How to Prepare for an Interview
Even if you know how to prepare for an interview, you can still find yourself getting anxious as interview day approaches. Given everything that is at stake, this is perfectly natural. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to let your nerves get the better of you. A little bit of anxiety can actually be a good thing since it keeps you alert and on your toes, but if you get too jiggery, you can lose focus and give rushed, awkward answers. No matter how qualified you might be for the job, a lousy interview will spell your doom.
This article offers seven last minute interview tips that can help you land the job of your dreams. These tips for job interviews are surprisingly simple too! If you take these suggestions to heart, preparing for an interview will never be an issue again!
Dress for success
The first “how to prepare for an interview” tip is to make sure you are dressed appropriately. At the very least, you should wear dress pants and a tie, even if you are interviewing for an entry-level job. Of course, if you are interviewing for something highly professional, do not settle for anything less than a clean, pressed suit. Lay your outfit out a day or two before the interview because on the actual day you want to reduce the number of decisions that you will need to make. Plus, you will avoid getting into your car only to notice your tie has a dried coffee stain on it.
Time management and GPS are your friends
If you want to know how to have a successful interview, you can start by arriving on time. Some employers will automatically eliminate any candidates who are not in the interview chair on the dot. To make sure you are not one of them, check the route to the interview location and figure out how long the estimated arrival time will be. Then tack on 30 minutes so that if you make a wrong turn, encounter unexpectedly heavy traffic, or have trouble finding a parking spot, you will still be there as scheduled. You should also check your gas tank the day before the interview. Calling your prospective employer to say you are out of gas is not going to fly. How early should you be for an interview? Show up for the interview around 15 minutes early, but no earlier since showing up, say, an hour in advance might tip them off that you are an oddball.
The best way to prepare for an interview is to demonstrate, well, that you are a highly prepared person. This means when you show up, have a binder or folio with you. Keep extra copies of your resume just in case. Also take a notepad and pen. It is perfectly acceptable to come with a list of questions to ask. Jot down the names of the individuals you will be meeting with, but also commit them to memory.
Another suggestion that experts who know how to prepare for an interview make is to keep a little care package handy in your car or briefcase. It should contain such items as Kleenex, aspirin or Tylenol, minty Tic Tacs, and a bottle of water. A piece of chocolate can also be comforting, so include it for good measure.
Eat and drink right
When you wake up the morning of the big interview, you might not have much of an appetite. Nonetheless, you need to have a proper breakfast. It should not be too heavy, but at the same time it should contain the right mix of carbs, fats and protein since you want to be at the right energy level. As for suggestions on how to relax before an interview, you definitely would not want to overdo it with the coffee.
Find inner peace
Regarding how to be prepared for an interview, one of the best strategies is to focus on yourself. Close your eyes and breath in a calm, regular manner. Imagine yourself entering the interview room with your head up high and a confident demeanor. If you are feeling anxious, channel this energy in a positive way by convincing yourself that it is actually excitement.
Get some fresh air
If weather permits, walk around a bit outside. Take in the fresh air and sunshine. If it is hot and humid outside, crank up the air conditioning before leaving your car.
Ditch the Smartphone (at least temporarily)
As you approach the reception, you do not want any distractions. So resist the urge to check your Facebook page or text messages. You also should not read a book while you wait for two reasons: first, you obviously want the focus to be on the interview that is about to take place, but secondly it has been shown that when the hiring manager walks in to fetch the candidate, the candidate will instinctively appear surprised and startled. This is hardly the first impression that you want to make on him/her! You want to give the appearance that you are confident and ready for their questions! So if you need to fill up the time before the interview, take a second to engage in a bit of small talk with the receptionist (assuming he/she isn’t heavily engaged in a task) or glance around at the office to see what you can gather about the company culture.
There is one final point worth making in terms of things to do before an interview. You need to understand that the interview actually begins the instant you step foot on the company premises. Much like a football player considers the game to have started as soon as the team makes their journey down the tunnel, don’t wait until you’re sitting in the interview chair before you’ve decided it’s game time. You do not know who the other people in the parking lot or elevator are. They could be future colleagues or even the office’s head honcho, so treat them as if they are the ones who will make the decision. Show confidence around them and appear alert rather than nervous or disinterested. Then walk right into that reception area and demonstrate that you would be a key asset if hired by the company. Relax and breathe in, breathe out. While it is tempting to imagine that the person making the decision about hiring you has super-human powers, the truth is that they put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. They have emotions; they have highs and lows, a life outside of the workplace, and a personality. Make sure to connect with him/her on a human level and turn the interview into a wonderful conversation!