How To Prepare For a Job Interview: 20-Step Interview Prep Plan

Today you’re going to learn how to prepare for a job interview.

So you have drafted your resume with great care and sent it off to your preferred companies. The next thing is getting the call for an interview for the dream job, very exciting but at the same time also intimidating.

The first thing that scares most people is the thought that the interview might go badly. However, we all know what is important; to make an impression that is so good they can’t wait to hire us.

Job interviews are non avoidable during recruitment but they never get easier.

Maybe you have been doing jobs for several years, maybe you are meeting and greeting new people every day, maybe you have even got a third degree but the job interviews always makes you doubt everything about yourself.

Every time you go for interview, you will face that same nervousness and nerve-wrecking feeling. It’s really hard nowadays to stand out among all those highly qualified applicants, how do you sell yourself properly in the job interview in today’s competitive markets?

If you are counting the days until your next job interview and looking for tips to get you on board, then you will need the right mindset to enter the interview. I am here to help you get hired to your dream job.

I have analyzed several factors about job interviews and compiled a list to help you prepare effectively for your next interview.

How To Prepare For a Job Interview:

1. Do your Research

Knowing beforehand about the company which you are interviewing for is a must. These days getting information is just a click away.

Talk to former employees, search on Google, browse through the company website for their history, business objectives, culture, achievements, years of operations, last year’s profits and latest products or service launches.

Go through newspapers and annual reports to know more. Inquire about interviewer’s name and use it during the interview.

If you can’t answer a question regarding the company then you are as successful as you were before getting on with the interview. Know as much as possible regarding your potential employer.

When answering, try to relate your answers to that company. Knowing these basic will ensure interviewers about your desire to join their team.

2. Practice

The next step is to practice. Practice answering typical questions of job interviews.

Search the internet for most common job interview questions i.e.: your key strengths and weaknesses, why you are the best person for this job, why do you want to work for the company or your future plan?

These questions will surely come up. Use actual examples to describe your skills. Ask a family or a friend to interview you, it really helps.

Also while practicing check your posture, hand movements, voice quality and clarity of words.

3. Get Ready

When you are ready with answers then make sure you attire is appropriate. Remember to take a nice portfolio with the copies of your resume.

Take a pen and a paper with you. The portfolio will help you to demonstrate your experiences and skills. All these will represent that you are well organized.

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4. Dress appropriately

Appearances matter whether you believe it or not. You are judged before you utter a word. Make sure that you have showered, used a good deodorant, have your shoes polished, have clothes which fit you

perfectly and that your accessories are appropriate. Dressing differs in from company to company.

Check with your contacts like former employees or the current workforce. But most companies follow corporate casual. But if you don’t know what to wear then keep in mind you can never go wrong with formal business attire. Avoid statement jewelry because it looks unprofessional.

Check your posture, carry yourself confidently, it could help you bag the game.

5. Be prepared

To ace the job interview you need to know your strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments. Identify the skills they are looking for in their job posting.

Prepare yourself as much as possible (1). Be prepared for key questions and ace simple questions like “tell me about yourself” and “why do we need to hire you”.

The fluency of your speech is really important and matters more than you may think. When you are in the interview focus on the strengths that they are looking for, show them that you have what they need to perform the job accordingly.

Also prepare a list of questions you need to know from the interviewer but make sure that those questions are really important and add value to your potentiality.

6. Arrive early.

Just take your time. If you rush to the interview place it will make you tenser, you will arrive sweaty and stressed out. Reach the place earlier, have 15-30 minutes free to cool down and get prepared.

Being punctual will show your professionalism and sincerity towards working there. The worst thing you can do is being late. When you reach there, make sure that you have turned off the cell phone. An unwanted and personalized ring tone is enough to ruin your interview.

7. Exhibit enthusiasm

First impressions matter, I am saying it over and over again because it really effects the ultimate assessment.

When you reach there, take a deep breath. Put on an outgoing and friendly face. Smile and say hello. Smiling sends the indication of positive attitude. Getting on the right foot this way will give the impression that you can blend in with them.

Let them know that you are knowledgeable but don’t act arrogant. Try to make a match between your career accomplishments and goal to the company’s requirements.

8. Messages are passed on

When you arrive at the interview make sure you are professional from the start. If you chit chat with the receptionist or some other applicants and say something that you shouldn’t then you have lost the job before the interview.

