The interview process can be daunting. You’re sitting in a room with complete strangers while they ask you to talk about your professional experience and character. They analyze your movements and gestures. They write down unknown statements on yellow notepads with ballpoint pens. They shake your hand at the end and say, “We’ll be in touch.”
If this scenario sounds scary, you’re not alone. Interview anxiety is normal. The good news is that knowing how to prepare for the interview can help you approach the meeting feeling more confident and self-assured.
There are several things you can do to prepare for your interview:
- Learn all you can about the organization. Interviewers love when you know what their organization is all about. You don’t want to end up speechless if you’re asked “What is your favorite part about our organization?” Doing your homework is important.
- Think about the questions you might be asked, and consider how you will respond. Check out these sample interview questions, and have a friend or relative mock interview you as you practice your answers.
- Prepare your clothes and make sure they are clean, pressed and appropriate. If you would wear an outfit for a night on the town, it’s probably not interview appropriate. Ladies: Do not wear open-toed shoes, sleeveless shirts or flashy accessories. Gentlemen: Many employers will prefer that you are clean shaven.
- Remove any facial piercings.
- Check your hygiene.
- Refrain from chewing gum.
- Bring a copy of your résumé or application, references and a pad to take notes.
Tips from the Experts
Monster offers information about interview questions, preparation, dress and follow up. The U.S. Department of Labor also features details about different types of interviews and how to prepare. Looking for sample questions for a particular field? Check out the Society for Human Resource Management resources for interview questions geared toward sales, engineering, hospitality, health care and more.
Remember to plan how you will get to your interview before the day arrives. You may even want to take a trial run, especially if it is in a part of town that is unfamiliar to you. On the day of your interview, try to arrive about 10 – 15 minutes early. Once there, treat everyone you meet courteously and act like the professional that you are. After the interview, remember to send a thank you note – keep it short but remember to reiterate your interest in the job and refresh their memory of why you would make such a good addition to the organization.