If you have a job interview lined up you may feel nervous about it, and understandably so. The interview is the most critical step in your pursuit of a job, because it’s your chance to prove to the company that you’re the right person for the job. Confidently handling your job interview begins with preparation, as preparation will give you the best chance to make a positive and lasting impression on your potential employer.
Most people have a general idea of how to prepare for a job interview. However, some interviewees may become so stressed they forget important details, while others may take the interview too lightly and believe that their natural charm will allow them to “wing it.” If you don’t take the interview and potential position seriously, the interviewee will notice.
So, here are some tips to prepare yourself for a successful job interview.
Research the company and review the job description
Many organisations want to hire people they believe will fit in with the company’s culture and mission. Take the time to research the company so you’re ready to answer questions about the organisation. Show the interviewer what you have learned about the company; your knowledge will showcase your preparedness and research ability.
Visit the company’s website and read the “About Us” page to develop a clear understanding of the company’s goals. Also use social media and current articles to gather information about the organisation’s financial performance, products and services, areas of growth, its competitors, and its rank in the industry. The information you find can help you understand where you would add value to the company.
Anticipate questions and prepare answers
Prepare for common interview questions, and listen to questions carefully before you respond. Some of the questions you should prepare for are:
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Why did you decide to apply for this job?
Why are you the best person for this role?
Why did you leave your previous position?
Share an experience when you faced a major challenge and explain how you resolved it.
Discuss a time where you had to demonstrate adaptability.
When answering these questions, take every opportunity to emphasise the fit between your experiences, qualifications, and capabilities and the job in question. Also, define how your career goals and personality traits align with the position offered and the organisation’s culture.
Prepare questions for the interviewer
At some point in the interview, you may be asked if you have questions about the role for which you’ve applied. Be ready to engage with the interviewer during this process, as this allows some back and forth in the conversation and shows your interest in learning more about the job and the company.
Consider asking these types of questions to gather more insight about the position:
Can you tell me more about the daily responsibilities of this job?
What are the biggest challenges someone in this role will face?
What can you tell me about the company’s plans for growth?
Can you tell me about the team I’d be working with?
Towards the end of the interview, be sure to ask for clarification on the hiring process. A question like “What are the next steps in the interview process?” will indicate your further interest in the position. Conclude the interview by asking if there’s any additional material the interviewer needs from you.
Choose your outfit carefully and in advance
Don’t wait until the day of your interview to decide what you’re going to wear. That said, choose your outfit at least one day in advance, and give yourself enough time to dry clean, launder, or iron your clothes so they look sharp and professional.
If you’re uncertain what to wear, lean toward dressing “up” rather than dressing too casually. Wearing an outfit that’s too casual can give the interviewer the impression that you don’t take the job or opportunity seriously.
Come prepared for the interview
Always arrive at an interview with a professional folder containing important information you may need to remember or provide during the meeting. Bring the following items to your interview where applicable:
Extra copies of your resume/CV
A list of references
A list of questions for the interviewer
You can reference this material during the interview, make notes to remember later, or have something to hold onto to prevent shaking and fidgeting if you’re nervous.
Let ICI prepare you for your career
In a job interview, you want to do everything possible to leave the best first impression you can. Improve your career qualifications so you can ace that next interview with a variety of courses offered by the International Career Institute. Put yourself in the best position to land that dream job the first time around with a relevant qualification.
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Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.