How to Prepare for a Job Interview

preparing for a job interview - a man is seated across a woman. He is looking at a sheet of paper. The woman's hands are closed and she is smiling.


Job interviews can be intimidating for both the employer and the job seeker. As an employer, you will receive a lot of applicants, but how do you make sure you employ the best one for your company? As a job seeker, how do you know which company is right for you?


Here are some tips on how you can prepare for a job interview :


As an employer :


  1. Have a clear picture of your ideal candidate

Before you start the interview, think about your ideal candidate. Have a clear idea of this person’s characteristics, skills, knowledge and experience, as well as motivation and interests.


       2. Choose your questions wisely

To decide the questions you’re going to ask, use the job description to determine which skills are most important and should be determined during the interview. List specific questions that you will consistently ask each candidate. This is important if you will be interviewing other applicants and want to compare their answers later. 


       3. Have an interview structure

If you come unprepared you will end up wasting your time and the candidate’s time. Prepare a flow and structure for your interview. You can start the interview with a brief introduction and description of the main goals of the position and what your company hopes to achieve, followed by the interview questions.


       4. Take notes and listen carefully

Focus on what the candidate is saying and take note of any positive or negative attributes. Write down notes, comments, and any other follow-up questions you might want to ask them later on.


       5. Give them a chance to ask questions

Applicants should be given the chance both to answer your questions and to ask questions of their own. They should have a chance to determine if the job and company is right for them. This will also give you a chance to see how much they prepared for the interview.


Sometimes, companies bring certain applicants back for second or even third interviews for a number of reasons. Some common reasons are either they want to confirm that an applicant is the ideal candidate for the position, or they may be trying to choose between two or more qualified applicants.


During the follow-up interview, you should ask more specific questions to decide if the applicant is the right one for the job and for the company. You can invite other staff members to join the interview to have different perspectives later on when you are deciding who to hire.


As a job seeker


  1. Read the job description carefully

The job description is where you can find the qualifications and qualities the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Assess if you have the experience required and qualities listed in the description. The more you can align yourself with their ideal candidate, the more the employer will be able to see that you are qualified. 


       2. Research the company

Doing your research about the company you are applying for is an important part when preparing for an interview. This will help you learn about the company’s goals and what they have achieved so far. You can also use this to prepare for possible questions they may ask you during the interview.


       3. Consider your answers for common questions

Every company will have a different set of questions. While you can’t predict all of the questions, there are some questions that are sure to be asked over and over again. Questions like, “Why do you want to work here?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” are some of the commonly asked questions in any company. 


       4. Practice

Another important step before you go to any interview is practice. The best way to do this is to ask a friend to act as the employer and for them to ask you questions. Ask for feedback after they listen to your answers. See which parts need improvement. Keep practicing until you sound more relaxed and confident. 


       5. Check if you have everything you need the day before

Three things to check before the day of the interview :


        5.1. Printed copy of resume

Nowadays, resumes are sent through email, but your employer might need a reference during the interview. Having copies to present to interviewers shows that you’re prepared.

       5.2. Travel time

Check the travel time before the day of the interview. Think about the traffic, how long the commute is from your house to the company office, and any possible delays that may happen. Always arrive 15 minutes early so you have time to relax and collect your thoughts before the interview.

       5.3. Dress to impress

Even if you have all the qualities and experiences they need, if you don’t dress appropriately, you’re giving the interviewers the impression that you lack respect for yourself and the people you are meeting with. Consider the clothes you will wear for your interview. You want to look clean and polished.


Now you are ready for your job interview. Whether you get offered the job depends largely on how well you perform during the interview, so make a great first impression on your employer.


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