Acing a job interview has as much to do with the way you prepare as it does your poise and confidence in the interview chair. Preparing for an interview might seem intimidating, but there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself for a successful interview.

You should spend the time leading up to your interview learning as much as you can about the company you’re applying to, from the company’s culture to the interview questions that are likely to be asked. If your research is thorough, you will be in a great position to ace your job interview and get the job you’ve been dreaming of.

Prepartions start early on, even before you apply to jobs. Preparing for an interview primarily means taking time to thoughtfully consider your goals and qualifications relative to the position and employer. To accomplish this, you should perform research on the company and carefully review the job description to understand why you would be a good fit. Let’s look at the steps to preparing for an interview.

To summarize:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the company
  • Preparing for your interview and preparing questions to ask during the interview
  • Knowing how to evaluate the company to decide if it’s a good fit for you
  • Managing your expectations with research to know exactly what it’s like to work for this company

1. Carefully examine the job description

During your prep work you should use the employer’s posted job description as a guide. The job description is a list of the qualifications, qualities and background the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. The more you can align yourself with these details, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. The job description may also give you ideas about questions the employer may ask throughout the interview.

2. Consider why you are interviewing and your qualifications

Before your interview, you should have a good understanding of why you want the job and why you’re qualified. You should be prepared to explain your interest in the opportunity and why you’re the best person for the role.

3. Perform research on the company and role

Researching the company you’re applying to is an important part of preparing for an interview. Not only will it help provide context for your interview conversations, it will also help you when preparing thoughtful questions for your interviewers.

Researching the company and role as much as possible will give you an edge over the competition.

If you have questions about the workplace environment, culture, personality or values, be sure to ask during the interview.

4. Consider your answers to common interview questions

While you won’t be able to predict every question you’ll be asked in an interview, there are a few common questions you can plan answers for. You might also consider developing an elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are, what you do and what you want.

5. Prepare several thoughtful questions for the interviewer(s)

Many employers feel confident about candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the company and the position. You should take time before the interview to prepare several questions for your interviewer(s) that show you’ve researched the company and are well-versed about the position.

6. Sell yourself

One of the biggest challenges in an interview is selling yourself. Most people are uncomfortable with this idea, but presenting yourself accurately and positively doesn’t have to feel like a sale. The truth is that you do have professional skills and experiences that may set you apart from other applicants, so it’s acceptable and expected for you to acknowledge them to your potential employer.

When you prepare for a job interview, make note of your skills that relate to the role and think of how your experiences and abilities can contribute to the overall goals of the department and company. Your answers will be somewhat short, so you want to choose the most positive and relevant information to share during the interview.

If you have metrics or stats to show your accomplishments or growth during your previous roles, they’re a great help in selling yourself during the interview. For example, you may have increased sales by a certain percentage or increased social media engagement in your last position.

7. Present your unique value proposition

Your past work experience should have molded you into an employee with a unique set of skills and capabilities that set you apart from other candidates. Now, it’s up to you to bundle all of these valuable traits together and present them as your sales pitch on why you should be hired.

Preparing well is the cornerstone of knocking your interview out of the park. Give yourself the best possible chance of success by doing your research, preparing your responses, practicing aloud, and thinking thoughtfully about your values, goals, and skill set.

Happy Careers