How to Prepare for Your Next Job Interview
Preparing for a job interview can be a nerve-racking experience. It’s your chance to shine and show the company that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
But you’re under a lot of pressure to appear smart, professional, and charismatic— all while facing intense scrutiny. So how do you make a job interview less stressful? Preparation is the key. A thoroughly prepared candidate is more likely to make a great impression and land the job. Keeping that in mind, here are a few ways you can get ready for that next big job interview.
Do some research.
You should be well-informed about the role you’re applying for and the company before your job interview. Make sure to read the job posting very carefully and take notes on the responsibilities of the role, as well as the qualifications that the employer is looking for.
In the interview itself, you should do your best to connect your skills and experiences to those ideal qualities listed in the job description. In addition to reviewing the role, you should do some research on the company. Go to their website and social media pages to learn more about who they are, what they do, their values, and the work culture they promote. If possible, check out some of the work they’ve done in the past or take a look at who some of their clients are.
Doing research into a company demonstrates that you’re actually interested in them. It also shows a level of professionalism, meticulousness, and maturity that employers will appreciate.
Consider what to bring with you.
In setting up a job interview, occasionally the company will ask you to bring certain items along with you, such as samples of your work for them to review. However, most of the time they don’t directly ask you to bring anything in particular. That doesn’t mean you should show up to your interview empty-handed, though. Some basic items you should bring to every job interview include:
- Extra copies of your resume
- A pen and something to take notes on
- A list of questions to ask during the interview
Bringing these items will show the person interviewing you that you’re able to properly prepare and take initiative without anyone telling you to do so.
Most job interviews end with the interviewer saying something along the lines of, “Do you have any questions for me?” And you should always be able to respond, “Yes, I do”.
While conducting your pre-interview research, it’s important to come up with a list of questions about the role and/or the company. Well-thought-out questions demonstrate that you’ve done some research and taken some time to think about the role you’re applying to. They also show that you’re an inquisitive and curious individual, which is always a good sign.
If you’re having trouble brainstorming, you can look online and find lists of typical questions candidates ask during a job interview. However, don’t only ask generic questions—be creative and come up with a few of your own that are specific to the role you’re applying for.
Identify your strengths.
Playing to your strengths can be an effective strategy going into a job interview. If a company brings you in for an interview, then it means at the very least they see some qualities in you that would make you a good fit for the role.
Consider how your skills could be applied to help achieve the goals of the company. Maybe you have relevant experience, technical skills, a strong educational background, a solid portfolio— whatever your strengths may be, don’t be afraid to emphasize them during the interview.
On the other hand, find a way to represent your weaknesses in a positive light. Also, don’t try and hide anything that an employer will inevitably find out about. Most employers do an online background check before hiring a candidate, so if there’s an incident in your past that will show up, be honest about it at the interview. This will give you a chance to explain any past failings and the lessons they taught you.
It’s perfectly natural to be nervous before a job interview. But everyone has interviewed for a job at some point or another and gotten through it. Think of the interview as a positive experience, a chance to tell the employer face-to-face what makes you so excited about the job you’ve applied for. And try to focus on what’s in your control: properly preparing and showing up with a positive attitude.
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