When a company calls you in for an interview, it means you are being seriously considered for the position. That suggests, of hundreds of resumes, yours stood out. Congratulations, you made it past the first step in the application process! The next step is not only one of the most overlooked steps in the application process, but it is also the most crucial: preparing for your interview. The preparation you put in sets the stage for the entire interview. From your professional appearance to your knowledge on the company, the interviewer will notice the care and attention to detail you’ve put in. So, to help you come out of your interview feeling confident, we’ve put together these steps to prepare for an interview.
Before any interview, you should do an in-depth review of the company by conducting some research on their brand and their industry. Start by visiting the company website. Go to their “About” page first and find out:
After you’ve learned more about the company and made a conclusion of your own, visit review sites (Glassdoor/Indeed/LinkedIn/etc.) and read their reviews. Reading reviews will teach you about the company and how they are viewed within their industry & by their employees. Then, ask yourself why you might want to work for the company. What about the company or company culture appeals most to you and how do you see yourself fitting in the picture? Answering this question for yourself will help you communicate to the employer why you would be a strong addition to their team.
There’s no exact almanac of every question an interviewer is going to ask you, which is precisely why you want to be ready for any curve ball they might throw. Knowing your answers for commonly asked interview questions will help you be more prepared for those less common interview questions. In a recent blog, we highlighted the 15 most common interview questions and gave tips on how you can answer them. From “Why do you want to work here?” to “What can we expect from you in your first three months?” the most common interview questions will be centered around the same idea – Do your goals and your skills align with what the company is looking for?
An interview isn’t just a one-sided interrogation, it is an opportunity for you (the jobseeker) to learn more about the company and the position from an employee’s perspective. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to open up conversation and form a connection with the interviewer.
Asking questions will reveal new information that might not have come up in the interview while also showing that you have a genuine interest in the company & role. It is important to make sure that your questions help you determine whether the position is a good fit for you. If you’re not sure what kind of questions to ask, you can check out this guide on smart questions to ask an interviewer.
Most companies will have a copy of your resume printed out for your interview, but this isn’t always the case. It is important to always be ready with a few printed copies of your resume for instances when your interviewer does not have a copy. Showing up with a printed resume in hand (or more literally-a portfolio) will show the company that you are organized and prepared.
The interviewer will appreciate the effort and professionalism you portray by coming prepared with a nice notepad and pen. You will also be grateful to have some notes about the interview when you try to recall specific information afterwards. Make sure to take notes on any names mentioned, information about the company, and any questions that arise during the interview.
At the end of the interview, the interviewer will typically ask if you have any questions & having your notes readily available will make recalling what was discussed a lot easier.
Planning your outfit for an interview takes longer than just picking something out the night before. Make sure to have your interview outfit decided days before your interview so you have time to make sure your outfit of choice is clean, pressed, and ready to go by the day of.
When picking an outfit to wear to your interview, make sure it is something you feel confident in and that it looks professional. First impressions are everything, so ditch the business casual and opt for an outfit that is business formal, professional, and clean cut. Don’t forget to iron or steam your clothes. Showing up to an interview in a wrinkled suit or dress is not how you make a great first impression! Don’t have an iron? An easy way to quickly remove wrinkles from your clothes is to put them in the dryer with one or two ice cubes and turn it on for a few minutes. The heat from the dryer will turn the ice to steam and effectively steam your clothes in a matter of minutes.
Be prepared to show up early by mapping out your drive to the interview location the day before your interview around the same time it will be taking place. This will give you a rough estimate on how long it will take you to get to your interview based on distance and usual traffic. Then, based on the estimated traffic, give yourself an extra 15 to 20 minutes to account for unpredicted spikes in traffic, confusing parking situations, getting lost, etc. There is also a good chance that you will need time to fill out paperwork upon arrival. Showing up early will send a positive message that will affect the tone for the rest of your interview.