Interview Preparation Tips

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 17, 2021

Related: Ultimate Job Interview Guide - What To Expect Plus Top 6 Tips

Jenn, a career coach at Indeed, provides a comprehensive look at the interviewing process and shares tips on how to position yourself for success at every step.

Preparing for an interview can make the process less intimidating and increase your chances of getting a great job. You'll be able to give more thoughtful, impressive answers to interview questions. You'll also be able to prepare some intelligent questions of your own. In this article, we discuss why interview preparation is important and some essential interview preparation tips for any applicant.

Why is interview preparation important?

Interview preparation is important because being well-prepared will make you more confident and allow you to give better answers. You'll have a chance to do some research and decide what skills and qualifications you want to emphasize in your interview.

Tips for interview preparation

Here are some top tips for interview preparation:

  • Look at the job description carefully

  • Think about why you're interviewing and your qualifications

  • Research the business and the role

  • Prepare answers to some common interview questions

  • Practice your body language and speaking voice

  • Get several thoughtful questions ready

  • Print some hard copies of your resume

  • Get your travel arrangements ready far in advance

  • Sell yourself

  • Follow up after the interview

Look at the job description carefully

A job description is a list of the qualities, qualifications, and background that the employer wants in an ideal applicant. You can show the employer that you're qualified for the position by aligning yourself with these details. The job description could also give you some hints about questions the employer might ask during the interview.

Think about why you're interviewing and your qualifications

You should be ready to explain why you want the job and why you're the best applicant for the role. Think about the benefits of the position, how it could further your career, and your skills and experience.

Research the business and the role

Researching the organization will offer context for your conversations with interviewers and make preparing the right questions easier. Learn everything you can about the most popular products or services that the company produces or promotes. Even if you won't be working with the product or service directly, you should have a good understanding of what the business offers. If possible, research some similar positions, and read some reviews from people with those jobs. That way, you can get an idea of what a typical day will be like.

During the interview, ask for clarification or details about the role if needed. An interview is as much about you deciding whether a company is a good fit as it is about the business finding a good employee. You should also look into the company culture. Many businesses have social media pages and blogs that discuss their company cultures and industries. This content can offer you an idea of the organization's tone, values, and personality.

Prepare answers to some common interview questions

There's no way to know exactly which questions you'll need to answer in an interview, but you can make sure you have articulate answers to the most common questions. Here are some examples of common interview questions:

Why do you want to work here?

To answer this question, learn about the services, products, missions, goals, history and culture of the company. In your answer, talk about the aspects of the business that appeal to you and match your career goals. That way, you can show that you've taken some time to research the company.

Example: “I'd love the chance to work with a company that's helping to make a difference. Finding a business with a positive, fun work environment and excellent values that match with my own has been a priority during my job search. This organization is at the top of the list.”

Example: “I've been passionate about user experience design for much of my professional career. I was happy to see that this firm uses Adobe software because I'm well-versed in the whole suite. Also, I'm a huge fan of applying agile workflows to designs. I think it's the most cost-effective way to take care of large projects. I built and launched an agile process as a UX Manager, and we eventually saw great improvements in project speed.”

What are your greatest strengths?

This question lets you talk about your hard and soft skills. You can also relate them to the job requirements.

Example: “I'm an outstanding problem-solver, and I love uncovering solutions. A lot of product development is about looking for innovative ways to take care of issues, and that's what attracted me to this career.”

Why did you leave your last position?

Answer this question tactfully, without disparaging your former employer.

Example: After working there for two years, I decided that the company culture wasn't right for me. I want to work for an employer that values innovation and allows for more flexible schedules.

Read More: Common Reasons for Leaving a Job and How to Explain Them

Explain this gap in your resume

Gaps in your employment history can be a concern for interviewers. You can make them feel better with a positive-sounding explanation.

Example: I needed to stop working to care for an ill family member. During my time off, I took software development courses to improve my skills. Now that my relative is feeling better, I'm looking forward to using what I learned at your company.

Practice your body language and speaking voice

Making a positive and memorable impression during an interview is important. You should have a confident speaking voice and open, friendly body language. Spend time practicing in front of a mirror, with friends, or family members to relieve your anxiety and improve your confidence. Even if you're alone, practicing your answers out loud will help you refine them and commit them to memory.

Get several thoughtful questions ready

Many employers feel more confident about people who ask questions about the company and the position. Some examples of questions you might ask include:

  • What does a typical day look like for an individual in this position?

  • Why do you like working here?

  • How is your company different from other businesses in the industry?

  • What qualities do your most successful employees have?

  • I've really enjoyed finding out more about this excellent opportunity. What are some of the next steps in the application process?

Read More: 11 Best Questions to Ask in an Interview

Print some hard copies of your resume

Most employers will ask for a digital copy of your resume with your application. However, they may not be able to access it during your interview. Having multiple hard copies to present to interviewers shows that you're organized and prepared. Bring them to your interview in a stylish, professional-looking briefcase or laptop case. Even if your interviewers don't need them, they'll notice that you took time to prepare and make the interview process more efficient for the potential employer.

Get your travel arrangements ready far in advance

Getting to a job interview can be a challenge if it's in an unfamiliar area. You may even need to travel to an entirely new city. You should prepare yourself to make sure that everything goes smoothly on the day of your interview. Find the location in advance so you'll know exactly how much time you'll need to get there. Looking for the place before the interview also gives you some time to decide where you should park if you're driving there. It can keep you from being late because of a wrong turn or a detour.

Always leave early to prevent delays from traffic, accidents, or other unforeseen events. You can always spend some time in the lobby gathering your thoughts and preparing before your interview. Also, be sure to get your interviewer's contact information. If something beyond your control, like a delayed flight, will make you late or force you to miss your interview, let them know. Most interviewers will be willing to reschedule due to unforeseen events.

Sell yourself

Selling yourself and emphasizing your skills during an interview can feel like bragging, and many people are uncomfortable with it. However, you'll need to present yourself positively so that interviewers can see that you're suited for the job. If possible, back up claims about your skills with metrics or statistics.

For example, you can talk about exactly how much you increased sales or reduced costs for your last employer. If you don't know any statistics, use an interesting anecdote. Talk about how you resolved a conflict or streamlined company procedures to save time. If you received awards or bonuses for your performance, mention them. Remember that during an interview, modesty isn't a virtue.

Follow up after the interview

Right after your interview, get ready to follow up with your employer by taking a few notes. It will help you write an appealing letter and remind the interviewer of what you talked about. A letter or email can remind them about your conversation, show them that you're still interested in the job, and allows you to bring up any points you didn't get to mention in the interview.

In the first paragraph, discuss the specific job title and make sure to thank your interviewer. Then, talk about a conversation point or goal that seemed important to the individual you spoke with, and connect that topic to your interests and experience. Conclude the letter by inviting them to ask you any extra questions and that you're looking forward to hearing from them.

Read More: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview