job seeker shaking hands with her interviewer

Boost Your Confidence with These Job Interview Tips

5 Ways to Prepare for an Interview

Congratulations! You’ve passed the phone screening, and it’s time for your in-person interview. This is your opportunity to shine and show your potential employers why you’re the perfect fit.

Walking into an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you know you’ll be interviewing with multiple people throughout the day. There’s no way you can prepare for every possible question they’ll throw at you, but there are some simple things you can do ahead of time to minimize your anxiety.

Even if you only have a few days’ notice, taking the time to prep as much as you can will make a difference. Here are some simple tips to ensure you walk into your interview with confidence.


1. Prepare a Cheat Sheet a Few Days Ahead

You can’t help being a little nervous about your interview, but doing as much preparation as you can will help you keep your anxiety under control. You’ve already researched the company and the position, but you should review these things and jot down some notes on a cheat sheet. Review your resume and make any necessary tweaks to customize it to the position. As you do, add some of the key skills or experiences you want to highlight from your resume so you don’t forget.


2. Learn What You Can About Your Interviewers

In an interview, it is the company’s job to determine whether you’re the best candidate for the position and it’s your job to show them you are. The way you present yourself and your qualifications are key, but it’s also important to show respect for your interviewers. An interviewer might write off a fumbled response or two but being rude or unknowledgeable about the position is less forgivable.

Before your interview, send an email to the company to find out who will be interviewing you and their positions. Check the company website to see if you can find out a little more about them. Finding ways to make it evident that you’ve done your research will impress your interviewers and make you a candidate to remember. You should also ask questions yourself to demonstrate your interest and make sure the company is a good fit for you as well.


job seeker researching his interviewees and prospective employer online to prepare for an interview


3. Get Yourself Ready the Day Before

Preparing your cheat sheet a few days ahead is great, but most of your prep work will happen the day before the interview. Take the time to make at least five copies of your resume and references and put them in your bag along with a pen and notepad. You may even want to put them in folders so you can hand them out quickly and so they won’t get lost in the shuffle.

It’s also a good idea to plan and prepare your outfit the night before. Choose something professional, even if the company culture is very laidback. Your outfit should be clean, pressed, and fit well so you can look and feel your best. Don’t forget to do your skincare routine, including an acne medication if you’re experiencing any breakouts.


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4. Prepare Your Answers to Common Questions

The entire point of an in-person interview is to determine whether you’re a good fit for the position. Each interviewer will approach the interview in a different way and ask different questions depending on their position in the company. That being said, there are a few common interview questions you should be prepared to answer.

The most common question posed in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” Your response to this question sets the tone – it shows the interviewer what you think is important for them to know. They’re not asking about your hobbies (unless they’re relevant to the position). They want to know that you can think on your feet, communicate clearly, and have the knowledge, skills, and experience required by the position.

Don’t bother memorizing your exact answer to this and other common interview questions, but you should at least take the time to decide the key points you want to hit. Jot down a few notes on your cheat sheet so you can stay focused and not get off track.


job seeker preparing for her interview by reviewing her notes in the lobby


5. Arrive with Plenty of Time to Relax and Review

The day for your interview has finally arrived! If you’ve done your prep work, there shouldn’t be much for you to worry about that morning except for arriving on time. Plan to show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time so you can relax for a few minutes to calm your nerves and review your cheat sheet. Don’t forget to revisit the all-important, “Tell me about yourself” question as well.


Once you’ve completed your interview, the hard part is over! Just because you’re finished answering questions, however, doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook.

Following up after an interview is an important part of the process. Reiterate your interest in the position and ask your interviewer about next steps before you leave the room. Finally, don’t forget to thank your interviewers and send a thank you note within 24 hours. If you had multiple interviewers, be sure to send a personal note to each one.

Want more interview tips? Need to brush up on your resume writing skills? Check out our complete resource library for expert advice, email and letter templates, negotiation tricks, and more.

By Kate Barrington, Guest Author | March 17, 2020
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