How to prepare for a job interview

Does the thought of a job interview leave you feeling anxious, or overwhelmed? While it can be a nerve-wracking experience, the key to confidently handling a job interview is in the preparation. Add these crucial steps to your to-do list as soon as you land an interview time, and you’ll be well equipped to show your interviewer why you’re the right person for the job.

Practise your answers

List the possible questions you might be asked in an interview and devise an appropriate response for all of them. Having a general idea of what you’re going to say means that you’re more able to deliver a polished response. Also, practise answering questions in front of a mirror or with a friend so you can identify whether you need to make tweaks to your delivery.

A prospective employer may ask behavioural interview questions to assess how you demonstrate particular skills or competencies. Behavioural interview questions might begin with “Tell me about a time when.. ?”

When answering a behavioural interview question, be specific with your example and provide the context. Make sure to include the actions you took and the results you achieved.

How to prepare for an interview

Research the company

To ensure you’re prepared to answer and ask questions in your interview, do some background work on the company profile and also the interviewer. Being able to weave in specific information about the company into your responses shows you’re prepared and also had the initiative to do your own research.

Knowing the background of your interviewer will also allow you to strategically tailor your approach – if for example your research uncovers that the interviewer specializes in a field you’re particularly interested in, you can then find a way to mention this in one of your responses to establish a rapport.

Prepare your questions for the interviewer

You’ll often be asked at the end of an interview if you have any questions so having a few prepared beforehand is a key part of interview preparation. Think of at least 4-5 questions you can ask such as ‘What’s the company culture?’ and ‘What are the key goals for this role in the next few months?’ These types of questions demonstrate that you’re motivated, interested and enthusiastic about the position.

Lock in your outfit

The morning of a job interview is not the time to decide on what you’re going to wear. Give yourself at least one day to choose your outfit so whatever you decide to wear is clean, ironed and ready for you to wear. Keep your outfit professional and polished, and suited to the industry and workplace you’re interviewing for. When in doubt, always dress ‘up’ rather than down - a tailored shirt and slacks or a pencil skirt and blouse is always a safer bet than jeans and a t-shirt.

Decide how you’re going to get there

Research how long it is going to take to get to your interview in advance. Knowing the precise route you’re going to take is one less thing you need to worry about on the day – save that energy for the interview itself! Also be sure to give yourself plenty of time as there’s nothing worse than rushing and feeling stressed and flustered once you get to your destination.

Come prepared

Planning what to bring to a job interview will help you to feel organised and ready for a successful interview. Always bring a professional folder that contains your CV, portfolio (if necessary) and any notes you have. You can review them while you’re waiting and also reference your resume when you’re answering questions during your interview. Additionally, a folder is great for those dealing with nerves – holding onto something is a great way to stop fidgeting and shaking!