Preparing and Doing Well in a Job Interview

The interview is usually the final step in determining whether or not you get the job, except perhaps for the follow-up that is sometimes necessary. Some companies even require several interviews during their screening process. There is much on the line, but just don't get nervous. You'll do best if you're calm. Besides, there will always be more opportunities if you make a mistake, so don't there's no need to be nervous. A small amount of nervousness is good, but too much can be detrimental.

Practice. There are many forms of practicing. The most useful type is to have a real interview. If you have had interview experience in the past, it definitely helps. If not, try to get some. Even if you decide not to take the job, it may be worth practicing just to get the interview experience. Alternately, try volunteering, as people often need to interview volunteers too before accepting them for a volunteer position. Just try to get some practice where you will get a bit nervous. In such a situation, you will be able to try to monitor and lower your nervousness levels, and next time, you will be calmer because you will have practiced your interview in a more relaxed state.

Some easier forms of practicing include tape recording or videotaping yourself as you practice to answer potential questions. Remember to play back to watch and/or listen to yourself so that you can decide whether you should modify the way you present yourself or how you speak. You should also practice speaking in front of a mirror and monitoring your actions and how you look while in front of the mirror. It may also help to practice with your whole apparel on, including your suit and tie, if that is what you plan to wear at your interview. Another form of this is to practice with a friend who will ask you random, and unanticipated questions. This will improve your alertness at answering strange and unthought of questions.

Don't memorize predefined scripts. Don't write out scripts and memorize answers word-for-word beforehand. If you really would like to prepare for answers, one way would be to jot down all the potential questions you think that you may be asked, or at least the common ones that you think will be asked. Then, just jot down points to those questions. If you would like, a day or two before the interview, you can review some of those points. However, in general, you probably do have a good idea of how to answer most of those questions. Your answer to several different questions can be a similar answer that is varied slightly because they just want a general idea of what type of person you are as a person and how skilled you are. You don't need to come up with a brilliant and very different answer to each question. Try saying whatever comes naturally and you don't need to vary your answer very much each time if you don't have anything that different to say.

Try longer-term methods of preparation. Some longer-term methods of preparing for an interview should also be used. You should always be anticipating that some day you may need an interview and improve your speaking skills and people skills in general. Some examples of activities that you could do to help prepare for your interview using longer-term methods include joining a debating club, joining Toastmasters or some other form of public speaking club, watching more television and seeing how the pros speak, and just speaking more in general. 

Do your research. This stage of preparing for the interview is very important, and yet, people just don't take the time to do it. In the end, it may not help you get a job, but it's still a very necessary step. It'll allow you to gain greater insight into the company and learn more about how it operates.  Perhaps you may decide that this is not the company for you. The research that you do this time should be much more in-depth than your original research when choosing this company to apply to for a job. You probably don't need to memorize a lot of details, but just be aware of the company's culture, how they think, and what are their key accomplishments. At the very least, you should be able to use their terminology with some ease. If it is easier for you, consider taking notes on your research. If your preliminary research was already comprehensive, then there should be less work for you to do now. However, if it was only a cursory glance at their website, the call to an interview should allow you to more thoroughly investigate their organization. At the very least, be familiar with who is interviewing you and what is their background if that information is publicly available.

Be punctual. For the interview, be punctual. In fact, be more than punctual. It would be advised to arrive at the general location one hour before the interview time, and inside the waiting room by half an hour before the interview. You need not go into the waiting room to wait half an hour - 15 minutes prior to the interview will usually suffice. However, you might need to find where the rest rooms are, as well as get your apparel tidy before entering the waiting room. Just remember from the time that you step out of your car in the parking lot or get off the bus stop is when the interview already begins.  Also, it doesn't end until you board your vehicle again. The person interviewing you may happen to be on the streets when you get off. There's no need to get too nervous, but just be aware that you are being watched, and perhaps evaluated, from the time that you arrive at their organization. It's possible to give an excuse for being late if the traffic is somehow extremely congested, but you want to avoid giving any excuses at an interview. The interview is time for you to shine, not to give excuses.

Dress appropriately. In general, it is safer to dress slightly more formal if you are unsure of how formally to dress. In the profession and type of organization that you apply to, there generally is an unspoken dress code that you should adhere to, so you may want to ask others or other similar organizations what they would look for in a candidate's dress during an interview. You may want to bring a small mirror for yourself in case you can't find a rest room at the organization. Before the interview, you should also dress with an appropriate amount of clothing. For example, if you tend to sweat, it may be a good idea to not wear too much while waiting. However, if your hands tend to become cold, it may be a good idea to wear more clothing before your interview. You should generally try to practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, though, if you tend to become so nervous that your hands are too sweaty or too cold prior to an interview because you want the handshake to feel normal. You don't want the interviewer to feel so cold when shaking your hand.

In summary, to prepare for and do well in a job interview,

A. Practice.

B. Don't memorize predefined scripts.

C. Try longer-term methods of preparation.

D. Do your research.

E. Be punctual.

F. Dress appropriately.

Life Skills > Work Skills > Preparing and Doing Well in a Job Interview


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Last Checked 2015