P is for Preparation: How to Successfully Prepare for a Job Interview
You applied for your dream job. After a few days of anticipation, the hiring manager finally contacts you to schedule an interview! Congratulations! You’re literally jumping for joy when panic suddenly hits you. You haven’t interviewed in a while and now you’re more nervous than excited.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. To ensure your interview goes well, follow these steps to successfully prepare for your interview.
Know who you’re meeting
It is essential to know who you’ll be interviewing with. Get a list of who you’ll be meeting with and try and learn more about them. Jump on LinkedIn and see if you have anything in common with your interviewers.
Did you graduate from the same school? Do you volunteer your time at the same charity? These are things that can help you build a connection with your interviewers and leave a lasting impression.
Knowing who you’re interviewing with will also allow you to create specific questions for each interviewer. Try to think of a question for each interviewer that will give you a better idea of the employer and the job itself. Ask questions that prove you’ve done your homework and you’re more than excited about the opportunity!
Memorizing the job description
It’s an essential part of interview preparation to know the job description like the back of your hand. As you review the job description, jot down some notes on what the company is looking for in a candidate.
Once you understand what the employer is looking for, you can use this information to prepare your answers to the stereotypical interview questions. The key is to tie your answers back to the job description. This preparation will help you successfully answer both job-specific and behavioral interview questions that are designed to see if you are a good fit for both the company and the position.
This will ultimately reinforce the idea that you’re a great fit for the job and you’re a good fit for the organization.
Dress for success
We’ve all heard of the saying “dress to impress.” Your interview is often your first impression with the hiring manager, so you need to dress for the occasion! What you decide to wear is a crucial part of your preparation for your interview.
You must choose an outfit that’s appropriate for the type of job you’re applying for. This doesn’t always mean a skirt and a blouse for women or a suit and tie for men. The key is to review your wardrobe ahead of time and dress one step up from everyday office attire.
If you don’t know what the attire of the office is like, jump on LinkedIn and try and find a picture of people in the office to get an idea. If all else fails, dress in business attire.
It’s essential to have your wardrobe picked out beforehand. Please don’t wait until the last minute to pick your outfit! This is your chance to shine! Make sure your shoes are appropriate for your outfit, your shirt is wrinkle free, and everything is clean.
Pro tip: have your outfit picked out and ironed the night before. That will take one thing off your plate and alleviate some of your stress!
What to bring to your job interview
What you bring with you to your interview is essential to setting a great first impression. You should always bring a folder with extra copies of your resume to hand out to interviewers that may not have been given the chance to glance at it.
It’s also helpful to bring a list of questions for the interviewers. This will help your interview go smoothly and you’ll avoid any awkwardly stumbling when asked: “do you have any questions for us?”
I would also suggest bringing a notepad and pen to jot down notes during your interview. Just be sure to ask their interviewers if it’s okay to do so. Write down any questions that pop up in your mind as the interviewers discuss the job and company. It’s also helpful to write down the interviewers’ names so you can follow up with a thank you note to each of them afterward!
Knowing what not to bring is just as important. Before you even enter the building, take the gum out your mouth. Leave anything that may distract you or the interviewers in your car. Turn your phone off so it doesn’t awkwardly go off during your interview. Trust us, we’ve seen it all (including a candidate interviewing with chewing tobacco in their mouth).