The 13 Best Ways to Prepare for a Job Interview in 2022
So, you’ve got a big interview coming up for a job you really want, and your excitement is laced with more than a bit of apprehension. Maybe you’re still early in your career so fairly new to the interview process, or maybe this opportunity represents a major change and you’re feeling less confident than you otherwise would. Or maybe you just really want this job.
Either way, all those nerves are making it a bit hard to see clearly and strategize.
Thankfully, no matter what kind of job you’re applying for, the best practices of interview preparation tend to be more or less the same. That’s why we’ve made a list of 13 tips, tricks, and strategies to help you prepare for a job interview, so you can walk in with the confidence and professionalism you need to ace it.
Read the Job Posting Carefully
Hopefully you read the job description before you actually applied, but now that you’ve landed an interview you want to go through it again. Make sure you understand exactly what duties are being described, what skills and qualifications are “required,” and which are “nice to have.” Pay attention to the introduction to the listing, which will ideally give you some important background on the company, its mission, and what organizational needs this position is meant to address. If there’s anything that isn’t clear or that raises questions for you, make a note of it.
Do a Lot of Research
Research may be the most important aspect of making sure you’re prepared. It will help you make a good impression by demonstrating that you’re invested in the process and willing to do the work, help you decide what skills and qualifications you should highlight to the interviewer, and reveal gaps in the information you need to decide if the job is right for you.
Here are some steps you can take to research the job opportunity:
- Thoroughly read the company website, including recent announcements on their news page and/or blog.
- Read their careers page for information about company culture and benefits.
- Do an internet search for recent articles about the company in the media, or for mentions on social media or in content published by other brands.
- If possible, actually try the company’s products or services for yourself and make note of your impressions.
- Look for biographical information or publications about key executives. If you know the name of the person who will be interviewing you, you should definitely try to learn about them as well.
- Look at sites like Glassdoor for reviews from current and past employees, as well as salary information for similar jobs. Checking out LinkedIn is also a great idea.
- Do cursory research on similar companies, as well as known competitors.
Consider Why You Are Qualified for this Role
Armed with the information from the job posting, as well as everything learned through your research, you should be able to make a list of reasons why you would be a great hire. Think about your hard skills, soft skills, accomplishments, and interests, and why they make you a great fit for this particular role and for the company culture and mission at large.
Ask Yourself Why You Want This Particular Job
By this point, you should have a fairly strong sense of why you want this job. In addition to being generally well suited to your qualifications and interests, will it help you advance your skills in a particular area? Set you on the path to your career goals? Put you in contact with interesting people in your field and help you build your network? Does the work environment sound positive and enriching? Do you believe strongly in the company mission?
These are important questions to keep in mind, because if you’re not sure yet, you’ll definitely want to learn more during the interview process to help you get some answers.
Think About Your Salary Expectations
Thinking about your qualifications and arming yourself with plenty of research can also help you calculate how much money you want to make in your next role – and whether that salary is reasonable to expect. While you probably don’t want to bring up salary during the early stages of an interview process, an interviewer may ask you about your salary expectations. Thinking ahead will also put you in a stronger position if you receive an offer and want to negotiate (which you definitely should)!
Go Over Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
All of the steps above will help you answer some of the most commonly asked interview questions. We’ve already published a helpful guide to this particular topic, and we recommend that you look it over and prepare some responses in advance.
Just keep in mind that you don’t want to write out and memorize a detailed script – sounding robotic and rehearsed is never a good idea, and you don’t actually know whether your interviewer will ask these questions, in this particular way. But putting together a couple of bullet points for each question can help make sure that the information you need is at the top of your mind.
Prepare a List of Questions for the Interviewer
Remember that an interview is a two-way process. In addition to learning about you, the interviewer is also there to provide you with the information you need to assess whether this job is right for you. Going in with a smart list of questions shows that you’ve done your research and put some thought into the interview process. Questions are also an opportunity to gain clarity on any aspects of the role that you may have some confusion about, and can help you decide whether this is the right opportunity for you.
Do A Mock Interview
If possible, have a friend or family member sit with you and play the role of the interviewer, giving you the chance to formulate your answers out loud. It may be useful for you to record the mock interview on your phone – and if you can’t find another person to help, you can still make a recording or video of yourself answering some of the common interview questions we mentioned above. Pay attention not just to your words, but to your tone of voice and body language. Do you seem poised, friendly, and confident?
Prepare Your Outfit
Your appearance during a job interview is super important, so deciding what to wear is crucial. You’ll ideally want to select an outfit a couple of days in advance so you’re sure you have everything you need, and that your clothes are cleaned and ironed so that you’re not scrambling. Similarly, when you get dressed, make sure that your hair looks clean and tidy, and your makeup enhances your look without being over-the-top.
Estimate Your Travel Time and Plan Your Transportation
If you’re applying for a job in the city where you live, you probably have a decent sense of how you’ll get to the interview and how long it will take. Even so, you’ll want to map out a route in advance and however much time Google tells you it’ll take, add at least 15 minutes as a cushion (and even longer if it’s a long route). It’s always better to be early than late, so you’ll also want to check traffic well ahead of time, or for any changes or delays in public transportation service. If an “act of God” leads to a delay that you couldn’t have avoided, call or email your interviewer (ideally both) as soon as you can and explain why you’re running late.
Pack Your Bag
If you’re doing the interview in person, you’ll want to bring everything you need with you and assemble it ahead of time so again, you’re not scrambling to leave the house. It’s likely that you’ve already submitted your CV and portfolio online, but it’s always a good idea to bring a couple of printed copies for reference, so that the hiring manager doesn’t have to scramble to pull them up. A notebook and pen to take notes is also a great idea. If you wear makeup, you can bring some along for a touch-up before you go in. And it’s generally a good idea to come armed with anything that will help you feel energized, fresh and ready!
Get Your Workspace Ready
The two points above assume that your interview will happen in person, but an increasing number of jobs and early-stage interviews are going remote. If you’ll be interviewing online, make sure the room around you is clean and organized, and that anything personal is put away out of sight. Do your best to ensure things are quiet by closing windows and doors, and inform any housemates that you have an interview and would appreciate it if they keep things down. Also make sure that any tech that will factor into your interview – whether it’s a program like Zoom or your jittery wifi – is working, and that you know how to use it.
Do Whatever Makes You Feel Calm and Confident
Before the interview, whether it’s happening virtually in your home or in person a big corporate office park, you’ll want to practice a little bit of self care. Making sure you’re well-slept and well-fed is a must for literally everyone, because both fatigue and hunger can increase anxiety and decrease focus. We also have some general tips for how to keep cool if you find yourself getting nervous.
Beyond that, how you calm yourself down – or pump yourself up – is highly individual. Maybe doing yoga first thing in the morning helps ground your mind and body for the day. Maybe you want to start your drive early, so you have five minutes to sit in your car and say some positive affirmations out loud before you walk inside. Maybe blasting Beyoncé on the subway makes you feel like a badass who is ready to take on the world.
Whatever it is that works for you, go for it! And remember that you’ve done a great job of preparing yourself for this moment. So even if you don’t get the job – or if you decide you don’t want it – you can be proud that you gave it your best.