How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Searching for a new job can be stressful, and once you land that ever-so-important first interview, the nerves don't go away.

By: Rebecca Grissom & Jake Hreha

Searching for a new job can be stressful, and once you land that ever-so-important first interview, the nerves don't go away. You want to make a positive impression, and that can weigh on your mind as interview day approaches. If you’re prepping for a big interview, don’t worry! We have you covered with three simple tips to help you prepare for the interview process.

1. Research the company.

The people who will interview you have already reviewed your résumé and basic information – so extend them the same courtesy. Look over the company website and familiarize yourself with its mission statements, values, and policies. You also need to have a strong understanding of the job description to show the hiring manager you understand how this job fits into the company's mission. This will help you connect your gifts and passions with the company’s goals during your interview.

Employers want people who are interested in adding to their company's story and mission. If you haven’t done your homework by researching the organization, you may seem like someone who just wants a job. Companies know who has done their work to prepare for an interview and who has not. Go above and beyond by showing your interviewers why you chose their company. This step in interview preparation goes a long way in showing you care about the role.

2. Prepare in advance.

Don’t wait until the day of the interview to get everything in order. Make sure you have all the supporting documents you need, directions to the interview location, and (of course) a confidence-boosting interview outfit picked out ahead of time. Practice mock interview questions with yourself or a friend. Some of the most common questions that come up in job interviews are:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • What are your biggest strengths/weaknesses?
  • What skills do you have that no other applicants have?
  • How do you handle stressful situations?

Prepping for your interview ahead of time will help you put your best foot forward, showing potential employers you are serious about the job. Have interview answers ready to go and your interview skills honed for the big day. When doing an in person interview it’s also good to arrive at least 10 minutes early, so if you run into traffic or have trouble finding the right place, you won’t be late. If you are doing video interviews or a remote interview be sure that the link works ahead of time so there is no issue when it's go time.

3. Ask good questions.

Most employers end an interview with, "Do you have any questions for us?" This is an employer's chance to see your curiosity and critical thinking at work. Employers use this interview technique to assess you just as much as they use the prepared interview questions. Go to your interview with a list of questions prepared beforehand because it might be hard to come up with them on the spot. Here are some possible questions to get you started:

  • What are some specific examples of projects I’d be working on if I got hired for this role?
  • What would a typical day look like for this position?
  • Can you give me an example of a new hire who was successful in their position?
  • How will you measure the success of this role?
  • How would you describe your company's culture?
  • Is there anything on my résumé that concerns you or would keep you from hiring me?

Your questions are the last impression you’ll leave with potential employers, which is why it’s important to make sure you have good ones.

Final Tips to Prepare for An Interview

The hiring process can look different for each role you apply for. At larger companies the process may start with a phone interview to make sure you are a qualified candidate with relevant skills for the role. For almost every role there is a face to face interview. This could be either online or in person. Regardless of the method be sure you use good body language, make eye contact, and listen carefully to show you are engaged with the interviewer. After the interview, leaving an interviewer a thank you note can be a great way to show your character and show you are grateful for the opportunity.

The job search process can be difficult, so having key strategies in place to prepare for an interview is important. Landing an interview is exciting and sometimes daunting. If you have an interview standing between you and future opportunities, remember that research, preparation, and good questions will help you leave a lasting impact on potential employers. If you want more career tips, take a look at the rest of our blog.

Rebecca Grissom

Copywriting and Marketing Assistant, IWU-National and Global

Rebecca Grissom is currently a junior at Indiana Wesleyan University pursuing degrees in Strategic Communications and Humanities. She is passionate about good books, good coffee, and telling stories. When she's not working, Rebecca enjoys time spent with her dogs, nature, and friends.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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