So the call has come in and you’ve finally gotten that much anticipated job interview. What do you do now? Run out and celebrate with your friends or make sure that you are both physically and mentally prepared to do your very best on your big interview day? Being prepared for your job interview can be the difference in whether you get the job or not.
An interviewer can easily tell which candidates for the job came in prepared, and which ones are just winging it. By making sure that you are both mentally and physically prepared for your job interview, you give yourself a much better chance at coming in a winner.
Here are 50 tips for before, during, and after a job interview to make sure that you are completely prepared for the entire interview process.
- Take time to visit the company’s location: Spend some time looking around and get familiar with the layout of the building and how things are set up.
- Visit the company website: These days, even many small businesses have their own webpage. Look over their website and familiarise yourself the information that is there.
- Get to know what services the company provides: Do they sell products? Spend a little time learning about what products they sell, or what services they perform.
- Do a general search for the company on the web: Using a search engine, search for information related to the company. You may be surprised at just how much you can learn about a company be doing a simple search.
- Chat with other employees: While you are at the business looking around, try and spend a little time talking with other employees. See how they like their jobs, etc. Of course, this conversation should be very general, and you should avoid mentioning that you are interviewing for a position in the company.
- Reach out for other connections: Do you have friends and family that have worked there? Do they know anyone that has or does currently work there? Ask them if they have any information regarding working for, or just generally about the company.
- Understand what the job is you are applying for: If you are not quite sure what the job title you have applied for means, research this information before going to your interview. It will not look very good if you go into the interview and do not even know what you will be doing.
- Clarify company expectations: You should also make sure you know the expectations of the job you will be performing. Will you be expected to be on call? Is overtime required? If this is not information that you can readily find, note down your questions to ask the interviewer at the time of your appointment.
- Find out what the business hours are: This information can be easily found. Find out what days the company is open, and what hours they are open. Are they opened on holidays? Knowing this information can better help prepare you for questions the interviewer may have regarding your availability.
- Find out who the top names in the business are: Who was the founder? Is there a CEO of the company? Knowing who the higher-ups are can help prevent you from giving the interviewer that dreaded blank stare when they start mentioning important names.
- Visualise the interview: Get a mental picture of how the interview will go. Take yourself through the steps, and visualise yourself doing well.
- Focus on success: Take time to focus on past successes in your life. By thinking back to times you have been successful in life, no matter what area, you will boost your confidence.
- Build your confidence: Remind yourself that you are able to perform a job well. Knowing that you can do good work will also help boost your confidence in your ability to secure your new position.
- Form your own desires: In your mind, or on paper, formulate a list of exactly what you are looking for in this job. What are you wanting this job to do for you? Knowing your goals will help your determination in doing well during your interview.
- Be realistic: Additionally, you should get yourself comfortable with the idea that this may not be the ideal job for you. Prepare to give your all during the interview, but if during the interview process you realise this is not your ideal job, having prepared yourself for the possibility will help keep you from getting discouraged.
- Where do you want to work?: Get a clear idea in your head of what kind of place you want to work in. Do you want a business-only environment? Something more casual?
- Acknowledge personal strength and weaknesses: Take time to think about what your strengths and weaknesses are. Make a list of them and evaluate the list. Most interviewers will ask what your strengths and weaknesses are, and many people are put on the spot by the question. By having analyzed yourself beforehand, you can easily answer the question should they ask.
- Consult with others: Ask friends and family members what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Others are often able to see things about us that we cannot see about ourselves. Getting an ‘outsider’ opinion on the matter may give you insight into things you yourself have not noticed.
- What do you offer the employer?: Ask yourself what you can bring to this job. Do you have good people skills? Are you good with numbers? Evaluating your strengths at performing the job will help raise your confidence in yourself.
- Work for your best interests: Put it in your mind that you need to think for yourself first. Answer with your heart, not your head. If you only plan on giving answers you think the interviewer wants to hear, not only will it come out in your voice to the interviewer, but you will also be expected to live up to those expectations when you get the job. It’s better to be truthful and answer with how you really feel.
- Think positive: Repeat affirmations to yourself in the mirror daily. Tell yourself ‘I will get this job’ and ‘I am a smart individual and will succeed.’ Affirming to yourself out loud will help give you confidence in yourself and your abilities.
- Meditate: Even if you have never practiced meditation, now is a good time to start. When you meditate, visualise yourself at the interview. Visualise yourself succeeding and getting the job. Then visualise yourself actually doing the job.
- Take a break: As much as you should work on mentally preparing yourself for your job interview, your mind also needs a break. Don’t obsess about the interview or think about it all of the time. Take time out and read a book or watch TV. Just relax and clear your mind.
