18 & over, personal development

How to Prepare for an Interview

Landing an interview with a company is super exciting! You have your foot in the door, and now, the next step is to ace it. Here are a few tips when it comes to preparing for your next interview.

What to Wear to an Interview

You might not know it, but what you wear to an interview is incredibly important. It not only portrays who you are, but also, how you will potentially represent the interviewing company. In a manner of less than ten seconds, your interviewer will have already come up with a judgement about you – even before you say anything! Don’t let what you wear affect your chances of getting that job.

First and for most, remember that all interviews are formal, and jeans are not formal. It is better for you to go into an interview looking slightly overdressed than underdressed. Appropriate attire would be business casual. For men, that might mean dress pants and a button down, with or without a tie (depending on the company). For women, there is more freedom because of all the possibilities with fashion. Try to keep in mind not to wear loud patterns and to keep things professional. Stick to items like dress pants, knee-length skirts, or dresses with close-toed shoes.

What to Bring to the Interview

This is where preparation is going to set you apart from other candidates. Tweak your resumé so that it highlights the experiences and skills most relevant to the position you are seeking. While you are editing it, take the time to refresh your memory with what you have done and the accomplishments or lessons that came from these experiences. Doing such will allow you to better prepare for questions asked pertaining to your history, thus letting the conversation flow easier.

Is your resumé experience pretty minimal? Take a look at our blog on how to beef it up!

Along with your resumé, having a reference sheet created shows how ready and proactive you are. A reference sheet is a document you create that holds the contact information of former employers, educators, or mentors that have agreed to speak on your behalf to the company. Having this sheet already made will allow the employer to see your drive and get the next step of the process moving.

Preparation Questions

Besides familiarizing yourself with your resumé, there are other ways to prepare for questions you might be asked. When asked about your strengths, think about your strengths AND a time where they were needed. You need to be a little bit more crafty with your weaknesses. All negatives can be turned into a positive! Try to avoid “I can’t” statements, instead, try “I am working/learning how to” statements.

What about the infamous “tell me about yourself” question? Start working on your own elevator pitch! An elevator pitch is a quick, 30-second speech about what makes you uniquely you and what your goals are. It is short and to the point which allows for questions to be sparked and interest created. Knowing your aspirations and being able to effectively communicate them with another person will show your drive and excitement for your future.

Watch Out for Your Digital Footprint

What you post online, even if it is deleted, can be found by potential employers. Especially now, with the technology age, it is vital for you to be able to keep your nose clear. Nothing is ever really deleted – even from Snapchat! Don’t let that stop you from cleaning your social media, though. Go through your tweets and retweets on Twitter and delete any immature content. On Instagram, brand yourself, and remove any content that threatens that brand. Sort through your Facebook to keep your content well-judged.

Taking the time to clear out old messages and posts will allow you to keep your social media on track when posting in the future. Social media is a wonderful way to keep others in the know about the wonderful things happening in your life, but remember to never overshare.

Interview the Interviewer

During the last portion of the interview, your interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them or about the company. A common mistake is saying no. Be prepared and think ahead! Below are some good questions:

  • What drew you to the company?
  • If selected, what skills should I be working on now to be prepared?
  • What traits do the most successful interns/employees have?
  • What would be the day-to-day responsibilities of someone in this position?

Asking questions at the end of the interview will show just how interested you are in pursuing further. Being able to ask questions that pertain to information that you have already gathered shows just how prepared you are! Do this by looking up the company’s mission statement and asking questions that relate to the information you discovered.

Looking for a great way to wrap up your interview? Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal.

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