How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Tips to preparing for a great job interview.
by Updated February 10, 2010

A job interview is a very important part of the process of getting a new job. This is when your potential employer has the opportunity to ask questions about you, your previous work experience, and your future goals in order to see if you will be a fitting part of their company. This is usually your only chance for a first impression and you want it to be a positive one.

Here are some tips in order to prepare for a job interview that will help you become more focused and relaxed.

1.  Do your research. Spend about half an hour doing some research on the interviewing company so that you don’t walk into an interview with no idea of what the company is and what they do. You will earn credibility with the interviewer and show that you are a professional person willing to do homework before a project. This also enables you to ask a few questions of your own – something that always boosts your standing.  

2.  Know the details. Write down all pertinent information about the interview such as the location, time, date, and name and title of the person interviewing you. Make sure that you map out how to get to the destination and be sure to include traffic time in your calculations.

3.  Practice beforehand with a list of commonly asked interview questions.  Here are a few questions that you can practice with a friend or in front of a mirror.

  1. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  2. How do you find you handle pressure?
  3. Describe a difficult problem you had in the past and how you handled it.
  4. Why do you want this job?
  5. What did you like or dislike about your previous job?

4.  Write a short “speech” on why you should be the person who gets the job. Keep it under one minute but use the full minute to describe ideal qualities in you that would make you an asset to the new team.

5.  Dress the part for your interview. Be sure to dress business casual with your clothes ironed, your hair styled, and your nails manicured. You are looking to project a professional image and you only get to do this once. Make sure it counts by looking your best.

6.  Prepare a list of references from a combination of previous supervisors, colleagues, and managers to speak on your behalf should the need arise. Be sure to bring this along with you to the interview.

7.  Be sure to arrive ten and fifteen minutes early and if possible, use the bathroom to check out your appearance one last time before the interview.  Make sure your tie is straight or that your lipstick isn’t smudged and you don’t have anything in your teeth. If you are chewing gum to freshen your breath, spit it out at this time. Chewing gum isn’t seen as professional in the business world; try a mint instead and swallow it just before you go in to the interview.



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