review the business news that day and from a few days before so you know if your prospective new company has been mentioned. It’s impressive to show that you are up-to-date with company news and events.
Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your interview clothes are ready. In fact, have an interview outfit ready to wear at all times for anything that may pop up. Dress in business attire, whether or not the company allows for more casual dress among its employees. Avoid visual distractions such as loud ties, sheer fabrics, heavy earrings, noisy jewellery and overpowering fragrances (or better yet skip the perfume/cologne altogether as some people are allergic).
During the Interview
- Arrive a few minutes early
- Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet
- Sit upright and look alert
- Keep your hands in your lap and keep gestures to a minimum
- Make eye contact with the interviewer(s)
- Don’t say anything negative about a past employer
- Don’t interrupt anyone
- Keep your answers relatively short and to the point. If the interviewer wants more information, he or she will ask for it. By the same token, try to avoid answering with just a “yes” or “no”
Closing the Interview
Always conduct yourself as if you are determined to get the job you are discussing. If you are interested in the position, make sure you let the interviewer know. Be sure to ask the interviewer about the next steps and his/her desired timeframe for filling the role. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration of you.
After the Interview
Learn from any mistakes – make a list of questions you answered well and those you answered poorly, thinking about how you could have answered differently. Send an email within a day of the interview underscoring why you are the best candidate for the role, especially including anything that may have been left out of the interview.
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to prepare for a job interview. Best of luck on your job hunt!