How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Most people dread the in-person job interview. Even the thought of an interview is enough to throw some into a tailspin of anxiety. What do you wear? What do you bring? How do you answer those tough questions? We at PromoPlacement completely understand and are here to help. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to prepare yourself for the interview.

Research The Organization

The very first thing you want to do in preparation is to research the company you will be interviewing with. Check out the company’s website. Read the “About Us” section and get a feel for who they are, what they are about, and when they were founded. Find something that speaks to you that you can slip into conversation.

Talk to someone who already works there or find someone on LinkedIn who is currently working in the position you will be interviewing for. See how they describe the position and find something you like about it. This will help you speak more to what the hiring manager may be looking for.

Package Your Positives

Go into the interview with a game plan. Select 2-4 key points about your experience and background that you want to make very clear to the interviewer. Reiterate these often. These points should tie into both the business goals of the company and the hiring goals of the hiring manager. They should be specific and spell out exactly why you are the right person for the job.

Package Your Negatives

Many candidates have some shortcoming or weakness within their career history. Maybe you have had a 3-month gap in employment or maybe your formal management experience is lacking. Whatever the issue is, be prepared to address it. Plan out in advance how you are going to explain it should it come up in the interview. It’s best to keep it brief. Explain it and move on to the next topic.

What To Wear

Keep it neutral and conservative. If you are wearing a dress, be conscience about the length, color, and cut. Be sure you stay professional top to bottom. If you are wearing a suit, be sure the jacket and pants match as well as the shoes. If you are instructed that the office is “business casual” be mindful. Still dress professionally, this may mean not wearing a full suit, but rather wearing a button down with dress pants. Remember you are trying to impress.

Remember to dress for the job you want not the job you have. Even if you are interviewing for a customer service job behind a desk and a phone, you still want upward mobility and the best way to ensure that is to show them right off the bat that you’re a professional.

What To Bring

Bring extra copies of your resume in some type of folder to keep them clean and neat. Bring a notepad or professional binder and a pen. Keep everything neat and professional. Read our “11 Essential Things to Take to Your Interview” blog post for more details.

First Impressions

Sit up straight. Manage how you react to the interviewer and do your best to keep positive facial expressions. Remember that your first impression starts when you walk through the door, so be friendly to everyone you see and meet. Make it clear that you’re actively listening to your interviewer by keeping good eye contact.

Keep Responses Simple

Be sure not to over share. No one needs to hear your life story in an interview and no one wants to hear you ramble on about the family dog. Keep your answers short and concise. Speak clearly and with meaning. You don’t need to use big words in your interview. Just speak to what you know and be yourself.

Always Ask Questions

Every interview ends with “Do you have any questions?” Always have questions. The number one question we recommend to our candidates is “Do you have any doubts about me taking this job?” This is where you can understand where they feel you may fall short and you get the chance to ease their doubts.  Other questions you can ask is “What do you expect of someone within the first 90 days of taking this position?” or “What are the next steps?”. Never ask about compensation, benefits, or PTO in the first interview. Those details will clarify themselves later in the process.

Send A “Thank You”

Send a “thank you” note or email to the person you interviewed with. Be sure to include why you want the position and why you feel you would be an asset to their company. This can make you stand out from all other candidates because this is the one step most people forget. I’ve seen it make the difference between getting the job or not.

The in-person job interview doesn’t have to be stressful or nerve wrecking.  Be confident in yourself and your abilities. Believe in yourself and prepare diligently and you’ll stand out from the pack.