5 Strategies to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview
One of the most stressful parts of looking for a job is often the job interview. If you have time, extensive preparation is the best way to mitigate that stress. Though you’ll never know exactly what to expect, with the proper preparation, you’ll have smart and honest answers to the most common questions.
Keep in mind that the company is looking for the ideal candidate to fill their vacancy. If the interviewer does a good job, you’ll be able to display your good qualities. These good qualities and skills will determine whether you get the job or not.
On the other hand, before getting to the interview stage of the process, you must have made it through some initial filters based on your resume. That is, if the company is interviewing you, then you’re qualified in some way for the job. If that weren’t the case, the company wouldn’t waste their resources on the interview. Being successful in the interview or not will depend on how you answer the questions they ask.
In the interview, they want to get to know you as a person. They will evaluate the image you project, how you express yourself, if you can control your nerves, and, of course, other aspects of your personality that are directly or indirectly related to the position you aspire to fill.
Preparing for the unexpected
Surprising and unexpected questions often come up during a job interview. What’s more, some might be designed to put you under pressure. How you answer these types of questions won’t automatically land you the job. However, you should take your time to answer these questions to avoid putting yourself out of the running.
If you end up in that situation and come up with good answers, perfect. If you can’t, the best option is to keep your answers conservative. This strategy is the prologue to the other five that we’re going to discuss next.
1. Get to know the company
The more you know about the company you’re interviewing for, the better. Try to get as much information as you can about how many employees they have, if they have a web page, what is their mission and vision, what products they sell, their sales figures, etc.
The Internet will be your best friend during this search. However, if you have the opportunity to visit their offices in person, that can also give you some interesting information. You can check out the building itself, the parking situation, nearby public transportation, etc.
2. When and where
It’s very important to know exactly where the interview will take place and what time you should be there. It’s possible that they’ll interview you at another location. That happens often when companies subcontract with agencies that do their hiring for them. That being said, if you have time to go to the location of the interview the day before, do it. That way, you can figure out how long it takes you to get there, if you can use public transportation, or if it’s easy to find a parking spot.
Being on time is extremely important. Try to give yourself extra time in case something comes up. On the other hand, don’t go inside right away if you arrive too early. That can give the impression that you don’t know how to manage your time and don’t plan well.
3. Look sharp
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in this case it’s very true. When choosing your outfit for the interview, you should think about the culture of the company and the nature of the job you’re interviewing for.
For more “serious” jobs or companies, use an appropriate neutral-colored suit, a tie with the corporate colors, clean, closed-toed shoes, and an ironed shirt. Also, make sure that whatever you wear is comfortable. That way you can convey a sense of formality without giving the impression that you’re playing a part.
In contrast, if you’re trying to get a job as a bartender on the beach, wearing a suit is not the best idea. Wear something a lot more relaxed to try to convey your spontaneity and your easy-going nature. Your potential clients will be on vacation and they’ll probably prefer staff members who are light-hearted and happy than people who are too serious.
4. Bring your paperwork
Bring a copy of the resumé that you sent prior to the interview with you. If they asked for any other paperwork, make sure you have it and that it’s neat and organized.
Study your resume carefully. During the interview, they might ask you to explain specific things. They might want to know what a particular experience or training meant to you.
5. Go alone
It’s better to show up alone for a job interview. If you take someone with you, your potential employer might interpret that as a sign of immaturity or insecurity. It’s interesting how many parents go with their children to their first job interview. They even tell them how to act and what to say. Be careful with this. Human resources departments have come a long way and the things they’re looking for in a potential employee don’t always match what you might be able to anticipate.
At the end of the day, each interviewer and each job candidate is different. In that sense, the person who usually gets the job is the one who is able to intuit what the interviewer wants.
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”