How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Essential tips for how to prepare for a job interview.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

June 2nd, 2020

If your initial job application meets what the company is looking for, they may invite you for an interview to gauge your personality and learn more about you. The interviewer will ask about your previous work experience, career goals, and personality strengths and weaknesses.

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How to Prepare for a Job Interview:

1. Choose an appropriate outfit.

What you wear will have an impact on the impression you make. Ensure that your outfit conforms to general office standards. It is also important to iron or press your clothes before your interview, as creased clothing can come across as not caring about the position.

2. Become familiar with your resume.

The interviewer will usually have a copy of your resume in front of them throughout the interview. They may want more information about your education or previous experience, so be prepared to explain your credentials clearly.

3. Read up on common interview questions and prepare your answers.

A few companies are adopting more contemporary interview forms, but most companies will ask a similar range of questions during your interview. These questions will help employers get to know you and gauge your goals. The wording of your answers is crucial to the message you want to convey, so take some time to look over common interview questions and what interviewers are looking for in your answers.

Read our article on the 25 most common interview questions to see what employers look for in your answers.

4. Practice answering questions with a friend.

This will help you to practice your body language and a confident voice. The aim of this exercise is to feel more comfortable with speaking about yourself, and not to rehearse every answer, as there is no guarantee that questions will be asked exactly as you practiced.

5. Prepare questions for the interviewer.

Interviewers enjoy fielding questions from candidates because it shows an interest in the company and the role.

Should I Ask About Salary During the Interview?

It seems to be undecided whether a candidate asking about the salary is appropriate. A safe piece of advice is to wait until a second interview, or until a contract is being negotiated, to broach the subject.

If you ask too early, employers may think that salary is at the forefront of your interest in the role. While this is usually something candidates would like to know, it may be wise to wait until after the first meeting to inquire about it.

Group Interviews.

A group interview can seem daunting because it is harder to grab the attention of the interviewer. To prepare for a group interview, make sure that you have questions for the interviewer. This will give you a chance to make an impression and show your enthusiasm for the role.

Phone and Video Interviews.

Some companies choose to host phone or video interviews to screen candidates before deciding who to call in for in-person interviews. Companies that offer remote work may also host these interviews because of distance or because they do not have an office.

Our article on phone interview questions outlines the most common phone interview questions and how to answer them.

Preparing for a Video Interview:

Make sure that you have a headset and a stable internet connection. If your sound is too scratchy or you have loud surroundings, this may annoy the interviewer and cause miscommunication if they cannot hear you clearly.

Ensure that you are in a well-lit room and that you still dress appropriately for an interview. If you fail to put an effort into your appearance, this will be obvious to the interviewer and reflect badly on your interest in the role.

FAQs:

What is the best way to prepare for a job interview?

You can look over commonly-asked interview questions to prepare for your interview. This gives you an idea of what might be asked, and how to answer questions confidently and concisely.

How can I be successful in an interview?

If you want to be successful in an interview, choose an appropriate outfit, prepare answers to the most common interview questions, and think of questions to ask the interviewer.

How long do you need to prepare for an interview?

Typically, you should prepare for an interview as soon as you know about it. There is no set amount of time for being properly prepared, but it is important that you follow our steps to preparing for an interview closely, and ensure that you are confident about any answers you may need to provide.

Is it OK to bring notes to an interview?

It is OK to bring notes to an interview if those notes are a list of questions for the interviewer. It would be inappropriate to bring notes in the form of a "cheat sheet" to remember information about yourself or how you would like to answer questions. The interview is designed to help employers learn about you, which shouldn't have to be rehearsed.

How do you answer: "why should we hire you?"

The first thing you should mention is how you match up to the ideal candidate description. Explain how your skills and experience match up to what the role requires. Then, elaborate a bit on how your goals and values align with the company.

What is a "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" answer example?

Your answer should reflect how you can integrate into the company's structure and grow your career within the context of your department. For example:

"In five years I would like to introduce more projects to the department and spearhead these projects."

What you should never do or say in an interview?

You should never go to an interview without having researched what the company does. The interviewer will almost always ask you why you would like to work for their company, and your answer should include specific details about the company's goals and ethos.

It is also frowned upon to ask about salary in the first interview. Employers find this to be an indication of being money-driven, despite this being a common question amongst candidates.

What are five questions that you can ask an interviewer?

  • What is the company culture like?
  • What would some of my day-to-day responsibilities be?
  • What are some of the company's goals?
  • What do you like most about the company?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • What are some of this department's goals?

How do you sell yourself during an interview?

Being confident is always a good way to impress an interviewer. To be more confident, you should look over some common interview questions and what interviewers are looking for in your answers. This will help you to answer questions more appropriately, giving the interviewer the information they need.

Think of how your skills and experience match what the company is looking for, and how you can help the company grow in the long term.

What are skill-based interview questions?

Skill-based interview questions are designed to test how you can implement skills such as leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving in a workspace. You will be asked to provide an example of when this skill was used in your previous roles.

How do you close an interview?

