Interviewing for new jobs can leave some people feeling stressed and ill-prepared. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things you can do to help you feel more prepared and confident to have a great interview no matter what the outcome. Of course, being able to communicate your strengths and talents are important, but it’s also vital that you know the power YOU have when you walk into an interview. Remember, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. If you’ve been laid off or you are simply looking for a new role, here are 7 ways to prepare for an interview.
Tidy Up Your Appearance
Whether your hair needs a trim or your beard is getting out of control, you want to ensure that you have a neat and tidy appearance for an interview. It’s vital that you dress for the job. This means doing your best to make a great first impression. Your clothing should be cleaned and ironed, with shoes that are appropriate for the work environment. Avoid wearing items that are too flashy or distracting as well.
Learn About the Company
You want to know as much about the company as possible before you walk into an interview. You’ll get a bigger picture of their backstory, what products and services they offer, and how the role you are interviewing for fits into the big picture. Read former employee testimonials as well to get a feeling for the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to corporate culture. You can even read up on the company’s mission statement and how it relates to what they do in the marketplace.
Review the Job Description
When you review the job description it helps get the language of the company and what they are looking for into your mind. You’ll want to focus on how you meet the most important skills and qualities as well as what you can offer beyond the description. When you go in prepared knowing exactly what they are looking for you can also formulate better questions about the job that may not be in the description. Thinking about this in advance helps alleviate the awkward silence that comes when they ask if you have any questions for them.
Practice Your Answers to Common Interview Questions
They say practice makes perfect, and when you are preparing for an interview, it helps to practice what to say to common interview questions. A lot of people don’t take time to practice and this can be challenging and stressful during the interview. The more you practice, the more prepared you’ll be and the more confident you’ll appear during the interview. When you practice over and over again, your answers become second nature.
Think Through Different Projects You’ve Worked on and the Outcomes
You’ll want to be able to confidently share the projects that you worked on that were a big success. You could even share the ones that didn’t turn out well, but what lessons you learned in the process. Remembering these details prior to the interview can help you communicate about the different kinds of work you did and how those same skills will benefit the company if they hire you for the job you’re interviewing for.
Explain Gaps in Your Employment History
Large gaps in employment can sometimes elicit a question. While it’s not really anyone’s business why you took 6 months off of work, it does help to be able to share confidently that it was personal and does not impact your ability to continue doing the work you are best at. If you feel comfortable, be as honest as you’d like about the issue. Maybe it was to care for a family member or you had surgery or you couldn’t find work after you were laid off.
Come up With Your Own Questions for the Interviewer
Don’t forget, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. You should ask questions that can help you determine if the work environment is toxic or not. Asking questions about how often managers ask people to work late, how they handle issues that come up, and how they treat workers when they are struggling can give you a good insight into the company culture.
The key to a successful interview is preparation. Make sure you know what’s expected of you and have answers ready for common questions that might be asked. Also, consider coming up with your own questions for the interviewer. This shows that you are prepared and that you are interested in the role and the company.