How to Prep for a Job Interview
Going on a job interview is exciting, after all, your resume was selected out of the batch to move to the next step. Despite the good feelings associated with the prospect of actually landing the job, most people suffer some level of anxiety before the interview. According to a 2013 survey. conducted by Everest College and Harris Interactive showed a whopping 92 percent of Americans have "at least one fear" associated with the job interview process.
While it's normal to feel nervous before meeting with the people who are considering hiring you, you don't want these feelings to take over and hurt your chances. In order to reduce any angst associated with the job interview, be as prepared as you can possibly be before going in.
Dress appropriately for the job
First impressions mean everything. You'll want to dress accordingly to suit the position you've applied to work. What is the organization's dress code? If you aren't sure how the people dress, you're better off leaning towards a bit more formal. Also, if people are dressing ultra-casual for work, you'll want to spiffy up a bit for the interview. Better to be safe than sorry.
Tip: Be sure to try on your planned outfit ahead of the interview so there are no surprises the morning of the interview.
Know where you're going
If you aren't familiar with the surroundings where the interview is taking place, be sure to do your homework so you know where you're going and how long it'll take you to get there. Don't rely solely on your GPS on interview day.
- What are the local traffic patterns for the time of the interview—is it heavy or light?
- Are there better routes to take to ensure a timely arrival?
- If taking public transportation, do you know the bus or rail routes? Any connections to make?
If you're late for your job interview employers will assume you're not punctual. This could make or break your chances of being selected for the job.
Tip: Do a practice run before the interview. Try to do it during the same time frame you'll need to travel the day of the meeting.
Research the organization, and know how it works
It's always a good idea to get acquainted with any organization where you apply to work. Showing up for an interview without understanding the agency or what they do will reflect negatively on you. These days, interviewees are expected to know at least the basics before going in.
- Do you understand the organization's mission?
- Are you familiar with the agency's key players?
- Have you explored their social media pages to see what's being shared or discussed?
Employers are seeking people who are good matches for their organizations. The more knowledge you can share about them, the better impression you'll make on the hiring manager.
Tip: After researching the organization, consider ways you can be a valuable team player. During the interview if/when the opportunity arises, share any contributions you can make.
Clean up your online presence
You probably know most employers check Google after they receive a resume. But did you know they are doing more than quick searches? A 2015 a poll found 52 percent of employers actively check candidates' social media profiles too. Many people often make posts or share photos they wouldn't if they knew an employer was looking. It's important to keep yourself looking professional online and, if you haven't already cleaned up your online presence, get on it ASAP. Log out of all your accounts and see what you look like publicly to anyone that searches you.
Tip: Privacy settings are not infallible, so don't rely on those to hide behind. Get any embarrassments totally off any of your profiles.
Practice your interview skills
Before you find yourself in the proverbial hot seat, be sure to brush up on your interview skills. Many questions are predictable but it is common for interviewers to throw in some serious curve balls too.
- Be prepared for the unexpected so you aren't thrown off-guard.
- Always keep focused on the questions you're asked.
- Rehearse your strengths and weaknesses - you'll probably be asked about both.
Have some good questions to ask the interviewer as well. Chances are they'll pause at some point and see if you have anything to ask. You don't want to say no.
When prepping for an interview, be sure to know your own history—have your dates, titles, employers and other pertinent facts in order. Don't accidentally be inconsistent because it'll make you look questionable. The more confident and rehearsed you are, the better you'll come off during the interview.
Tip: Be friendly to the person at the front desk. Some employers will ask their front desk staff about your arrival and about their impressions of you.
Going on an interview is naturally going to carry some stress, but by prepping ahead of time, you'll be able to relieve some of the anxiety and put your best foot forward.