How to prepare for an interview

How to prepare for an interview

 Maybe you have been applying for jobs and you finally got the long-awaited call for an interview but you have no clue on what to expect or how to prepare yourself yet That interview is standing between you and your dream job and all you want is to Ace it.

An invitation to an interview means that they consider you a potential fit at least from your skills, education qualification, and experience. So now all you have to do is to appear in person and convince them further that you are the perfect fit.

Remember that you will not be the only one being interviewed and so it is your duty to make yourself stand out from the best. You all probably have the same resume qualifications. To stand out you will have to be confident, composed, knowledgeable, asking and giving the right answers and most of all being prepared for the interview.

Let me quickly take you through tips on how to prepare for an interview

  1. Do a background check on your potential employer

This is the most important thing you will have to do. No employer wants to hire someone who has no clue what they do and what they are all about. This will disqualify you outright. Check their website, almost all companies have a website, check their social media platforms as well as any literature that you can get about them. Familiarize yourself with what the company is all about.

Ask around for information regarding the company. Someone might know someone who works there and is willing to give you more information on even the salary range and the office culture.

  1. Prepare Responses to interview questions.

If you have been going for a couple of interviews, then you know that the questions asked are usually more or less the same. Questions like, tell us about yourself, why do you think we should hire you and many more are questions that you should prepare thoroughly. They are simple yet they will determine your being hired. Look for someone to rehearse the interview questions with and let them advise you on what you should improve on or even ditch altogether.

Go through your resume as most questions will come from what you have indicated in there. Be sure that you know everything about your resume including the dates and durations. Most people who cook timings find themselves disqualified instantly.

Another important question that you should prepare to answer is, Why did you leave your previous job.

III.    Plan on what to wear to the interview

Your very first impression will be your grooming so you must get it right the first time. Make your hair neat, your nails clean and manicured, put on clean ironed clothes and clean shoes. Go for neutral colored outfit like dark blue, dark grey, brown or black and pair it with a soft colored shirt like light blue or white. You can never go wrong with a suit but all in all, make your best judgment on what formal dressing is. In most cases, you will not be given any dressing instruction but should you, then strictly follow the code given.

If you are planning to wear accessories, wear toned down kind of accessories. Remember that less is more.

  1. Prepare your documents

Have your documents ready and printed out. Make 2 extra copies for each just in case. Place them in a neat folder in a specific order.

For an interview you will need to take along with you:

  • A copy of your resume
  • Your academic qualifications
  • Your identification card
  • A list of current professional references
  • A portfolio with relevant work samples
  • A pen and a writing pad
  • A list of questions to ask the interview

 Get the directions to the interview location.

Research on the location of the interview in advance so that you don’t waste time looking for where it is on the material day. You can end up getting late which will look so bad or you end up disoriented by the time you get to the interview. Make sure to arrive at least an hour early to the interview.  Lateness is a no-no for an interviewee.

Interview Etiquette

Now that you have everything in place, you will now need to know how to conduct yourself before, during and even after an interview

It is advisable to ask questions during an interview. Don’t make this a Q&A session but rather a conversational interview. This way you will build a relationship with the interviewee and make a more lasting impression. Do not, however, ask about the salary until you have passed the interview and they are ready to engage you further. You can ask questions like: 

  • Greet the people you meet as you walk into the waiting room
  • Be mindful of your nonverbal communications, people can read into your facial expressions
  • Stay confident. Establish eye contact but do not stare, sit upright, look up, give a firm handshake, talk audibly and beware of nervous gestures like stammering, blubbing, nail-biting and foot-tapping.
  • Turn off your cell phone or put it on flight mode or silent. It is rude to go out to pick your phone in the middle of an interview as well.
  • Do not come to the interview chewing gum or snacking and do not carry your morning coffee with you.
  • Leave your cap or hat at home, it is disrespectful to wear one even at an informal interview
  • Do not wear a strong perfume

The key to succeeding is good planning so plan for your interview and you will enjoy your interview regardless of whether you proceed to the next level or not. Planning also will also boost your confidence and help you not make silly mistakes during an interview. Since you already prepared your responses, you will not seem clueless. And no the interview will not seem rehearsed.