Interview Preparation Tips

Interview preparation is one of the most important aspects of the interview process. When you prepare, your confidence increases and it becomes easier to persuade the interviewer to hire you.

Begin the preparation process as soon as you apply for a job. An employer could contact you at any time, so be ready.

It is never too soon to start preparing, but it could be too late if someone calls and wants to interview you the next day.

A recruiter can tell that you are prepared when you..

  • clearly understand the responsibilities and qualifications of the job.
  • articulate your experience and how it ties into the job.
  • provide specific examples to support each of your answers.
  • familiarize yourself with the company and speak about it.
  • dress appropriately.

Practice answers to common interview questions.

Practice! Practice! Practice! True interview preparation requires practice. The key is to know what you wish to share with the interviewer before you get there.

  1. Review a list of common interview questions.
  2. Write or type answers to each of these questions. Include specific examples from your experience to support each of your answers. This is your study guide.
  3. Study by repeating your answers, aloud several times a day, until you receive and accept a job offer.

This process will store content for your answers in your mind. This makes the information easier to retrieve while you are face to face with an interviewer.

Most people become nervous at some point during the interview. When you are on the spot and cannot think of an answer, that nervousness tends to increase.

Be comfortable talking about yourself. If you write or type your answers and repeat them aloud in the days leading to the interview, you will become more comfortable talking about yourself.

Many job seekers "draw a blank" during an interview. If you continuously practice your answers, your mind is less likely to go blank.

Of course, the interviewer may not ask you the exact same questions that you studied.

This process is simply used to gather as much information as possible so that you can draw from that information and tie it into the questions that they do ask.

Perform a mock or practice interview.

Ask a trusted friend or associate to conduct a mock interview with you.

This person should be someone you know and trust, who will be 100% honest with you and not just tell you what you want to hear.

If the answer you provide is not thorough, or doesn't sound right, this person will need to tell you that in a constructive manner.

Provide the mock interviewer with a list of common interview questions. Tell them to ask you the questions that you have prepared and random ones.

This is a smart interview preparation technique and resembles the real interview because you don't know in advance what questions you will be asked.

Ask the mock interviewer to check...

  • Are you speaking slowly and clearly?
  • Did you provide a specific example for every question?
  • Did you provide complete thoughts?
  • Did you make eye contact throughout the entire interview?
  • Did you stay on the topic of the question.
  • Are you sitting up straight with proper posture?

Sit across the table from this person just as you will with the real interviewer.

It is a good idea to audio record the mock interview so that you can hear exactly how you sound. Make sure you sound professional, clear, and easy to understand. Listen for "uhs" and "ahs."

If you notice anything that does not sound right, make adjustments.

Consider the feedback you received from your mock interviewer. Make any positive changes. Then, perform another mock interview for additional practice.

Communicate effectively.

Verbal Communication

The interviewer will pay close attention to your verbal communication skills. These skills are necessary for every career field in some way or another.

  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Provide examples for your answers to ensure that your answers are thorough.
  • Ask for clarification or to have the question repeated, if necessary.
  • Only use words you know the meaning of and can pronounce correctly.

Non-Verbal Communication

93% of communication is nonverbal. This means that you have to make sure you are sending the right message.

Nonverbal communication refers to your body language. This includes facial expression, posture, gestures, eye contact, and tone of voice.

Make sure that your nonverbal communication is professional and appropriate for an interview.

  • Smile.
  • Shake hands firmly.
  • Wear appropriate interview attire.
  • Make eye contact as you are speaking.
  • Sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor.
  • Try not to rock in the chair.
  • Always display a positive attitude, both in your demeanor and in your answers to the interview questions.
  • Be enthusiastic. The interviewer wants to see that you are excited about the job opportunity.
  • Be polite and wait for the interviewer to tell you to have a seat.
  • Never chew gum. It is not professional and may interfere with your speaking.
  • Match your speed and tone of voice with that of the interviewer.

Research the company before the interview.

This is a really important part of interview preparation. Make sure that you are well-informed about the company before you get to the interview.

Go to the company's website to learn as much as you can. You can impress the employer with your knowledge of the company by mentioning what you know about the company during the interview.

For example, if the interviewer asks why you want to work for the company, you can mention how you agree with the company's mission statement.

Specific information you can look for…

  • What is the company's purpose?
  • What is the company's mission statement?
  • Who is the CEO?
  • Details about the company's products or services.
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Click on the company's "About us" link for a company profile.

Review the job description to learn more about the job, such as…

  • What department the job in?
  • What are the responsibilities of the job?
  • How much education is required?
  • What are the pay and benefits?
  • Where is the job located?

Familiarize yourself with the interview location.

If possible, drive to the location on the day before the interview to estimate the time it will take to get there.

If you cannot do a practice drive, get directions from MapQuest or put the address in your GPS to calculate how long it will take to get there.

Never be late for an interview. If someone is late for an interview, I would assume that this person will also be late for work or have attendance issues.

Leave early to allow time for any unforeseen circumstances.

The goal of interview preparation

Your most important goal in an interview should be to set yourself apart from others who have applied for the same job.

After the hiring manager and/or human resources interview you and other candidates for the position, they will compare your interview with the others.

You want them to remember you as the person who provided great answers to their questions and communicated well.

Interview preparation will help you accomplish this.

Use the following links for more interview tips and techniques...

Job Interview Tips
Phone Interviews
Panel Interviews

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