You can talk casually but don’t say something personal or don’t become over friendly. We have seen employers ask receptionists about potential applicant or his behave during the waiting period.

So, there’s a chance that your new friends might say something negative.

9. Stay calm

No matter what, keep your cool. Stay in control.

When you are well prepared, know how to behave, dressed properly and you have answers ready for probable questions then there’s nothing to be worried about. Interviewers are normal people and you need to treat them like that.

You might be nervous but there’s a good chance that they might be nervous as well. So relax.

Show the interviewer how they would love to work alongside you. Maintain necessary eye contact, speak clearly, listen carefully and you will shine.

10. Just be yourself

Being yourself always works. Just because the person sitting behind the desk has a serious face doesn’t mean he never laughs or doesn’t like to have fun sometimes.

You need to focus on what you are being asked and during the answer you might crack a natural joke. A natural joke can’t harm but make sure you don’t overdo it.

Personalize your answers, showing them a little of your personality is a good thing.

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11. Self-confidence

Highly confident people are more successful at what they do. When you are confident you are able to demonstrate your qualities and how you have developed yourself.

Show the interviewer that you are happy with yourself and feel that way in inside yourself too. Establish your worth at the interview.

I f you have past working experiences tell them how you have solved a critical situation or how you have reached a target or how you have created a innovative solution to save costs.

Sometimes due to negligence our self confidence seems like arrogance. Arrogance and self confidence has a fine line between them. Don’t cross it.

12. Concise answers

When your interviewers ask questions, answer concisely and get to the point. What you have to do is listen to the question carefully, remember it and answer it briefly.

Interviewers don’t want to hear everything you have to say, they just need short and snappy answer. During the talking maintain the eye contact with the interviewer and listen what you are saying and you will know what to say and when to stop.

13. Provide examples

You can’t say everything you have ever done. Just provide good examples of the important things you have done. You should prepare some examples which you can use easily.

Suppose if they ask you about your customer service skills, you can say that ‘yes I have done that before and here is the example’ and then you explain it. When you are asked specific questions answer specifically.

And then you can ask the recruiter if that answer satisfies his question or not.

14. Communication and time limitation

When you answer keep the limitation of time in your mind. Provide one or two minute answers.

Your successful hiring depends on your communication level with the interviewer. Try to give examples because it will ensure the validity of your skills.

If it’s possible try to tell a story to illustrate your point. Telling a proper story will prove you as intellectual and smart to the interviewer and he/she is most likely to remember you for that.

15. Don’t be troubled by the silence

In between answers there might be awkward silences. Don’t stress yourself about the silence because some employers take time to ask you another question after you have answered one.

Use that silent time to calm yourself. If they take time to ask questions that doesn’t mean you have done something wrong. If the pause is really long then ask them if they want to know more or not.

16. Try to be honest

Honesty is the best policy during interviews (2). If you don’t know the answer to the questions they ask, just state the true answer.

You can also let them know about any relevant skills or that you are ready to learn. Most candidates think that when you don’t know an answer then you have to cover it up somehow. But dancing around the truth & irrelevant answers irritate interviewers and wastes their time.

17. Always accept water

This might sound like a weird tip to you but this is very important. From now on please accept the water when you are asked.

It will give you a ‘time out’ after difficult questions. Taking a sip during such times might help you to answer tough questions.

18. Remain attentive

You need to be alert during the interview. Maintain the eye contact during the interview. Don’t look above or below.

Maintain eye contact and trust me, it will boost up your confidence. Most people can’t look others in the eye. Try to show enthusiasm and your interest about working for them. You also need to show high levels of energy.

19. Ask probing questions

If you can ask really good questions during the interview it shows that you have researched them really well. The questions will demonstrate your intelligence, analytical skills and assertiveness.

Make sure that you leave an impression; the questions will make you stand out among other applicants. Ask questions regarding company’s goals, objectives, business expansion issues, new product development issues or about the post you have just been interviewed.

20. Thanking and following up

Call or email the interviewers to thank them for taking the time out to interview you. Tell them how excited you are to work and learn from them.

It also shows your interest for the job and how you are as a person. You can also leave a personalized thank you note for each of the interviewers. You should do the follow up within the 24 hours of the interview.

Thank you for reading this article about how to prepare for a job interview and I really hope that you take action my advice. I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here