Once the interviewer has asked all of their questions, they will open the floor to you to ask any of your own questions. After this, it would be prudent to ask what the next steps in the interview process are. This is a good way to close the interview because it allows the interviewer to not only tell you when they should be in contact but also to conclude that this portion of the process is over.

How can I be more confident in an interview?

You can be more confident in an interview by going over your resume to become familiar with the dates provided and formulate a reason behind any employment gaps. You can also go over commonly-asked interview questions to get a sense of what you will be asked.

How do I answer: "Why are you the best candidate for the position?"

You should list all relevant skills and experience that the role requires, as well as explain how your career path and goals align with the company.

How do you answer salary question in interview?

Perform market research before the interview to find out what this position's salary usually is. Provide a range rather than a specific amount, as an over-inflated estimate will put employers off.

What is a "can you tell me about yourself?" sample answer?

"I was in the debate club in college and high school, giving me some experience with researching my argument and presenting in front of a large audience. Throughout my law degree, I volunteered at the legal aid office and enjoyed the practical experience this provided me."

Is it OK to tell an interviewer you are nervous?

Nerves can be a good indicator that a candidate cares about the role, so it would not be inappropriate to mention this if the interviewer asks how you are feeling.

What three things should you not say in an interview?

Try not to give a generic answer, try not to over-share irrelevant information, and don't bad-mouth your current or previous employers.

What are the most common interview mistakes?

  • Arriving late.
  • Wearing creased or inappropriate clothing.
  • Not researching the company.
  • Candidates hesitating when answering questions about themselves.
  • Providing generic or irrelevant answers.
  • Not preparing questions to ask the interviewer.

What is the best answer to: "What is your weakness?"

Try to answer this honestly without trying to turn a strength into a weakness. For example, saying that perfectionism is a weakness comes across as boasting about your meticulousness. Try to mention something that you can improve on, as well as how to plan to improve.

Is it OK to ask about working hours in an interview?

Yes, it is OK to ask about working hours in an interview. Not only is it good to know what to expect from the position, but it will also show an interest in the role's demands.

How do you ace a phone interview?

To ace a phone interview, make sure that you are sitting in a quiet room. If need be, use a headset to minimize background noise.

What are the top 10 phone interview questions?

  • What is your current and expected salary?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?
  • Detail the most successful idea you have taken from concept to launch.
  • What are the typical mistakes other candidates make in this role?
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What is your current salary?
  • What is your expected salary?
  • What most qualifies you for this position?
  • What is the most difficult part of this position?
  • What is the most important part of this position?

Should I ask about salary in a phone interview?

If this is your first interview, it may be inappropriate to ask about salary. This question is often perceived as a candidate being money-driven instead of having a genuine interest in the role.

How do you sell yourself on a phone interview?

Be sure to answer all questions thoughtfully and concisely. Your answers should fully answer the question with relevant information.

How do you prepare for a video interview?

Make sure that you are in a quiet and clean room. Try to use a headset to minimize background noise and enhance your voice quality.

What kind of questions are asked in a video interview?

Video interviews will take the same form as in-person interviews. Read through some commonly-asked interview questions to get an idea of what will be asked.

What should you not do in a video interview?

Try not to ramble or provide irrelevant information when answering questions. Don't take the interview in a noisy environment or during a time when you may be disrupted.

What should I wear to a video interview?

You should wear office-appropriate clothing for a video interview, such as a shirt or blouse that has been pressed. Be sure to neaten your hair or facial hair, and touch up your make up if necessary.

Can you look at notes during a video interview?

If you have been asked to prepare answers for a video interview then it could be acceptable to use notes sparingly. If not, try not to use notes unless it is to refer to questions you have for the interviewer.

What do employers look for in video interviews?

Employers will look for confidence, relevant skills, and a genuine interest in the role and company. You should try to display positive body language like a good posture and nodding your head, rather than folding your arms or obscuring your face with your hands.

How do you end a video interview?

You should try to ask the interviewer any questions you may have about the role or the company. In addition, try to find out what the next steps in the interview process are. Once this has been addressed, thank the interviewer for their time.

What is the point of video interviews?

Video interviews may be used to screen potential candidates and see who fits what the company is looking for before inviting candidates for an in-person interview. Companies looking for remote employees may also host video interviews because the interviewer and candidate are in different locations.

Can you wear headphones during a video interview?

Yes, you can wear headphones during a video interview. This will improve your audio quality and help you hear the interviewer better.

Can I do a video interview on my phone?

While it is possible to do a video interview on your phone, the video and audio quality will not be as good as that of a laptop or desktop. If you can only use a phone, try to use a headset to improve your audio quality.

What are good weaknesses?

A good weakness to mention in your interview is a skill that you can improve on. For example, if you feel that you are bad at public speaking, you should mention this and add that you plan to take a course on public speaking.

Is a second interview a good sign?

Yes. Typically, a second interview means that the interviewer was happy with your first interview and that you have moved on to the next stage in the interview process.

What are some good questions to ask in a second interview?

A second interview is a good opportunity to ask for details about the position and what will be expected from you. You can also broach the subject of your salary in this interview.