Job Interview Preparation: Advice and 8 Useful Tips
The Importance of Job Interviews
Imagine: You walk into a grand office building, like the ones in the photo showing the Philadelphia skyline. You are meeting with a potential employer. It’s your interview. You are nervous. You are concerned about putting your best foot forward. But you do just that; one step at a time—you walk through the door.
Job interviews can be terrifying. However, with a bit of preparation, you can be sure you gave it your best shot. I worked with dozens of clients over the years as a rehabilitation counselor to help them get ready for job interviews. Below is information which should help you get ready for such an important event:
What to Expect and Know About Interviews
The employer conducts an interview for several notable reasons. These reasons include:
- The company wants to see if you are a good “fit” for their business interests. The firm has to determine if you will be a productive and capable part of their team. The interview provides the employer with some idea if that will be the case.
- The employer wants to examine your ability to communicate with others. The only way this could be ascertained is through a face to face meeting, which is what the interview provides. Often, the immediate supervisor of the open position is present during most interviews. This is because he/she needs to determine if the interviewee will interact well with the teams already at the company.
- The employer wants to discuss in detail your education and work experience. Questions will be asked for you to answer. This is because often a resume doesn’t give all the information about you. The employer wants to explore any questions that the resume didn’t clarify.
Things for You to Do to Prepare for the Interview
- Study the company before the interview. Read up on the products and/or services the business provides.
- If possible, learn about the type of work you want to do by talking with others who do that particular job at the company. You may find more people who do similar work at other companies to talk to about the job as well.
- Dress appropriately. A good rule is to dress like you have the job. Who knows? The employer may want you to start the same day.
- Don’t fidget during the interview. You may be nervous, but try to keep the people conducting the interview from noticing. (Hint: They already know the interview can be an anxiety-inducing situation.)
- Pay attention to questions. Try to answer thoughtfully.
- Give good eye contact without staring.
- Smile occasionally. Frowning frequently may not convey a positive message during the interview. Remember: An interview is about first impressions. You only have one chance to communicate who you are to those interviewing you.
- Be polite and courteous throughout the interview. Remember: Even if the employer does not hire you, there may be more openings coming. You would want the employer to remember you.
Will you try the eight tips above in your job search?
How Do I Know What's Appropriate Interview Preparation?
Indeed, preparing for the interview is essential. However, overdoing your research can be catastrophic. You want to be able to discuss your work experience intelligently without bragging. You also don’t want to sound like you are a salesperson either. Conduct enough research to the point that you know what to expect. If possible, engage in a mock interview with a trusted friend to fine-tune your responses visually and orally. Here are some considerations when preparing for an interview:
Three Important Considerations When Preparing for a Job Interview
- Will you be interviewing with one person or a group? This will determine whether you will need to be ready to respond to various levels of questions from different individuals or deal directly with one person. For example, a departmental head and direct supervisor may have slightly different questions to ask you during the interview. Try to have copies of your resume ready to give to your interviewers.
- Study information about major accomplishments of the organization. Know about what the company has achieved. Be sure to have some idea of the core products and/or services provided by the organization. Practice explaining how your qualifications and experience match with what the company has done. Be prepared to explain how your abilities and skills will be beneficial for the future prosperity of the company as well
- Will your interview be at the job site or via video? Just as interviewing in a face-to-face scenario can be revealing, posture, verbal and nonverbal cues, and dress are crucial elements when engaged in a video interview. When utilizing these tips together, you stand a better chance of landing the job you desire.
According to some research, employers rank effective communications as a desired ability. Which one of these will you do to improve communications for the interview?
- Bolles, R. N. (2018). "What Color Is Your Parachute?" 2019: A practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers. California: Ten Speed Press.
- McGowan, B., Bowman, A., & Bowman, A. (2016). "Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time." New York, NY: Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.