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Preparing for an Interview 101

Updated on January 11, 2016

What do you Wear?

So, it is the day of your interview, what are you going to wear? Well, that depends on the kind of interview you have. If you are interviewing for for a retail job, business causal will be sufficient. Khakis, and nice blouse, and shoes. If you are interviewing for a more professional job then you might want to dress it up a little more.

Ladies should wear either black slacks or a skirt that is to the knees. A nice blouse with a jacket, or a dress with a jacket. Even if panty hose aren't your normal 'thing' but you might want to strongly consider wearing them. Shoes are also very important, black or nude pumps are considered professional as are simple flats. Now is not the time to break out the highest heeled boots in your closet. And tight fitting clothes are not appropriate for this occasion, clothes should not be too revealing or too loose.

Make up is also a good thing to consider. Foundation, mascara, and some form of coloration for lips are nice and professional. This is not the day to try that new eyeshadow or make up meant for the club. Don't go too heavy on any one bit of make up. While we are talking about accessories lets consider jewelry. Bigger isn't better. Something simple that doesn't clash with your outfit. You are trying to make yourself look presentable and professional. Hair is also a big statement. You don't want your hair hanging in your face. Either have it pulled back or styled nicely.

I typically wear a black skirt with a black jacket, paired with a nice colored blouse with black pumps. I stay on the more natural side with my make up, and I typicality wear pearl studs with a simple pearl pendant. Most of the time I have half of my hair pulled back into a bun. Professional and it allows me to sell my skills without selling myself.

Gentlemen you are lucky. For first jobs, like retail jobs, business causal is perfect. Khakis and a nice button-down shirt. You don't need a tie or jacket. Of course nice shoes, either black or brown are a good plus. For a more professional job you are going to need a jacket and a tie. A fresh face is always appreciated. If you are not going to completely shave your face at least make sure what facial hair you have is well kept. This is also not a time to have on heavy amounts of after shave or cologne. The interviewer shouldn't be able to smell yo before they meet you.

If you have any visible tattoos make sure they are covered, or appear in good taste. Now is not the time to be showing them off, no matter how proud you are of them. If you have any piercings on your face or a plethora of ear piercings you might want to strongly consider taking them out.

The Interview

So, you have an interview? That's fantastic! That means that you are one step closer to getting that job. You should feel proud of yourself, you applied for a job and you impressed the hiring staff enough to be selected for an opportunity to compete even further for that job. Out of the possible hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants you stood out. That says something. Even if you don't get the job, that is something to celebrate.

Once you have called to set up an interview make sure you remember the date. Make note if it is a phone or in person interview. I recommend setting a reminder on your phone or computer. I personally set my reminders for 15 minutes earlier than when the interview is set to begin. That way I know that I will be on time. We all know that life happens, and that interviews can make your day a little more stressful. What if you spill coffee on your white shirt the morning of your interview? Well you can relax, you have set yourself up to have a little wiggle room in your schedule.

Make sure that you have an outfit picked out. Make sure that it is something professional and won't distract from your personality. Then you can take a deep breath and start to prepare.


So, you have an outfit picked out and a date set. Now all you need to do is prepare. What exactly do I mean by that? Start by researching the company you are applying to work for. What is their mission? What exactly do they do? Why will you be a good fit there? Why do you want to work for them? These are all questions that they are going to ask you. And I can tell you this: saying that you have always dreamed of working there isn't going to cut it.

Research common interview questions. Every field of work has its own unique interview questions. For example in my field they are going to ask specific questions about filtration, animals, and how you would handle specific emergency situations. For a computer engineer the questions will mostly be based on technology. Research will help you. Ask those in your field for assistance. Find out what sort of questions to expect. Because trust me, there is nothing worse than being caught off guard during an interview.

A lot of employers will expect you to know some basic information about the company you are interviewing with. Keep that in mind as you prepare for your interview.

What is the worse part of interviews?

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Stay Calm

I know more than anyone how nerve wracking interviews can be. But, it is important not to show how nervous you are. You want to show your potential employer that you can handle difficult situations. You want them to know that you can think on your feet. Don't let them see you sweat. After all, you have prepped, you are in your best clothes, and you know that you have what it takes to get this job.

What do you do After?

So you have finished the interview, now what do you do? Simple, thank them for their time and leave. Make sure that you leave with their contact information. The next morning sit down at your computer and write an email. You want to thank them again for their time and reiterate how much you look forward to working there. If you have anything else that you want to say to make your case stronger now is the time to say it. Make sure to keep the email polite and professional.

Now you wait. Now is not the time to go quitting your current job or go spending money you don't have yet. You have not gotten the job yet. Wait patiently until you get a phone call and an offer letter.

What if you Don't Get it?

So, after all of that you didn't get the job. Don't despair, there are other jobs out there. This one just wasn't meant to be, but that doesn't mean that you should give up. Stay positive and keep trying. You will get there someday.

Interview Prep Websites

There are plenty of websites out there that offer advice for interview preparation. Monster is one of my favorite sites, it has everything from resume help to two weeks notice advice. Career builder is another website that is of help.

© 2014 Alexandria


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