There can be no doubt that job interviews are nerve-wracking by their very nature. You’re basically being asked to sell yourself as efficiently as possible in a short amount of time, which generally doesn’t lend itself well to forging genuine connections with the people who are interviewing you. If you’re lucky, those will come later. Right now, acing the job interview is your main concern, with the following five steps being an indispensable part of any successful interview preparation:
1. Review the company you’ll be interviewing with
The first step towards being prepared lies in doing your homework. Spend the days before the interview researching your potential future employer online and see what they’re all about. From the company’s official website to its social media accounts, you’ll likely have your work cut out for you. Don’t hesitate to write things down if you need help remembering them, as this information will come in handy when you’re being interviewed. Once you’ve gotten a clear picture of the company and its services, visit Glassdoor to see what former employees have to say about working there. Don’t take everything they say for granted, but make note of potential issues so you can raise them when you find yourself head-to-head with the company’s representatives.
2. Anticipate potential questions
Interviews are a bit like oral exams. You’ll be asked a series of questions, the answers of which will determine your final grade in the eyes of your potential employers. However, just like it was possible to practice answering questions in school, it is totally feasible to do that now as well. Inquiries about past educational and work experiences are common, as are questions related to your future plans and interests outside of work. Some companies also ask their candidates to pass specific tests that pertain to future job tasks. Always do your best to prepare for a wide variety of scenarios, but don’t be startled if there’s a surprise or two in store as well.
3. Prepare some questions of your own
Too many people forget that job interviews are a two-way street. Aside from being grilled by your interviewers, you too have the option of asking questions related to the position at hand and the company in general. Everything from salary to working conditions should be discussed in detail from the first interview, so you’ll know just what to expect. Of course, remember to always be polite when interacting with your interviewers, and try to not take up too much of their time, as they’ll likely still have plenty of other candidates left to see that day.
4. Dress appropriately
Whereas once upon a time suits and ties were obligatory sartorial choices for any candidate who hoped to pass a job interview, nowadays things have become considerably looser as far as clothing requirements go. That being said, if you’re interviewing for a more traditional institution like a bank or school, you’ll still be expected to show up dressed as professionally as possible. But if you’re gunning for a position at an informal start-up or a more laid-back company, going with something more casual is acceptable and sometimes even preferable.
5. Clear your head
Going into your job interview, the most important thing to keep in check is your own mindset. While pre-interview preparation is essential, be sure to also take a step back the day before your interview and engage in activities you find pleasurable or relaxing. Simple things like being with your friends or practicing your favorite sport can lower your stress levels and leave you feeling rested and refreshed, two qualities that are essential when facing any significant challenge in life.
As you can see, there is more than one way to go about preparing for a job interview. By taking the time to integrate the aforementioned steps into your preparation routine, you’ll have a better shot at being relaxed when the big day comes, not to mention increase your overall odds of obtaining the job you desire. That being said, don’t lose hope at the first sign of rejection. Passing job interviews is never a guarantee. It might also take a while before you meet the ideal employer, but when you do, you’ll likely find that it’s been worth the wait.