How to prepare for that upcoming job interview


So you have a job interview lined up. Good for you! Believe it or not, actually getting a job interview is probably one of the hardest parts of the employment process. If an employer is willing to interview, that means that they must have liked what they saw in your resume or your cover letter. They want to get a chance to know you face to face. All you have to do is act natural and professional, and everything should be fine.

Now what I just said is what you should feel before your job interview, but that’s rarely how any of us feel when we land one. Most people are filled with anxiety and doubt during the time before a job interview, worrying about all things that could go wrong. It can be a stressful time, but you can take control if you want to. I advise preparing yourself with a set of guidelines that will help you anticipate the direction of the interview.

Here are four guiding principles that might help you tackle that job interview.

Know your strengths

You only have so much time to explain yourself during an interview. This is a time to play to your strengths. Rather than make excuses to your interviewer for how you didn’t do something during a previous job or how you’ve stumbled at some point in your profession, you should plan to focus on the positives of your career. You want your potential employer to have a glowing mental picture of your value as an employee, so plan on making every second of the interview count towards building that ideal image. Be nice, be forward, be inquisitive, and be yourself.

Anticipate explaining your value as a potential employee

This point expands on the previous one. Plan to explain your strengths to your potential employer, but plan to explain in particular how those strengths will benefit their business if you’re hired. If you’re a recent college grad with a business degree, maybe you can explain how your academic experience can bring a new and bold perspective to the potential employer.

If you’re an industrious financial professional, maybe you can pitch your success as a number-cruncher as a huge benefit to an accounting firm or a financial management company. The point is that you take your core strengths and apply them specifically to the duties asked in the job posting so you can prove your worth to the interviewer.

Show that you understand the employer’s business

It’s also a good idea to study and review the background information about the employer before you go in for the interview. You want to show the interviewer that you have a firm grasp on the industry that they do business in, and you can’t do that unless you’ve taken the time to research what they do. The interviewer might appreciate your initiative if you show that you know at least a little bit about the employer’s business practices and company goals. If anything, the research will give you plenty to talk about with the interviewer should your interview run longer. The more you have to talk about, the better your interview should be.

Take a deep breath

This is the most important point I can offer to you. Like I said before, the hardest part is over: you have the interview set up, now you just need to show up on time and act natural. There’s only so much that you can prepare for before an interview just because you don’t know exactly what the interviewer will ask you. Some employers will ask you fairly conventional questions about your life goals and your career ambitions, while others might ask questions that you could never anticipate.

You can study the company for as long as you want, and you can act out interview scenarios with your friends, but there’s really only so much prep you can do. Take a deep breath and realize that you’re completely capable of knocking the interview out of the park, and you should be fine.

About the Author:

Stephanie Brooks is a freelance writer and blogger who mostly enjoys covering all things education, including online universities and traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. When she’ snot writing, she can be found at the gym working out to Zumba and cooking healthy recipes at home. She welcomes your feedback.