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How To Prepare For A Job Interview: Best Practices & Tips For 2023

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Are you feeling jittery about your next interview? You’re not alone.

A recent survey found that 93% of job candidates experience interview anxiety. The need to create a good first impression mounts tremendous pressure on candidates.

Remember acing an interview isn’t only about answering questions correctly. Your attitude, ability to communicate, poise, and social skills are evaluated alongside your education and experience.

As such, adequate preparation is necessary. If you were recently shortlisted for a job interview, read on to find out how to prepare for a job interview.

Having experience and the proper qualification is only a part of succeeding in an interview. You must converse with the interviewer to exchange information and ideas about the role.

Since dialogue happens during the interview to determine if you are a good fit for the company and whether your goals align with the company’s, preparation is critical to find out about all such aspects.

Why Should You Prepare for a Job Interview?

Are you still wondering why you need to prepare for an interview? Here are more reasons:

Boost Your Confidence

Adequate preparation helps you anticipate what to expect in an interview.

You know the questions to prepare for being asked, which boosts your confidence and shows your ability to take on routine tasks and new challenges.

As a result, you increase your chances of success.

Feel More in Control of the Interview

You’re more likely to feel out of control, underperform, or get stressed when you aren’t prepared.

Proper preparation makes it easy for you to control anxiety when walking into the interview room and have the upper hand compared to those who aren’t prepared.

Make a Strong Impression

Preparation helps you make a great and lasting impression on the interviewer. It shows your dedication to the company and indicates a genuine interest in the position.

As such, you increase your chances of making a lasting impression and getting hired.

Reduce the Chance of Feeling Caught Off Guard

During the preparation, you may come across common questions interviewers ask.

Knowing and understanding how to answer them gives you an edge over other candidates while boosting your confidence.

Help it Go Smoothly

An interview flows smoothly when you’re prepared. You know the questions an interviewer might ask and how to answer them, leaving little chance for error.

Since preparation also involves researching the company’s background, you won’t find many new issues that need clarification.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Preparing for an interview is more than knowing the most common interview questions. Learning more about the company, its objectives, and its mission is important. Here are some interview tips and tricks to help you prepare:

Research the Company and Position

The first step is to research the company. Find out what they do, their business model, the industry they work, and if it’s a good fit for you.

Often, candidates look at the information the company shows on its social media account and website and fail to do in-depth research.

Such sources of information hardly provide a detailed overview of the company’s products or services, mission, values, goals, and objectives. You can only find such information on the company’s official website, blog posts, or news articles.

Part of the research should also involve reviewing the position. It helps determine what the company is looking for in the candidate and prepare for specific questions.

Also, you can discuss your skills and experience in a way relevant to the company’s position.

Research the Interviewer

In most cases, the candidate hardly knows many details about the interviewer; it doesn’t mean you should be oblivious to them. Ask about their roles and prepare questions specific to them.

Also, find out about the current events related to their fields. Sometimes bringing up common interests you may have away from the office is a great way to create a rapport.

Research Salaries for Similar Jobs

You’ll likely be asked about your salary expectations and need to be prepared.

You don’t want to sell yourself short or give a figure too high to disqualify you. Salary research may help you give a rough estimate based on your experience and skills.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid giving a specific number; instead, explain your openness to negotiate the salary based on the responsibilities.

If you must provide a number, emphasize the value you’re bringing to the company and quote a figure that reflects it.

Figure Out What Kind of Interview You’re in For

Since there are different types of interviews, it’s essential to know the kind you’re in for.

The most common is the traditional interview, where one interviewer asks you a series of questions. It helps the interviewer determine if you’re a great candidate for the job.

Other companies prefer video or phone interviews to find out if you’re an ideal candidate for the position before inviting you for a full interview.

Whatever the case, asking the recruiter about the interview format beforehand helps you prepare adequately.

Look Over Common Interview Questions

Interviewers are likely to ask common questions like:

  • Tell us about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Explain a scenario that required you to go above and beyond your regular duties

Prepare answers for such questions adequately to avoid fumbling when answering them. You could write a few notes to refresh your memory and ensure you cover all the points.

