How to Prepare for an Interview
You’ve found a company you think you’d like to work for, you’ve sent in your resume and they’ve called back, excited to interview you. You’ve got an interview set up in a week or a few days. What do you do until then?
If you’re serious about the job, and you want to land it, there are a few things you can do to prepare leading up to the big day.
Research the company
You already know you want to work there. Maybe it’s cool or they pay more than other places for similar work, but if you want to get in, it helps to have an edge.
Check out the company’s website. Find out what the company prides itself in and who they see as their customers. The more you know about a company and the position you’re applying for, the better you can respond to their needs and show why you’re the best fit for the job.
Showing that you’re familiar with the company demonstrates that you’re serious about wanting the position and that this isn’t just a random job application (even if it may have started out that way).
It may sound hokey, but if you haven’t interviewed much before, preparing practice questions with a friend or family member can help you get over your nervousness and ensure you have smart, relatable answers at the ready.
Prepare concrete examples
Interviewers want to see that you can think on your feet and they’ll often ask, “Tell me a time when…” questions. Things like, “Tell me a time when you weren’t able to meet a deadline.” Saying you’ve never had trouble with this will sound disingenuous – everyone’s handed in an assignment late at some point.
Be honest and talk about how you let your boss or teacher know as soon as you knew you were in trouble, and how you negotiated an extension or workaround. Interviewers want to know that you know how to act professionally, even if this is your first job.
Prepare your wardrobe
Plan your clothes the night before and remember that it’s better to dress smart rather than casual. Even if the job is a jeans and t-shirt kind of place, it’s a sign of respect to dress well for an interview.
Ensure anything that needs ironing has been ironed and that you have everything at the ready. You don’t want to make yourself late searching for your dress shoes five minutes before you’re supposed to be there.
Plan your route
Use Google Maps to plan how long it will take you to get to the interview and aim to be at least fifteen minutes early. Plan for traffic and check road closures.
It’s easy to get nervous before an interview, especially if you haven’t interviewed much. Take a few deep breaths before going in and smile. It really will relax you. Just be yourself.
Remember that each interview is practice for your next one, whether you get this job or go on to something else. It gets easier each time.