Preparing for a job interview plays a pivotal role in determining your success. The level of preparation you put into researching the job and the company, as well as carefully crafting your answers to interview questions, greatly influences your performance. However, interview preparation extends beyond the pre-interview phase.
There are specific aspects you need to prepare for during and after the interview as well. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in getting ready for a job interview and provide actionable tips to enhance your prospects of achieving success.
How To Prepare For A Job Interview: Pre-Interview Preparation
Here are several crucial steps to follow when preparing for a job interview:
1. Review the job description
Thoroughly examine the job description to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the employer has outlined the position and the specific qualities they seek in a candidate. Pay close attention to the keywords and phrases used by the employer to articulate their expectations.
By closely aligning your skills and qualifications with the job description, you enhance your prospects of making a favorable impression on the interviewer. Additionally, the job description may provide valuable insights into the potential interview questions that could be asked.
2. Consider your eligibility for the job
Reflect on your qualifications and experience, considering why you are interested in applying for the job and why the employer should consider hiring you. Assessing how the job aligns with your career goals and the unique value you can bring to the company enables you to effectively convey to the interviewer why you are the most suitable candidate for the role.
3. Learn more about the company
Gather comprehensive information about the company by exploring its website, social media platforms, employee reviews, and other online sources. Gain insights into its mission, management, work culture, product offerings, and client base. Additionally, find out about the company’s recent revenue, growth prospects, and business plans.
Often, companies provide details about their management team on their “About Us” page, employment-related information on their “Careers” or “Work With Us” page, and investor-related information on their “Investor Relations” page.
Thorough research of the company allows you to align your resume with its expectations and equips you to address questions about the organization during the interview. Demonstrating familiarity with the company also enables you to ask relevant questions, showcasing your genuine interest in the job.
However, it’s important to note that for non-technical positions, it is not necessary to delve into technical details. The aim is to develop a foundational understanding of the company’s industry and operations.
4. Prepare a list of expected interview questions
Compile a comprehensive list of typical interview questions relevant to the position and craft well-thought-out responses. Prepare compelling answers that allow you to showcase your skills and enthusiasm for the job. Along with position-specific inquiries, consider including the following commonly asked questions in your list:
- Can you tell me about yourself?
- What prompted your decision to seek a new job opportunity?
- Why are you interested in this particular position?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What motivates you in a professional setting?
- How do you envision your career progression in the next five years?
By preparing for these questions, you can effectively articulate your qualifications and aspirations during the interview process.
5. Practice mock interviews
Even with thorough preparation, it’s common to experience anxiety and apprehension during interviews. Mock interviews can be invaluable in alleviating these concerns. They simulate a realistic interview environment and contribute to building your confidence.
Request assistance from friends or family members to conduct mock interviews for you. Consider recording the sessions to evaluate your performance objectively. In the absence of an available interviewer, you can practice in front of a mirror to rehearse your responses.
6. Organise your documents
While you may have submitted your application digitally, it is beneficial to have hard copies of all your documents readily available during the interview. Print out your resume and cover letter and compile them in a folder. Gather essential documents such as academic transcripts, certificates, identification proofs, and photographs.
If an HR specifically requested certain documents like salary slips, a relieving letter from a previous employer, or bank statements, ensure that you have them prepared as well. This way, you can easily provide any necessary documents requested by the interviewer.
7. Update your social media profile
Take the time to update your social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Employers often review candidates’ online presence to gain insights into their personalities and background. Conduct a Google search of your name to identify any potentially unfavorable results and prepare appropriate responses in case the interviewer asks about them.
8. Make travel arrangements
Familiarize yourself with the location provided by the company and consider using tools like Google Maps to plan your route. Assess the distance and estimated travel time, allowing you to determine the appropriate timing and select the mode of transportation. Keep the contact information of the HR department readily available in case you require any assistance finding the company’s location.
9. Decide on your interview dress
Choose appropriate formal attire for the interview, ensuring that your clothes are clean and free of wrinkles. If you plan to use deodorant or perfume, opt for a subtle scent. Aim for a polished appearance, including well-groomed hair and a neatly shaved or trimmed beard, if applicable. Strive for an overall neat and professional look.
How To Prepare For A Job Interview: During The Interview
Follow these steps to prepare for a job interview when you are at the interview venue:
1. Reach the location early
Ensure you arrive at the venue a few minutes before the scheduled interview time. This will provide you with a chance to relax and gather your thoughts. If the journey has been long or tiring, utilize the extra time to drink water, use the restroom, or freshen up. Arriving early helps alleviate anxiety and allows for mental preparation before the interview.
2. Be polite
Your demeanor and behavior within the office premises can leave a lasting impression. Keep in mind that companies may observe CCTV footage to assess candidates’ personalities. Maintain a patient and respectful attitude while waiting for your turn. Be polite to everyone you encounter, including receptionists, security guards, and fellow candidates.
3. Be mindful of your body language
Convey confidence and assurance by maintaining a firm posture and speaking clearly and confidently during the interview. Begin practicing these behaviors as soon as you enter the company premises. Pay attention to your body language while interacting with receptionists or HR executives. Be conscious of your facial expressions, smile, and greetings.
4. Ask thoughtful questions to the interviewer
During the interview, the interviewer may give you the opportunity to address any doubts or queries you may have. Make mental notes throughout the interview to ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your engagement and interest. If you have any uncertainties regarding the position, the company, or any other relevant matter, use the opportunity towards the end of the interview to seek clarification.
How To Prepare For A Job Interview: After The Interview
The following steps can assist you to identify your weak areas and do better next time after you have completed the interview:
1. Analyse your performance
Take a few minutes after the interview to evaluate your performance and identify areas for improvement. Reflect on whether there were any points or information you forgot to mention, or if there were any questions you could have answered more effectively. This self-analysis will contribute to enhancing your interview skills in the future.
2. Inform your references
If you provided references in your CV or job application, it is essential to inform them about the company and position you have applied for. This ensures that they are prepared in case the HR department contacts them for a reference check. Reach out to your references and provide them with relevant details, such as the skills and qualities you would appreciate them highlighting on your behalf.
3. Follow up with HR
If you haven’t received any communication from the company within the expected timeframe, it is advisable to follow up with the HR department regarding the status of your application. You can do this by phone or email, ensuring to include your name, the position you applied for, the interview date, the name of the interviewer, and any other pertinent information that will help the HR staff recall your interaction.
Interview Preparation Tips
Here are practical tips to enhance your chances of success in a job interview:
- Prior to your turn, silence or switch off your mobile phone. If it is essential to take an urgent call, speak quietly and discreetly.
- Maintain patience while waiting in the designated area. Wandering around the office may create a negative impression.
- Refrain from asking personal questions to the interviewer, HR staff, or receptionist. Maintain a professional and respectful demeanor.
- Keep your answers concise and focused, delivering your points effectively.
- Maintain a positive tone when discussing your current or previous employer.
- If you encounter a question to which you do not know the answer, be honest. It is acceptable to request a moment to gather your thoughts or seek clarification from the interviewer.