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Interview Preparation Tips: How to Prepare Before the Interview

Updated on November 29, 2019
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Angela is a business owner and blogger who is learning her way through the professional world.

Bring Extra Resume

Bring an extra copy of your resume. It's a good idea to have it in a folder or briefcase to maintain professionalism.
Bring an extra copy of your resume. It's a good idea to have it in a folder or briefcase to maintain professionalism. | Source

Once you have written a stellar resume and receive the call, it is time to prepare for the first physical impression you will give to your prospective employer - the interview, which is what will make or break the hiring process.

As your nerves rev up, it is essential to remember some key things about the interview. Most importantly:

  • Remember, interviewers are just people too: Many interviewers admit to feeling anxiety themselves.
  • Calm down, and take a few deep breaths.
  • Then think about the tremendous hirable aspects of yourself! Are you hard-working, outgoing, conscientious, loyal? Think about these things before you go into the job interview, so you know what aspects of yourself to point out during the series of questions, be prepared for your interview.
  • Practice your answers to common questions on your way to the interview.
  • Be positive.
  • And most importantly, be yourself. Show the interviewer that you are a great person to work with and that you would be an asset to their company.
  • Come prepared with your own interview questions.

Keep in mind, showing up is only half the battle; you must also come prepared.

Know the Company

Make sure you know the company you are being interviewed for before you meet with your interviewer.
Make sure you know the company you are being interviewed for before you meet with your interviewer. | Source

Techniques for Job Interviews

  1. Shake Their Hand: Shaking of hands is a sign of respect. Let them know through your actions that you hold the interview, the interviewer, and the business with respect. They will appreciate this.
  2. Make Eye Contact: By keeping eye contact, you are showing that you are a confident person with nothing to hide. Often people will divert their eyes when they are feeling insecure or if they are lying. Interviewers are well-trained to know the importance of someone who makes good eye contact, so make sure you hold steady, confident eye contact with the interviewer.
  3. Remember Their Name: Begin your interview by repeating their names. "Thank you for having me, Kim," and use it periodically throughout the interview. Each time you use their name, they will focus more on what you are saying. Plus, they will note that you find people's names important; this is important in any sales or business setting.

Prepare for Your Interview: Do Research

  1. Know The Company: One of the best ways to impress an employer is to educate yourself about the business. If they notice that you already have a working knowledge of their business, they will realize you have a sincere interest in their company. If they see you know about the company, it is easier for them to see you working for them. It is also essential, because a common interview question is, "What do you know about the company?" Therefore it is necessary to have an answer ready. Look up their website and read a little bit about them.
  2. Know The Position: Also, know what the position you are interviewing for entails, which will help you understand how to word your answers to their interview questions. If you know what the business is about or the job is like, you will have a better idea if this is a job that you would even be interested in. You don't want to waste both your time and the prospective employers' time if you know it's a company or position you know you don't want to work for.
  3. Bring An Extra Copy of Your Resume: This will show them that you come prepared, you are responsible, thoughtful, and who knows, maybe they misplaced yours, and they will be grateful you have another one they can look at while they interview you.
  4. Dress For Success: If you are interviewing for a waitress job, don't dress all business, show that you are fun, and your customers will like you, which doesn't mean jeans and a t-shirt, but a three-piece back suit is probably not a wise choice. If you are interviewing for a secretarial position, show that your attire can be professional and business-like. Leave it to your personality to show your fun side.

Interview at Job Fair

No matter where you have your interview, make sure you always dress and act professional.
No matter where you have your interview, make sure you always dress and act professional. | Source

Interviewing Skill

  • Play to Your Audience: In some ways, we need to be like a chameleon. I'm not saying be someone you are not, but enhance the qualities in yourself that fits the position you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to be a caretaker, you would want to show your warm, soft, friendly side, whereas if you are applying at a bank, you want to show your professional, friendly side. Pay close attention to the interviewer. If they are more sweet-natured, show your softer side. Whereas if they have the take-no-crap attitude, show your confidence, I am in complete control personality. Mirror, to a degree, the nature of the interviewer, while also being yourself. But don't deceive them of who you are. You don't want them hiring you for a position you are not equipped for. The easier it is for them to relate to you, the better they will like you, upping your chances for a second interview, or even being hired.

Dress the Part

For men, where a suit and jacket, woman should wear a plain dress suit.
For men, where a suit and jacket, woman should wear a plain dress suit. | Source

Focus on the Positives

  • Be Positive About Past Employers: Most likely, your past employment will come up. I'm sure there were people you didn't like in your employment past, but be very careful not to sound like you are bad-mouthing them. If you rant at all about your old job, they will assume you are going to have a bad attitude about your new career. Or you may be viewed as someone who does not get along well with others. Make sure even if you are forced to talk about the negative aspects of past employment, put a positive spin on it. For instance, instead of saying, "My old boss was such a jerk, I had to get out of there. I wanted to go where people treat you right," say, "Well, I did quit my last employment, because my boss was verbally abusive. I felt it was in my best interest to find a job that had a mutually respectful atmosphere, where conflicts could be resolved through discussion." But beware, they will undoubtedly dig into what kind of conflicts you had, and did you try to resolve them professionally. There is a very fine line between being honest and bad-mouthing. Tread it carefully.
  • Be Positive When Talking About Yourself: Another way to focus on the positives is when they ask for your weakness. Don't just say, "My biggest weakness is my shyness. I feel awkward when I am in a group of strangers" Instead say something like, "My biggest weakness would be my shyness, although I have worked on it and have found that I have become more comfortable in group settings. Learning to speak my mind was very difficult for me several years ago, but now I feel my shyness allows me to have better discretion and more tact when speaking up." By telling them that you are trying to work on your weakness, they see that you are going to strive to be the best person you can. If you are willing to work on that trait, you are going to be working on others as well.

Jop Interview Tips Video

© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz


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