How to: Prepare for an Interview

You have applied for a job that you are really interested in. You have submitted a cover letter along with your resume and after about a week you get called in for an interview. You are extremely excited, but you also have no idea what to do next. In this blog, you will read the most important steps in preparing for job interviews. These steps include rehearsing common questions by interviewers, a proper dress code, and researching the company that is interviewing you.

It is always a good thing to practice what an interviewer might ask you. For instance, they could ask, “Why do you think you are a good fit for this job?” or “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”. These are open-ended questions, so it is up to you to do your best at selling your answers. It is advised that you should have an answer prepared and at the ready during an interview. Interviewers do not like having to wait for an answer while you sit there and think. It is also good to be prepared for these answers so you reduce stuttering and using words like “um” and “uh”. Also, do not over memorize your answers! You do not want to sound like a robot and answer everything immediately after the question is asked, it is one thing to know your answers, but you should not be replying as if reading off a script.

As a person who suffers with anxiety, it was a complete nightmare going into my first job interview. I had no idea what kind of questions I would be asked or how to “correctly” answer them. One tip that my parents suggested was that I do a mock-interview. My mother’s boss brought me into his office and made me answer well-known job interview questions. Doing this mock interview allowed me to try answering questions that I could be asked and not be as nervous about the situation. Sure, I was still incredibly nervous for my real interview the next day, but at least I was a bit more prepared. When it came time for me to apply for the part-time job I currently work at, I felt completely prepared for any questions they might ask me.

“Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you are dressed” (n.d., Michigan State University). You might be wondering why it is good to dress nicely and appropriately. It is because you want to make a good first impression. No matter what the job is, you should dress appropriately. Generally, males should wear a suit and females should wear a suit with a skirt or pants. Hygiene also plays a huge role. Your clothing should be neat and clean and it is also highly recommended that you shower and brush your teeth before the interview. A great example of this is the movie The Pursuit of Happiness (2006). Will Smith plays a hard-working, dedicated father and salesman named Chris Gardner. With sales not going great and bills piling up, he continues to put on his suit and tries his best to sell at least something daily. He and his son eventually become homeless, sleeping wherever they could. They once slept in a train station bathroom! Despite all of this, Chris still had his best suit on and tried his very best to sell something. He was interviewed for jobs and no one knew he was homeless. That is why it is always good to dress nicely and appropriately.

Lastly, it is very important to research the company that is interviewing you. You should research the job that you have applied for. Write down questions about the company and the job. Employers enjoy getting asked questions because it shows them that you have done your research, you are serious about job, and you are not scared to ask questions. You should research as much as possible to learn as much as you can about the position you are applying for and the company. Do not ask questions just to ask questions. Interviewers will see through that. Ask genuine and relevant questions. From personal experience, I researched as much as I could about the company I work for now. I asked questions about my position and the company. My boss really liked that. It showed that I was motivated, eager, and ready to work. That was my first and only interview ever and now I work for a great company. It pays to do your research. Do not be lazy!

Going hand-in-hand with researching the values of the job and/or company you have applied to, one should research the skills and job requirements for the job, and advertise yourself accordingly for that job. Why is this so important you may be asking yourself? It is important because it allows the employer to see that you are genuinely interested in the job that you had advertised yourself to fit in thus showing what an asset you could be for the company.

For example, when I first applied to Tim Hortons I knew that I would need to work as a team member. Therefore, in the interview I talked about my previous job at Dairy Queen and how communication was a key factor in having a successful and smooth-running shift. Then when I searched the internet for what skills would be beneficial for Tim Hortons I discovered that it is a very faced paced environment. So, I added my years of playing soccer to my resume and discussed how I read the job revolves around a fast-paced environment and soccer has giving me the skills to stay calm and function under pressures. Lastly in the interview I informed them that I am a problem solver and excel in finding solutions to what are seemingly impossible problems. I myself have solved more than a few problems surrounding the workplace and have been told I am a valuable employee.

In conclusion, a few steps you should take when preparing for an interview is to rehearse your answers for common questions asked by interviewers, dress professionally, try conducting a mock-interview and research as much as possible about the job that you have applied for and the company interviewing you.

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