How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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Job interviews may be nerve-wracking, but the tension can be significantly alleviated with a little preparation. The applicant should take some time to plan ahead and prepare every aspect of the day leading to the job interview. 

First impressions mean a lot to most people and to employers especially because they may have years of experience of doing interviews and can tell a great deal about a person in the first few minutes. Here are some tips for getting ready for a job interview.

1. Know The Company

Before applying to any company the applicant should research the company for an in-depth understanding of its workings. This may include the corporate social responsibility strategy, environmental ethics or business plan. 

The applicant should be able to talk intelligently about the industry, the specific organization and the position for which he or she is applying. If possible, the applicant can find out the name of the main interviewer and if there will be a panel. Research should also include the latest trends in the job sector, which means the applicant needs to be up-to-date on the latest news. 

2. Prepare Questions

The applicant will be asked questions, and he or she can anticipate some of these questions and have ready answers. If possible, they can ask a friend to do a mock interview and ask the questions, so the applicant can practice giving the prepared answers. 

The interviewer will also ask the applicant if he or she has any questions. Having a few good questions to ask the interviewer shows enthusiasm and interest on the part of the applicant. 

Questions about the job’s future or about the interviewer’s position or background or to clarify what is being said in the interview are appropriate questions. The applicant shouldn’t ask silly questions or for a repetition of what was already said. It will give the impression that the applicant is clueless. 

3. Plan the Trip

The applicant should arrive at the interview office at least 15 minutes before the time given for the interview. This means they need to be able to get to the venue, park and reach the office. 

If they are driving, they should scout a parking place in advance in case they need to walk for five or 10 minutes to reach the building. This should not be left to the day of the interview because there are too many things that can go wrong and make the applicant late. 

4. Plan the Interview Day

The applicant should dress appropriately for the job. For most jobs, both women and men should dress conservatively. Dark or neutral colored suit, white shirt for men and knee-length skirt for women are suitable. Most job interviews are not the place to exhibit personal style. This means no pink bow or Mickey Mouse socks. 

5. Be Organized

The applicant should take their application letter, a copy of their resume and a portfolio if applicable to the interview. While sitting in a waiting room, the applicant should be ready when his or her name is called. 

This mean they don’t scatter their coat, briefcase, water or phone and need to spend time gathering it up before entering the interview room. Some job interviews require applicants to bring examination certificates or mark sheets. The applicant needs to find out in advance if this is required, so they have time to gather all the documents they need. 

When the applicant receives notice of an interview, it will usually include a list of what needs to be brought. The applicant shouldn’t bring extra things that will just get in the way. 

6. During the Interview

The applicant should:

• Speak audibly and look the interviewer in the eye
• Pause briefly before answering a difficult question to think
• Speak confidently about accomplishments without sounding like bragging
• Use positive language and be enthusiastic and motivated
• Remember to breathe regularly and not unknowingly hold his or her breath
• Eat a nutritious meal before the interview
• Use the toilet before the interview
• Be courteous to everyone in the office
• Leave their phone in the car or turn it off
• Keep answers to 30 – 90 seconds long
• Not use slang or off-color humor
• Not criticize a former employer

7. Be Friendly and Positive

A job interview is not the place for an applicant to express pessimistic views of society or politics. Even if the applicant is cynical by nature, he or she should suppress this tendency during the interview. 

It is important that the interviewer has a good feeling about the applicant. Many employers choose the applicant they like the best even if they are not the most qualified for the job. 

There may be no way to completely remove pre-interview jitters, but a well-prepared applicant will have a better chance of making a good first impression than one who is scrambling for answers.