Preparing for an Interview

An interview is your opportunity to create a great first impression on a potential employer. So, how do you best prepare for such an opportunity? 

An interview is your opportunity to create a great first impression on a potential employer.  It’s the time that that employer has provided you to highlight your talents and experience as they relate to the job at hand.

So, how do you best prepare for such an opportunity?  How do you put your best foot forward?  First, let’s start with how you prepare for an interview before we dive into the interview process in later posts.

Research the Employer and Interviewers

In short, do your homework.  Gathering background information on employers is a crucial element in successful interview preparation.  You will want to be prepared to answer the question, “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?”  Both questions are best answered by having some background information about the company.  Knowing as much as possible about the company’s past performance and future plans can make your interview more interactive.   And, it could just be the leg up you need in a competitive job market.

Tied to this, research your interviewers.  You never know, maybe you have a connection with them that may be meaningful and worth bringing up in introductions.  It’s a great way to show you’ve done your homework!

LinkedIn is an excellent source of such information.   And “connecting” with your interviewers via LinkedIn is a great way to get yourself in front of your potential employer once again.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

It can’t be overstated enough.  Going through the job posting and being prepared to answer any questions related to the job duties listed is key.  Also, if you don’t have a repository of questions already, google some common interview questions.  Then, focus your preparation on reviewing and having answers prepared for them.

TOP TIP:   Think of 5-6 “meaty” professional work examples and accomplishments.  For example, an upset customer situation you turned around, a time you worked on a cross-functional team, etc…   The more angles there are to your example, the more ways you can use it to answer a variety of different type of questions.   While you may not know the questions you will be asked, this tip will give you the ability to have an example ready for just about any type of question asked.

Do a Drive-By

Even if you know the location of your interview, do a quick drive-by the location during roughly the same time of your interview a few days in advance of it.  This will alert you as to traffic issues, road construction, and give you an idea where to park.  That way you can arrive well before your interview and there is nothing additional to add to your nerves on the big day.

Plan Your Attire

Plan your attire head to toe – literally.  A nice suit with sport socks is not impressive!   Be careful of distractions such as noisy jewelry or too flashy of an outfit.  If in doubt, go conservative and business professional unless it’s strictly a more casual work environment like a factory or warehouse.   Even then, it depends on the job you are applying for.

How do you plan for an interview?

How do you plan for your interviews?  As we start this interviewing series, we will dive into the process much more but for now, the pre-planning stage is the first step to a great interview.  How do you make sure that you are well-prepared?

22 thoughts on “Preparing for an Interview

  1. These are great tips, it’s important to know the answers to all of the important questions about the business and do your research! Choosing an appropriate outfit is always an important detail too! x

    Sophie

  2. I don’t miss those days! Practicing my spiel was really helpful. Both in front of a mirror and for another person. Great advice!

    1. Both great strategies Jen!! Practicing out loud is key as when you practice in your head you tend to go too fast. Practicing out loud replicates what you will be doing in the interview and better prepares you.

  3. I agree with these tips! So important to do some research. Honesty is also important as well. If there is a question, you can ask as well! Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  4. Don’t ask me how….but I’ve managed to get to nearly 35 years old without ever having a “proper” job interview.

    I left my job in March. I’ll keep this post in mind in case I need it soon.

  5. I literally just had a Zoom interview a few minutes ago. I did zero prep ha ha ha,

    I tried checking out there website but it really didn’t contain any useful information for the placement I was interviewing for.

    But I don’t really prep as it doesn’t help me like it might do others, I prefer to think on my feet. It’s surprisingly less stressful and anxiety inducing that way.

    My partner on the other hand, is all about the preparations and hates having to think on their feet

    1. Yes, I know many people that feel more comfortable “winging it” – less stress for them and their statements come out sounding less rehearsed. For many of us though the preparation is essential not only to nail our answers but to give us the confidence boost we need to go in and perform like a rock star in the interview! 🙂

  6. Great advice her, I’ve always researched the company thoroughly and prepared for the interview with my dad or partner. My mums big on the drive by tip for less stress on finding the place on the day of the interview. I like to get there super early and just relax in the car and read for a little.

    1. It sounds like we utilize the same strategies Ffi! I like to arrive super early too and just relax in the car a bit before the interview. It takes the stress off of running into an unexpected roadblock or parking lot issues on the way to the interview.

  7. Interviews can be so stressful. It’s always a good idea to come prepared for ANY situation. I always bring extra copies of my resume and cover letter and send a thank you note after the interview.

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