Preparing for a Job Interview

One of the best ways to reduce nervous tension is to learn how to prepare for a job interview, both physically and intellectually.

  • Be mentally fresh – get a good night’s sleep.
  • Wear clothing appropriate to the company’s image and suitable to the job.
  • Your appearance is important. You will be judged on your grooming and overall presentation before you even get a chance to speak. If you are a smoker, you should refrain from smoking just prior to the interview.
  • Make sure that you have the correct address and time of the appointment so you do not arrive late and breathless for your interview.
  • Remember that the receptionist may have been instructed to write down her impressions of you. Treat everyone you encounter with friendliness and respect.
  • Be sure you know the name and correct pronunciation of the person or persons who will be interviewing you.
  • Develop a firm but not bone-crushing handshake.
  • In preparing for an interview, take only those things you need – two copies of your resume, a list of references, important work samples, a reliable pen and a note pad – all of which should fit neatly into a large envelope or briefcase.
  • Thoroughly review the research you have done on the company, the interviewer(s) and the position so that you can discuss the position you are applying for in a knowledgeable manner.

Job Interview Dos and Don’ts

  1. Think before you answer. It is quite acceptable to pause to organize your thoughts before responding.
  2. If you are asked a question that you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
  3. Answer truthfully. After all, if you are playing a game in order to get hired and are successful, the employer will undoubtedly discover any misrepresentation once you are on the job. Most companies make it a standard practice to check out information (educational information, transcripts, references, work history, etc.) that you have provided.
  4. Body language is a serious part of any interview. Sit up straight, not too relaxed in your chair. Avoid nervous habits such as twisting hair or tapping fingers. Appear alert, attentive and enthusiastic. Above all, maintain eye contact with your interviewers.
  5. A good method to see whether the interviewer understands your answers is to observe his/her body language. If you are unsure, ask directly whether you have adequately answered his/her questions.
  6. Occasionally, you will be interviewed by someone less experienced who asks only ‘closed-ended’ questions – ones which evoke a “Yes” or “No” answer. Whenever possible, try to expand and give an example of why you answered the way you did. If the interviewer does most of the talking, you won’t get a chance to convey who you really are and the company will lack the information they need to make an informed decision.
  7. Don’t be afraid to let people know you are interested in the job – if you want the job, ask for it!One candidate came back to the recruitment consultant after an interview and said the job was exactly what he wanted. When the consultant spoke to the supervisor, he said, “I wish I had known that. He was excellent and I would have hired him on the spot; but I couldn’t read his interest level. He seemed bored. Right after he left, my second choice called to say that he really appreciated the time spent with him and that he really wanted the job, and so I offered the position to him instead.”
  8. If your nerves get the best of you at interviews, you may leave the wrong impression. If you are not a good communicator, tell the interviewer that you are good at what you do, but not as comfortable interviewing. That way you break the awkwardness by making an honest statement.