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Interview Prep: What To Know & Questions To Ask In 2023

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You’ve applied to countless jobs, finally got an interview, and now you’re freaking out. What will they ask? How should you answer?

Don’t worry! You’re not the only one struggling with interview anxiety.

Thankfully, we’ve cultivated a comprehensive interview prep guide to help you tackle every question with confidence.

Why Is Interviewee Preparation Before an Interview Important?

Interview preparation is the best way to impress the hiring team and land your dream job.

The better you’ve prepared for an interview, the better you’ll feel about the interview process.

Helps You Feel More in Control

If you ever tried to “wing it” through an interview, you know how many things can go wrong.

It’s too easy to say the wrong thing or stumble over an answer trying to figure out what the hiring team wants to hear.

Things tend to devolve quickly when you don’t commit to pre-interview research.  

While you can’t predict everything the interviewer will ask, you can arm yourself with enough knowledge and insights to cover any gaps.

Doing your homework ahead of time means you enter the interview with an arsenal of information to carefully craft every question.

Boosts Your Confidence

You probably wouldn’t give a sales pitch or presentation without preparation.

That’s all an interview is, a sales pitch to the hiring team for why the company should hire you.

Knowing you’re in control of the interview and having plenty of information in your back pocket to field any question is a massive confidence boost.

What do you have to stress about if you feel ready to answer anything they throw at you?

Gives You Answers to Pull From

Part of interview preparation involves learning what questions interviewers ask.

You can learn about specific questions based on your industry by searching for sample interview questions.

Once you have a list of possible questions, it’s easy to formulate a short list of key points for each question.

Make sure you only use sample answers as guidelines and customize your response with information relevant to your background.

Helps You Make a Good Impression

When you walk into the interview looking and sounding confident and in control, it’s easy to make an excellent first impression.

Then, you field questions easily by providing insightful responses that reflect how you researched the potential employer.

Who wouldn’t be impressed?

On the flip side, if you know nothing about the company or the position, it’s probably a one-way ticket to the reject pile.

How Can You Impress an Interviewer?

Part of the interview preparation process entails general pointers that impress an interviewer and make you a memorable candidate.

While some things might sound basic, failing at these points can leave a negative impression on the hiring manager.

Give a Strong Handshake

When you first meet the interviewer, offer to shake hands.

Make sure your hand is firm but not too tight to set the tone for what’s to come.

A weak handshake can make you appear less confident and conjure several unfavorable impressions in the interviewer’s mind.

Plus, initiating a handshake says you’re respectful and a go-getter.

Be Calm and Collected

While you can’t control every response, like a flush in your cheeks, you can manage some habits, like tapping your fingers.

Maintaining your composure and answering questions evenly is crucial.

Interviews can be stressful enough, but some industries purposely toss in distractions and disruptions to see if you can handle them.

This approach lets the interviewer see how you respond in these situations.

Be sure you take everything in stride throughout the process.

Show Your Enthusiasm

While you don’t want to jump up and down gesturing like a maniac, don’t be afraid to showcase your excitement at the opportunity.

You could easily stand out from other candidates who don’t seem as happy or grateful for the interview.

It could help you land the job.

Answer Questions Thoughtfully

When the interviewer asks you a question, take a few moments to compose your answer.

It demonstrates active listening skills and gives you a second to tackle the question succinctly.

If possible, include details about the specific company.

You may be skilled in multiple areas and can help the company more than another applicant.

Ask Good Questions

An interview is also a time for you to learn about the company and whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

Knowing the right questions to ask can help you determine if you still want this job.

Consider asking about the environment and work culture, turnover rate, and other factors that weren’t covered previously.

Let Your Personality Shine Through

Your personality makes you unique and shows interviewers something about your soft skills.

The hiring manager knows their company culture and can determine if you’ll fit with the team or not.

While it’s important to remain professional throughout the interview, showing your fun, outgoing side can go a long way.

What Is the Best Interview Prep?

Now that you understand the importance of preparing for your interview, you probably want to know how to do it properly.

Find an Outfit That Makes You Feel Confident

Start with your appearance and the impression you hope to make on the hiring team.

Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident yet comfortable.

How formally you dress is dependent on the type of interview you have.

For example, an office job might require a relatively plain suit or matching separates while a casual or creative site might prefer colors or patterns that showcase your personality.

Look Over Practice Questions

It will help if you prepare the answers to the questions that the interviewer could ask you.

Think about the position and the industry and run an internet search for sample questions.

Make notes for each question about relevant facts and background information that could help you craft answers.

Take time to study the questions and answers and focus on key points so that you don’t get too long-winded.

