Looking for the best tips on how to prepare for a job interview? You’ve landed on the right page. We get it, job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first one. That’s why we'll guide you through every possible step to help you prepare for your interview. We’ll give you tips on what to take to your job interview, the most common interview questions, and your body language during the interview.
You thought that was it? Nope. You'll also find tips on how to practice for your interview and what to do after the interview – yes, that's something people often forget about. So, read on and stand out from the other candidates with our 16 tips and tricks on how to prepare for an interview.
Your job interview preparation
But before we dive into how to prepare for an interview – what are interviews? And why are they important? To be specific: a job interview is a conversation between a hiring manager and a job applicant. The applicant can use this time to prove why they deserve or want this job. It also allows the hiring manager to evaluate the conversation, and see if you'd make a good fit for the team. It's kind of like speed dating, just longer.
There are different types of interviews, and maybe you've already experienced a couple. Your interview preparation will depend on what type of interview you have. The most common options are in-person, online, or phone interviews. The type of interview you'll have mainly depends on the organisation. Some employers even prefer to evaluate you based on a pre-recorded video. Regardless of the type of interview you’ll have, our guide will help you through it.
Want specific tips for the different types of interviews? We've got you covered. Check our articles with tips for online interviews or tips for a phone interview.
16 tips for your interview preparation
Congrats, you've made it through the selection process. Now, it's time to make a good impression on the hiring manager during your job interview. Don’t have a clue on how to prepare for your interview? It'll be an easy task to land your ideal job, if you practice the following tips and tricks:
1. Ask for all the information you need for the job interviewDo you know the location, time, and duration of the interview? If you're in doubt, shoot an email to the hiring manager or person of contact. This'll show that you're really interested in the job, and that you're not afraid of taking initiative.
It's also good to know whether one, two, or three people will be interviewing you, so that if needed, you can know how to prepare for a panel interview.
2. Do your research
It's important to do your research. This not only impresses the hiring manager, but helps see if the company culture is right for you. So, what are the good-to-knows when doing your research?
The first step on how to prepare for an interview is to research the company. Go on the company's page. Explore what projects they've been working on lately, and where you could add value. By scrolling through their website, you'll also get a feel of whether it's an informal or formal company. This'll help you adjust your tone of voice and way of communicating during the job interview.
Finally, look for something that really inspires you about the company; this could be your answer to the question 'why do you want to work for this company?'.
3. Pinpoint your selling points during your interview prep
We know that it can be hard to pinpoint your own strengths and weaknesses. In your job interview preparation, you can think about compliments you've received from previous employers, friends, or family. Can't remember any? Go ahead and ask them if they can give you feedback, and write them down.
Look for ways to turn any weaknesses into selling points too. An example of a weakness: 'I find it hard to speak my mind'. This could mean that you're a very good listener. It's always to look at the glass half full rather than half empty.
4. Prepare a presentation for a job interview
Want to know what’s the best way to prepare for an interview? Take the lead. Avoid the traditional way of doing things, where they ask questions and you reply. If you'd like, you can inform the interviewer beforehand via email that you'll be doing a short presentation, so that they can adjust the schedule accordingly.
You can use Canva, Prezi, an infographic – whatever you like. Keep it short and creative. Start by stating some fun facts about yourself. Then, show some examples of work you've done previously that could add value to this company. Don't have any work experience? Don't fret. Mention your hard and soft skills, and how they would add value to the company. Always give concrete examples; hiring managers love that.
5. Practice your body language during your interview prep
The interviewer won't only be paying attention to your words, but also how you act, move, and express your emotions. Analysing your body language during an interview is the interviewer's way of seeing if your words match up with your actions. They'll also be able to determine whether you're really interested in the role or not.
So, how to prepare for your interview using body language? When you're speaking, make eye contact and use your hands, but don't overdo it. Is it your turn to listen? Sit still, don't move around too much, and nod to reassure the interviewer that you're really listening. Want all the details on how to use body language during an interview? Check out our tips.
6. Show initiative
An extra step you can take during your interview preparation, is to shoot the interviewer an email or message before the job interview. Let them know you're excited and are looking forward to meeting them before the job interview.
7. Prepare yourself for common interview questions
Of course, you won't know the answer to every single question that they might ask you during your job interview. However, thanks to the internet, there are tons of example questions that you can expect, such as:
- 'Tell us a bit about yourself'
- 'Why do you want to work for this company?'