Proper preparation also clarifies your thoughts and makes you more comfortable during the interview.

It would help if you conducted a mock interview with a friend or family member. The premise is to practice answering basic questions while boosting your confidence.

However, you must be careful not to sound rehearsed when answering questions during the interview.

Look Over Your Resume and Documents

You want to have all your documents in case the interviewer needs them. Check that you have your resume and other documents like your CV, transcripts, and certificates.

Select a Professional Outfit

You want to dress appropriately because even the little things like your outfit count when going for an interview.

A well-ironed professional outfit creates a great impression on your interviewer, showing you have a certain sense of awareness and attention to detail.

If wearing a suit, have it tailored to your size, but if going for a more casual look, ensure it’s clean, fit, and pressed.

The outfit must not be too distracting, revealing, or controversial. You want the interviewer to focus on your qualifications, not clothing.

Figure Out How to Get to the Interview

The company’s location might not always be precise. It’s up to you to find out its location before D’Day. You don’t want to arrive late or appear scattered because you couldn’t find the company’s location.

Buy the required tickets early, fill up the tank if you’re driving, and carry some extra cash or anything that could slow you down when going for the interview.

A good rule of thumb is to arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview. It creates a good impression on the interviewer and gives you enough time to settle and fill out any paperwork.

Print Out Your Resume and References

You may be required to provide copies of your resume to the interviewer so you want to print it out beforehand. It makes it easy to refer to the document when giving examples.

You also need to provide a list of professional or personal references. Such people should be able to attest to your skills and abilities.

What to Bring to a Job Interview

You don’t want to show up at the interview room empty-handed. The interviewer might assume you’re uninterested in the position or aren’t organized. Here are some items you should consider bringing to a job interview:

  • Your Resume: Carry at least three copies of your resume- two copies for the interviewer and other panelists in the room and yours for making references. Store them in a separate folder, so they’re accessible and don’t bend or wrinkle easily.
  • Your Reference Sheet: Have a list of references showing people who can vouch for you. If you don’t have much work experience, provide contacts of people you’ve worked with in volunteer projects. Community leaders and former teachers are excellent examples of people who can confirm your commitment and work ethic.
  • Directions: You don’t want to arrive at the interview late because you didn’t have accurate directions. If using public transportation, add an hour or two to account for delays or unexpected interruptions. And if you’re still running late, call the company or recruiter and let them know.
  • A Briefcase: A briefcase helps you organize and carry the documents without appearing burdened. Be sure to pick one that holds everything together and still looks professional.
  • Breath Mints or Gum: Oral hygiene is integral to your overall look, so you want to pack a packet of gum or mints to keep your breath fresh. You may also bring a bottle of mouthwash and ensure it’s sealed in a leakproof container to avoid spilling.
  • Floss: Add floss to your oral hygiene items. It helps you remove plaque along the gum line and between the teeth leaving your teeth sparkling clean.
  • Your ID: Some buildings require visitors to show their Identification cards to prove they’re on the interview list. You want to have your ID in hand to avoid unnecessary delays.
  • Water: The interviewer may offer something to drink, but it’s best to be prepared. Bring a water bottle and a quick snack to keep your energy up after the interview.
  • A Notepad and Pen: While most interviews involve dialogue, you may need to write down some details. Carrying a pen and a notepad shows you’re prepared for any eventualities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How early should you get to a job interview?

It would help if you arrived 10-15 minutes before the interview. The buffer time allows you to address unexpected delays or interruptions ahead of time.

What should I not say in an interview?

You must avoid saying negative things about your previous job or employer, discussing vacation and benefits, or answering-I don’t know.

Wrapping Up

With these points, knowing how to prepare for a job interview will no longer be nerve-wracking.

Having researched the company and the interviewer, acquainted yourself with the most common questions, and groomed correctly, you’ve all the confidence required to succeed in an interview. Don’t forget to follow up afterward.

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