How to Prepare For a Job Interview
Last updated September 11, 2023
Preparing for an interview is an important part of the job application process. It can be a bit intimidating, but with some preparation, you can interview with confidence. Here’s what you can do before, during, and after your job interview to land a great gig!
Before the interview
Do your homework
The first step in any interview process is to research the company and the position you’re applying for. This will help you not only prepare to answer questions in your interview, but to ask questions of your own at the end. Do your research in three parts, and ask yourself the following questions:
- About the company: What makes the company unique? What are their mission and values? How do they treat and compensate their employees? Do they cultivate a work environment and culture that you would enjoy working in? You can usually learn most of this information on the company’s website or Glassdoor or LinkedIn page.
- About the job: What are the responsibilities of your desired role? What problems will this role solve? What skills are the company looking for in a candidate that you can match to your own strengths and qualifications? Make sure you thoroughly read the posting and any materials the employer may have sent to you to get a full understanding of the job and scope of work.
- About the interviewers: What is their position in the company? If offered the job, how might you work with them in your role? If the company has a website, you can usually find this information on the “Team” or “About Us” page.
- If you can't find this information: If you can’t find specific information about the job or company online, or if the interview is for a job at a retail store, food chain, or a local mom and pop shop, it could be helpful to draw from your own experiences from interacting with this company. Have you ever been a customer there? If so, what was your experience like? This could also be a great opportunity to ask for more information about the company during the interview. For example, you can ask questions like: What is the story behind this company getting started? Does the business feel the same as when it got started? How has it changed?
Prepare for common questions
While every job is different, there are common questions that may be asked in your interview - be sure to study them and practice your answers for each.
Prepare questions to ask
Typically, the last question an interviewer will ask is, “Do you have any questions for me?” Job interviews are a mutual exploration; while the interviewer is trying to find if you’re the right fit for the job, you should be finding if the job is the right fit for you too! Plan to ask 3-5 questions ahead of time - some may be answered during your interview, and you might think of new questions during the interview. Not sure what to ask? Check out our list of the top job interview questions to ask an interviewer!
As with every other skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll be! We recommend doing a practice interview with a friend or family member to answer the most common interview questions out loud - they can provide advice and feedback on your answers. Doing a practice interview can also help calm your nerves and avoid scrambling your answers when it comes time for the real interview.
Know what (and what not) to bring
If your job interview is in person, it’s important to know what to bring with you. We recommend bringing copies of your resume, a list of references, your list of questions to ask the interviewer, and a pen and paper to jot down any notes. We recommend keeping your cell phone off or silenced, and things like headphones, gum, etc. in your bag or out of sight so that they're not distracting during the interview.
Dress to impress!
Interviewing in a more formal and professional outfit can not only boost your self-confidence, but show employers that you care about landing the job. Read our article on how to look, dress, and feel your best in an interview before choosing your outfit!
The day of the interview
Get to the location early (if in-person)
Whether you plan to take public transportation, walk, or drive to the interview, make sure you have your route planned out to anticipate any delays. It’s best to be there at least 15 minutes early to give you enough time to find the interview room and help calm any last-minute jitters.
Have a phone or video interview?
Check out our top phone and interview tips!
During an in-person or video interview, it’s important to be mindful of your body language. Sitting or standing up straight, giving your interviewer a firm handshake, and making eye contact as you give your answers can help you seem engaged and confident.
Ask for a business card or contact information
Before your interview ends, make sure to ask your interviewer(s) for their contact information if you don’t already have it.
After the interview
Send a thank you note
No matter what kind of interview you have, be sure to follow up and send a thank you note to your interviewer(s). Use this time to show your gratitude for the opportunity and highlight something good that stood out in your interview. This can be a physical thank you note or an email to your interviewer.
Every job interview will be a bit different, but taking some time to prepare in advance can help you interview with confidence! Need help with your job search? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!