Preparing for an interview primarily means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the position and employer. To accomplish this, you should perform research on the company and carefully review the job description to understand why you would be a good fit. Let’s look at the steps to preparing for an interview.
1. Carefully examine the job description
During your prep work, you should use the employer’s posted job description as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give you ideas about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.
2. Consider why you are interviewing and your qualifications
Before your interview, you should have a good understanding of why you want the job and why you’re qualified. You should be prepared to explain your interest in the opportunity and why you’re the best person for the role.
3. Perform research on the company and role
Researching the company you’re applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, but it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.
Researching the company and role as much as possible will give you an edge over the competition. Not only that, but fully preparing for an interview will help you remain calm so that you can be at your best. Here are a few things you should know before you walk into your interview:
4. Consider your answers to common interview questions
While you won’t be able to predict every question you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do and what you want.
There are some jobs that may involve a test or evaluation during the interview process. For example, if you are interviewing for a computer programming, development or analytics role, you might also be asked to write or evaluate lines of code. It might be helpful to consult with colleagues in the industry for examples of tests they’ve been given to prepare.
You should also prepare to discuss your salary expectations, just in case. If you’re unsure about what salary is appropriate to ask for the position you’re applying to, visit Indeed’s Salary Calculator to get a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience.
5. Practice your speaking voice and body language
It’s important to make a positive and lasting impression during the interview process. You can do this by practicing a confident, strong speaking voice and friendly, open body language. While these might come naturally to you, you might also want to spend time performing them with trusted friends or family or in front of a mirror. Pay special attention to your smile, handshake and stride.
To learn more about interview body language, consider the following resources
6. Prepare several thoughtful questions for the interviewer(s)
Many employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position. You should take time before the interview to prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that show you’ve researched the company and are well-versed about the position. Some examples of questions you could ask include:
What does a typical day look like for a person in this position?
Why do you enjoy working here?
What qualities do your most successful employees have?
I’ve really enjoyed learning more about this opportunity. What are the next steps in the hiring process?
7. Sell yourself
One of the biggest challenges in an interview is selling yourself. Most people are uncomfortable with this idea, but presenting yourself accurately and positively doesn’t have to feel like a sale. The truth is that you do have professional skills and experiences that may set you apart from other applicants, so it’s acceptable and expected for you to acknowledge them to your potential employer.
When you prepare for a job interview, make note of your skills that relate to the role and think of how your experiences and abilities can contribute to the overall goals of the department and company. Your answers will be somewhat short, so you want to choose the most positive and relevant information to share during the interview.
Whatever accomplishments you have, don’t be modest (but be truthful) about sharing them during your interview. Your potential employer wants to know that you’ll be the right fit and that you can deliver something to the company, so they need to know all the reasons that you can provide that for them.
Finally, hope for the best and reach out to the organization with a follow up note if you have not gotten a favourable response yet.