Job interviewing should be considered a skill, and just like any other skill, it requires a good amount of practice in order to become efficient at it. Therefore, it stands to reason that any job you apply for is going to require a sufficient amount of preparation beforehand so that you can nail that interview. Although every interview will be different, there are certain universal things you can expect and properly prepare for.
Before going into any interview, you should conduct plenty of research on the company you are applying for and the person interviewing you. The actual interview is not the time to ask questions like, “What does the company do?” or “What is your role in the company?” You should already know those answers beforehand, and if you ask them to the hiring manager, it will be a clear indication that you are completely unprepared.
If you are interviewing for a job right out of college, then you should see if your university has an alumni network. Contacting people from your school who have worked at the job you are applying for can give you valuable insight into the company culture you would not have learned otherwise. This is a great chance to go into the interview better informed and to see if the job is a good match for who you are as an individual.
Preparing for Common Interview Questions
Every interviewer will ask different questions, so there is no way to be certain of what you will need to talk about. However, you should be ready to talk about certain aspects about your skillset and personal experiences. You should be prepared to talk about why you are interested in working for this company and why you want the position. You should be ready to talk about your accomplishments and provide examples from your previous places of employment of when you showed leadership or conflict resolution skills.
You also need to prepare to answer questions that you may not necessarily want to answer. Examples of these questions include:
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
- Why do you have a low GPA?
- Why have you had so many jobs in the last year?
These questions are very easy to slip up on. You obviously do not want to portray yourself in a negative light, so you need to answer these questions in a way where you admit to your shortcomings but spin them in a way that turns them into positives.
The best way to have the most ideal answer possible to common questions is to have a friend or family member interview you beforehand. They can give you advice on ways you can improve upon your interview style and tell you what they thought of your responses. You can also record yourself conducting a mock interview so that you can listen for any pauses or ramblings. Hearing your answers played back for you is an excellent way to pick up certain problems you may not have been aware of before.
Job Interview Preparation (The Day Of)
Once you are ready to answer any question thrown at you, there are just a few more things to take care of before going in. You should make sure you get plenty of rest the night before. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to shower and brush your teeth. Make sure you have appropriate attire that is suitable for the kind of job you are interviewing for.
It is imperative that you know how long it will take you to drive to your interview. You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, so be aware of how much time you will need and take into account any traffic that could potentially slow you down. Be prepared to get the business card of your interviewer, and make sure to send a thank you note within 24 hours.
Job interviews can be tricky, especially if you are a student going on your first ones or if you have not had an interview in a while. By conducting adequate job interview preparation, you will feel a lot more confident in your abilities to answer anything asked of you. Confidence is an important quality many hiring managers look for, so do your homework and you will be in a much better position to land the job.