10 Must-Do's When Preparing for Job Interviews
Updated: Apr 4
Be prepared to present the best version of yourself.
Preparing for a job interview can be a stressful undertaking. We might get anxious about whether we're sufficiently qualified or able to communicate clearly and confidently. No need to worry! We're here to help you prepare mentally and strategically to be at your best through the interview process.
We've previously written on how to stand out as a job candidate to attract interest from recruiters and succeed in achieving an interview for a desirable position. Once you've scheduled that interview, it's time to prepare in a way that actually provides your best chance at landing the job!
How to Prepare for an Interview
Prepping for an interview might appear intimidating, but there are several things you can do to properly ready yourself. Here we've compiled 10 must-do's when preparing for job interviews from expert insights across numerous professions and domains.
1. Research the company and its industry.
Researching the company you’re applying to is an essential part of readying for an interview. Not only will it help supply context for your interview discussions, but it will also assist you when crafting useful questions for your interviewers.
Examining the company and role as much as you're able will provide an advantage over the competition. Furthermore, fully preparing for an interview will help you remain calm so that you can be at your best. You'll actually be familiar and hopefully enthusiastic about the guiding principles and/or products that the company provides to its customers.
2. Carefully review the job description.
You should utilize the employer’s published job description as a guide in your preparations. The job description is a list of the desired qualifications, attributes, and experience the employer is seeking in an exemplary candidate. If you can better align yourself with these elements, the more the employer will consider that you are a suitable fit for the position. The job description may also give you insight into questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.
3. Develop your selling points.
Why should they hire you? Carefully think about this question and develop your strongest "selling points" as to why you can succeed in this role for this company. Prepare to go into every interview with at least three main selling points in mind, regarding what makes you the best candidate for the position. Have an example of each point ready, such as:
"I have great communication skills. For instance, I successfully conveyed the importance of... "
"My experience with solving issues related to... will translate very well to this position."
"I have a naturally positive attitude that is very beneficial for teamwork and perseverance."
4. Clarify the reasons you want the job.
Be able to inform the interviewer why you want that job – including what interests you about it, what benefits or opportunities it offers that you find valuable, and what skills or knowledge it requires that you possess. If an interviewer doesn't believe you're truly interested in the job, they won't present you with an offer – no matter how good you are! In your answer, reference the elements of the company that appeal to you and align with your career goals.
5. Ready your answers to common interview questions.
While you won’t be able to anticipate every question you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common interview questions you can prepare answers for. In general, you should also consider having an "elevator pitch" ready that shortly explains who you are, what you do, and what you're working towards.
Here are a couple of examples of common interview questions:
Why do you want to work here? - The best way to prepare for this question is to research and know the company's products, services, goals, history, and culture.
What are your greatest strengths? - Similar to your "selling points" above, when an interviewer asks you to describe your strengths, share personal attributes and then connect them back to the role you’re interviewing for.
6. Bring thoughtful questions for the interviewer.
Employers tend to feel assured about candidates who ask astute questions about the company and the role. You should make an effort before the interview to bring several questions for your interviewer that demonstrate you’ve researched the company and are well-informed about the position. Here are some examples of questions you could ask your interviewer:
What does a regular day look like for a person in this role?
Why do you appreciate working here?
What attributes do your most successful employees have?
I’ve truly enjoyed learning more about this position. What are the next stages in the hiring process?
7. Rehearse your speaking voice and body language
As for public speaking, rehearsing interviews is the best method to reduce anxiety and enhance your confidence. The practice may feel monotonous or awkward, but continually undergoing a simulated interview process will make you more comfortable and help you convey the right impression.
If you don't have another person to simulate an interview with, practice your questions and answers out loud and maybe record yourself to listen afterward. You may discover that an answer sounds clumsy or doesn't communicate what you wanted when it's spoken. This allows you a chance to refine your answers and save them to memory. The more you practice your interview, the more secure you'll be during the real thing.
8. Bring Printed Copies of Your Resume & Cover Letter
Most employers request digital copies of your resume as part of the application, but they may not have quick access to it during the interview itself. Having printed copies to share with multiple interviewers indicates that you're well prepared and organized. You should bring at least three resume copies to supply multiple interviewers, plus one for you to follow along. If you don't have a printer, swing by a local Staples or library to print out your resume there.
During your preparation, review your resume and have explanations for any gaps or other oddities that may appear. These can be an alarm for employers, so it's best to ready your answer to show them that you're not a risk.
9. plan out your travel & schedule around the interview
Job interviews can be stressful for many people for numerous reasons, but traveling to the interview can be a challenge in itself. If your interview is in an unknown area or a totally new city, it can cause anxiety to navigate your way around and ensure that you show up on time.
To avoid becoming too anxious about your commute, prepare to ensure everything goes smoothly on the day of the meeting. Here are some tips to minimize complications in your interview day schedule:
Have the interview contact info ready
Search the location in advance
10. Close with Enthusiasm
If you get to the end of an interview and feel you truly want that job, then ask for it! Tell the interviewer that you'd really, really like the job. Let them know you were enthusiastic about it before the interview and are even more excited now, and you're convinced you'd like to work there.
If you are one of two equally suitable candidates at the end of the search, and the interviewer thinks you're more likely to accept the offer, they're more likely to make you an offer!
Resources for Job Seekers
Mission Box Solutions is here to connect those seeking a new job opportunity with the companies we work with as talent acquisition specialists. Join our network of qualified, ready-now candidates by creating a profile and submitting an updated resume that includes your unique qualifications, valuable attributes, and workforce experience. Submit your resume here.
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