Preparing for a job interview can seem intimidating, but by taking the right steps, you can be sure to set yourself up for success. With more and more interviews moving to phone and video in 2021 and beyond, it’s more important than ever to strategically prepare for your interview in advance. Most importantly, you need to be ready to make a powerful and potentially “virtual” first impression.
The job interview is probably the most important step you will take in your job search journey because it’s your chance to show a hiring manager or recruiter that you’re the best person for the job. Remember, this is your opportunity to sell yourself.
In this blog, we’ll provide you with the key steps to take to prepare for your next job interview, whether it’s in person or virtual. When it comes to your job search and the interview process, being confident and prepared can take you a long way.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” — Arthur Ashe, American tennis player
The key steps to take
Before you begin preparing for your interview, first take time to consider your goals and qualifications as they relate to the position and the employer. As outlined below, your preparation should begin with performing research on the company and carefully reviewing the job description to ensure that you are a good fit.
The following are key steps that you should take as a part of your prep work prior to your interview.
Examine the job description
Take time to thoughtfully read through the job description and make sure that your qualifications and experience align with the role. Use the job description as a guide to prepare for the types of questions that the employer may ask, and to form your own questions. If you’re looking for a new job, especially in an area where you might not have expertise, this can be very helpful.
Pro Tip: Be prepared to explain why you’re interested in the role and why you’re the best person for the job.
Research the company
This is an important part of interview preparation because it can help you devise the right questions to ask. Setting aside time to research a company will not only help prepare you, it will increase your confidence and make a good impression on the interviewer.
If you want to take a deeper dive, you can learn more about the company culture by reading reviews on Glassdoor, and by visiting the company’s blog and social media accounts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking an employer to speak to the company culture during an interview. In fact, this can greatly work to your benefit and help you determine if the company is a right fit for you!
Research the role
Be sure to read the job description carefully to ensure that you understand all of the requirements and responsibilities. Take a look at the day-to-day activities for the role so that you’ll be better equipped to discuss the details.
Pro Tip: Highlight the key responsibilities in the job posting and be prepared to demonstrate how your experience relates to those specific areas.
Prepare for common interview questions
Want a leg up? Try preparing your answers in advance to the following commonly asked interview questions:
- Why do you want to work here?
- What interests you about this role?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You don’t want to sound “canned,” but if you brainstorm the answers to some of these key questions in advance, they will more easily roll off your tongue during the interview process. If you’ve had a break in employment, be prepared to explain the employment gap.
Prepare your own questions
Remember, you are also interviewing the company to determine if the role is right for you! Come prepared with 3-5 questions in advance that you want the answers to. Think about what’s important to you when it comes to the perfect job–examples could be schedule, benefits, remote work, bonus, or career growth. Also, as part of a regular follow-up routine, consider questions you might ask after the interview.
At the end of the day, a job interview is really about selling yourself. Whether your interview is in person or virtual, pretend for a moment that you are on stage, and this is your moment to shine!
As a part of your interview preparation, be sure that you get a good night’s sleep, and if your interview is in person, try on and select your wardrobe the night before. You’ve probably heard the well-known phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Presenting your best self can go a long way in an interview. When you are confident in the way you look and feel, that will translate to confidence in the interview.
If your interview is virtual such in the case of Zoom, give yourself adequate time to test out the audio and video on your computer in advance. There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing technical difficulties during an interview, which is why preparation is so important. Be sure to look into your webcam and not at your reflection, just as if the interviewer was sitting right in front of you.
Being both physically and mentally prepared for your next job interview will most certainly take you where you want to go.
About the Author
Kim is a seasoned content marketing professional with over twelve years of corporate communications experience. Her sweetspot is with creative writing both short and long-form, and she has a proven track record working with IBM, Jackson Healthcare, and Walt Disney World, among many others. Kim is also a singer and actress and has been performing on stage and screen her entire life and has a great passion for TV and film production. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.