Practice Answering Questions

Take things a step further by asking a friend or family member to role-play with you and ask random questions from your list.

It can help you formulate better answers and get feedback on what works and what you need to improve.

Make sure your answers sound organic and cover essential points without sounding rehearsed or robotic.

Look Over Your Resume and Accomplishments

Your interviewer is bound to ask about what you’ve done in your career and may request specifics.

That means you need to refresh yourself on what’s included in your resume, especially if you recently updated it.

Now is also the time to make changes and updates if you haven’t refreshed your resume in a while.

Interview Prep Questions and Answers

If you do a basic internet search for sample interview questions and answers, you’re probably going to get over inundated with off-topic options.

It helps to tailor your search and break queries into sections.

What Are the Most Common Interview Questions and Answers?

Common interview questions cover the basics and generally let you and the interviewer warm up to each other a bit.

  • Tell me one thing about you.
  • What made you apply for this position?
  • Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.
  • What do you know about our company?

Prepare for these questions by studying up on the company beforehand and making lists of key things you want to showcase about yourself.

For example, choose a weakness that won’t prevent you from doing the job but will showcase self-awareness, like trouble with delegating tasks or difficulty with managing work-life balance.

What Are the Hardest Interview Questions?

Some of the toughest interview questions to answer sound simple enough, like asking about your greatest weakness or things you didn’t like about your last job.

You don’t want to sound negative or provide a reason for them to pass on you, so it’s easy to skirt the question.

However, failing to answer these questions can come across as you having something to hide.

It’s better to prepare a few solid answers that have truth to them but leave the door open for improvement.

What Are Killer Questions?

Killer questions will be more challenging than the hard questions because they typically come out of left field.

These questions were intended to trip you up and give the interviewer better insight into you as a person and employee.

For example, the interviewer might ask what you think the company should be doing better.

That’s a slippery slope and they know it, but it’s your chance to showcase what you might be able to improve for the company.

What Are Tips for Preparing for an Interview?

It takes time to prepare for an interview, so it’s best to start as soon as you schedule one.

As you work through the above steps, there are some additional tips to keep in mind to make the best possible showing.

Tell the Truth Without Embellishing

One of the worst things you can do is lie to make yourself look better. If you get the job, you’ll have to maintain that lie.

And if you don’t get the job, lying could be the reason if the interviewer could tell you lied.

Get There Early

Try to arrive at the interview location at least 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.

This will give you time to find the place if you get lost or if traffic is worse than you expected.

Getting there early can also make you look professional to the staff and give you a moment to relax.

Even if you have to wait a while for the interviewer, the secretary may tell them you were early, which could help you make a good impression.

Learn Everything You Can About the Job and Position

Go on the company’s website to learn about its mission and vision.

Use job search sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to read reviews of current and former employees.

You can get a better idea of the company culture and use what you learn to help tailor your answers.

Figure Out Your Selling Points

Think about what makes you unique and the best candidate for the job, especially experiences that didn’t make it onto your resume.

For example, maybe you’re applying for a Spanish translator job and spent a semester abroad.

You could use that experience to showcase that you have a better understanding of the dialect of the country where you studied.

Research the Typical Salary Range for the Position

You should look into how much people in similar roles earn. You can do this on Indeed, Glassdoor, and other websites.

Another option is to go through the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

If you know the average, it can help you negotiate in or after an interview, and it can also give you an idea of whether the company is offering a competitive starting rate.

Get Familiar With the STAR Method

STAR refers to a situation, task, action, and result. The acronym helps you remember what steps to include when answering interview questions.

You can use this method when answering questions about a challenging situation. That way, you can hit all the key points and show how you got through the scenario.

Write Down Questions You Have for Them

As you research the company, you may come up with some questions you want to ask.

Make a list on your phone or a piece of paper and bring it to the interview because you might not remember them when you’re on the spot.

Print Out Your Resume and Reference List

The interviewer may have a copy of your resume and references.

However, having a copy on hand to share with them looks professional and demonstrates preparedness.

It’s also a way to slip in an updated copy of your resume.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider a few queries you may have about interview prep.

What is the STAR method when interviewing?

The STAR method is a method you can use to answer situational questions in an interview. Each letter represents a step to help you give a comprehensive response.

What are 2 good interview questions to prepare for?

You should prepare to tell the interviewer about yourself. Another good interview question to keep in mind is, “why do you want this job?”

Wrapping Up

Interview prep may seem like a waste of time but it could be the difference between landing the job and ending up in the reject pile.

Taking the right approach to interview preparation can boost your confidence, help you feel in control of the process, and ensure you impress the hiring team.

Do you still have questions? Please leave them in the comments below.

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