The Night Before Your Interview
- Stay as healthy as possible: Eat a healthy, light meal. Do not consume alcohol. Eating too much or drinking too much alcohol can make you feel sluggish and groggy the morning after. You will not be able to perform well at your interview if you are not feeling well.
- Make sure you can make the interview: Secure your means of transportation to the interview. If you are taking public transportation, make sure you have the tickets, or already scheduled a cab beforehand. If you are driving, make sure you know exactly how to get where you are going.
- Rehearse your interview: Either by yourself, or with a friend, practice some questions and answers that are often asked at a job interview. By practicing your responses, you will help better prepare yourself and sound more confident.
- Read over the research that you gathered on the company: You don’t have to memorise it word for word, but glancing over the information again will help imprint it into your memory.
- Read over your own resume: Though you probably already are very familiar with its information, read over it again to help familiarise yourself with dates, places, etc.
- Draw up some questions: Make a list of questions that you may have for the interviewer. If there are specific things you would like to know such as company information, employee benefits, etc. make a list of these questions to take with you so that you have them on hand.
- Get your documentation together: Gather necessary papers together that you will need. Take extra copies of your resume, as well as copies of certificates or degrees you may have that would be beneficial to the job.
- Get up early: Make sure your alarm clock is set, and functioning, especially if you have an early morning appointment. The last thing you want to have to do is be up rushing around trying to get out of the door.
- Decide what you will have for breakfast: While this may not seem that important, deciding in advance can help keep you on schedule in the morning.
- Pick out what you are going to wear: Laying out your clothes the night before can help save time in the morning, and will give you ample time to choose an appropriate outfit. Choose an appropriate business outfit. If you are a lady, choose close-toed shoes and an outfit that is not revealing.
- Take a relaxing bath: You’ve been working so hard at preparing, it’s time to relax a little bit so that you can make sure you rest well. If bathing isn’t your thing, read a book or watch a movie, but just relax!
- Get a good nights sleep: Go to bed at an appropriate time so that you are well rested the next day. A good nights rest will help prepare you both physically and mentally for the day ahead of you.
On the Day of Your Interview
- Eat a healthy, light breakfast: Choose something that is not going to make you feel heavy and bloated while at your interview. Limit the amount of caffeine that you drink which can cause you to be more nervous than you need to be.
- Dress properly: Make certain that you are well groomed. You should have already picked out your outfit from the night before, so you will know what you are wearing. Avoid wearing too much perfume or cologne, heavy makeup or gaudy jewelry.
- Arrive at your interview early: While you do not need to arrive extremely early, making sure that you get there a few minutes ahead of schedule will make a good impression by showing that you are prompt and reliable.
- Present a friendly and open image: When you greet your interviewer, make eye contact and smile! A firm handshake is also suitable if the interviewer shows signs of wanting a handshake.
- Greet your interviewer: Be friendly to the interviewer, and any other staff you may have to speak to. People enjoy working with friendly people, so be sure to be polite and courteous to those you encounter.
- Use your manners: Say thank you if someone opens a door for you, or even compliments you on your clothing. Say please if you must ask for something. People appreciate good manners so make sure you show them you have some!
- Listen to every word carefully: Listen closely when your interviewer is speaking so that you may understand everything he or she is saying. Listening also prevents you having to ask questions such as what or why, makes the interviewer aware of the fact that you pay attention.
- Speak clearly when answering questions: Do not mumble, or talk quietly. Do not use slang when speaking to the interviewer either, as this is not considered a good business practice.
- Speak confidently when answering: When you speak confidently, your present yourself as being more truthful and concise. When you hesitate in answering, it can come across as if you are lying or that you do not know the answer.
- Be honest: Even if you do not feel as though it is the answer the interview wants to hear, honestly truly is the best policy. Not only can a lie be detected just by the tone your voice takes on, but you may have to later deal with being caught in that lie.
- Ask good questions: Make sure that if you have any questions at all, you ask them before your interview is complete. It is best for all parties involved if you understand everything that has been discussed and have gathered all of the information you need about the job.
- Do not tell jokes during your interview: Sure, some interviewers may have a great sense of humor and tell a few jokes themselves, but generally speaking, a job interview is not the best situation to practice your stand up act.
- Do not criticise others during your interview: Even if an interviewer may ask about a former job that you left on bad terms, keep your statements simple. For example, statements such as; ‘We had irreconcilable differences’ and ‘We had personal matters we could not agree on,’ sound much more professional that foul words about a former employer or fellow employee.
- Be thankful for the opportunity: Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Again, make eye contact, smile and shake hands with the interviewer. Tell them how nice it was to meet them, and that you hope they have a very nice day.
- Send a thank you card: Once you return home from an interview, immediately mail out a thank you card to the interviewer. This is just a simple card, again thanking them for taking the time and interest in speaking with you. When they receive this in the mail in a few days, this will help re-establish you in their mind, and help them to remember your interview.