Preparing for a Job Interview

Written by
Jessica Mattison

Published
Jul 30, 2014

Jul 30, 2014 • by Jessica Mattison

So you finally landed that elusive job interview; now what? Don’t even think about going to that interview cold, without any preparation. Now, it is time to take all of the energy you put forth into getting the interview and apply that to preparing for it.

Step number one, research the position and company. Make sure that you read the entire job description thoroughly so that you understand the requirements and tasks. You will most likely be asked about your understanding of what the position entails. Don’t try to memorize the description to recite to the interviewer—that would be a little weird. Instead, put it into your own words and even try to come up with some examples of how your background and past experiences apply. 

Look into the company via their website and other social media sites. This will not only benefit you during the interview, but also help you to gain a better understanding of the culture of the company. Also make sure your social media pages are professional and presentable. Chances are that if you are looking up the company, the company is going to look up you as well.

Create a list of possible interview questions and practice answering them with a friend and/or in front of a mirror. Your body language is hugely important during an interview and will be noted by the interviewer. Be sure to keep from fidgeting, sit-up straight, keep your feet on the floor, and try to maintain eye contact, look interested, and smile. Try to make it appear natural though, if you are too stiff and unblinking you’ll have the reverse effect of what you are trying to achieve. Being personable, approachable, and confident is essential in any interview setting no matter the level of the position.

Alongside body language is your outer, physical appearance. If you are not sure of the proper attire to wear to a certain company, don’t be afraid to contact them directly and just ask. In most cases, however, it is appropriate to wear a dress suit of some kind. You can never be too overdressed for an interview. You want to look clean and neat so make sure your clothing is pressed and stain free. 

The night before, try to go to bed early so that you are well rested for your big day. If you think that you might wake up filled with anxiety, consider planning for a quick workout to help calm your nerves. When planning this workout make sure to give yourself enough time to shower, dress, eat a healthy breakfast, and make it to the interview at least five to ten minutes early. You may even want to make a practice run, the day before, to the establishment to judge how long it will take you to get there—don’t forget to allot some extra time for traffic.

As far as what to bring with you, always bring a copy of your resume and references. Consider bringing along a list of questions to ask the interviewer, they will appreciate your preparation. Do not bring your cell phone, food, beverages, or gum. Don’t even bring your cell phone into the building—leave it in the car. Playing on your phone while you wait will come across as unprofessional. Instead, review your notes or read a magazine if they have any in the waiting area. You can even make small talk with the receptionist if you like.

One last tidbit of advice, make sure to be on your best, most professional, most polite behavior with everyone you encounter. You should hear yourself saying a lot of, “please,” “thank you,” “sir,” and “ma’am.” After all, you never know what kind of input these people may have in the hiring process.