- 'How will you add value to this company?'
- 'How did you hear about this job opening?'
- 'Why should we hire you?'
- 'Can you give an example of how you handled [situation] at your previous job?'
- 'What have you already done that relates to this role title?'
- 'Walk me through your CV'
When answering these questions, it's good to give examples. Want to dive deeper into these examples? Check out our blog on interview questions.
8. No ordinary response to the 'tell me about yourself' interview question
This question is an open-ended question. Thinking about this common question during your interview prep is important. It gives you the opportunity to make a good impression with the interviewer.
So, how do you answer this question? Well, let's get into what not to do; avoid rambling and becoming incoherent with your answer. So, during your job interview preparation, write down your strengths and weaknesses. You can also start by mentioning past experiences and how they relate to this current role you want. While you're at it, mention your age, where you live, and a fun fact about yourself.
9. Job interview prep: salary
Being able to negotiate your salary during an interview is a nice skill to have. Not many people feel comfortable negotiating salary, and most of the time, end up being unsatisfied or underpaid. So, before you go into the meeting, set a minimum for yourself
10. Prepare some questions to ask your interviewer
Most candidates will let a hiring manager ask all the questions. But interviewers like it when candidates also ask questions. This shows that you're genuinely interested and want to know more about the role. Here are a couple of good questions to prep for an interview:
- 'What do you want a new person to bring to the role?'
- 'What do the most successful employees here do differently than the rest?'
- 'What caught your attention on my CV?'
- 'What are the top skills you're after for this position?'
- 'What's the most challenging aspect of the role?'
- 'How do performance reviews work here?'
- 'What are the next steps in the interview process, and when can I expect to hear back from you?'
11. Practice for the interview
We've all heard it before, 'practice makes perfect', and it actually does. Practising the example questions, your introduction, and prepping good questions to ask during the interview, will reduce nervousness during your interview.
12. What to wear to a job interview
During your interview preparation you’ll have to put together a fit. But what’s appropriate? In formal environments, appropriate clothing for an interview might include: a tailored suit, button-down shirt with a tie, a blouse, lace up dress shoes, and stockings, to name a few. In a more informal setting, a basic t-shirt with jeans and sneakers are appropriate.
Avoid wearing clothes with lots of bright, flashy colours or patterns. Keep the accessories simple, or even try to avoid them. Also avoid plunging necklines or open tops. Check out our tips on what to wear to a job interview. Here, you'll get a better picture of what's expected.
13. What to take to your job interview
Even though you already submitted your CV and cover letter online, bring it to your job interview. This shows that you're prepared, and gives you the opportunity to go through it if you forget anything. Besides your CV and cover letter, it's also good to bring a pen, paper, and your laptop (if you're giving a presentation).
14. Be on time to your job interview
Remember that the hiring manager also puts effort into preparing for your interview. So, to show that you value their time and are excited about the interview, show up 5-10 minutes early to the meeting.
15. End the interview on a positive note
After the job interview, shake hands and thank them for taking the time to interview you. You could also add that you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon.
16. After the interview
After the interview, send the interviewer an email expressing how you enjoyed the meeting. State the things that you liked about the interview with examples and that you're looking forward to their response. Read more about our tips and tricks on how to follow up after an interview.
How to prepare for an interview: key takeaways
So, the most important things to keep in mind for your interview preparation are:
- Research the company during your interview prep
- Be on time to your job interview
- Ask questions to the interviewer, such as ‘what are you looking for in a candidate?’
- Establish your selling points: what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Always provide examples of your experience and skills
- If you want to stand out from the crowd: prepare a presentation
- End the job interview on a positive note by sending a “Thank You” email
Haven't applied to a job yet, but want to make sure you're 16 steps ahead? That's great because you’ve already started on the right foot! If you need some help updating your CV before applying to your ideal job, check out our free CV maker. It'll help you update or create an entirely new CV within 5 minutes.
FAQs about how to prepare for an interview
What are the best questions to ask in an interview?
- 'What's the most challenging aspect of the role?'
- 'What skills are you looking for in a candidate?'
- 'What about my CV caught your attention?'
How do you prepare for an interview?
Some of the best questions to ask in an interview are:
There are tons of tips and tricks to help you during your interview preparation. The most important things to keep in mind are: research the company, establish your strengths and weakness, and practice!
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