How to Prepare Before a Job Interview (Interviews: Part I)

Interviewing Tips

Feeling nervous about your upcoming interview? Try these 5 tips!


Job interview...we all LOVE those two words.


I’m sure the experience fits right up there with public speaking, making small talk, being cut off in traffic, telemarketer phone calls, losing your car keys, and getting the smallest piece of chocolate cake out of everyone at the table!


But what if there was a way to take this experience and actually make it...better? 


What if we could figure out how to turn it into something you actually want to do, maybe even--dare I say--enjoy doing?! 


Well...if you can’t afford hypnotherapy...then try these tips!


Here are a few “secrets” that can take interviewing from a 2 star to a 4 or 5-star experience! (I say 4 or 5 stars because obviously, you don’t get to pick your interviewers, but you do get to decide on your preparation!)


1. For a successful job interview, be sure to thoroughly research the organization

Job seekers should pursue information about the organization they will be interviewing with. These facts should include things like the company’s goals, mission, values, culture, and priorities.


Details like this can be found on their company website, blog, social media accounts, and through current employees. Familiarize yourself with what the company stands for and how they are trying to achieve their goals. Do any of their objectives align with your personal beliefs, values, or goals? 


Before going into your interview, knowing what the organization is all about will help you present yourself as a fit for them!


Believe it or not, a lot of organizations care more about you being a fit with their culture than your skill sets or experience. If it is a place of business, be sure and experience their product(s) and employees before you go for your interview!


2. Always come to an interview prepared with a question or two for your interviewers

An interview is a fantastic place to let your curiosity and proactive nature shine.


Too many job seekers believe that the interviewer holds all the power in this setting.


You should do your due diligence before an interview in researching a company and preparing at least 1-2 questions you would like to know about their organization.


At the end of an interview, they may ask you, “Do you have any questions for us?” or there may be natural points in the interview where it makes sense for you to ask about something you learned while you were researching their company. 


Having questions about their organization, or the role you would be taking in it, shows that you are a curious and proactive individual--the kind of person they want to hire!


3. Before going into an interview, prepare some examples of your related experience and skills

Here is a straightforward exercise you can do to help you identify your key experiences & skills that relate to the job: 


Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, then unfold it. On the left side, write all of the key skills and responsibilities the job description listed.  Once you’ve done that, jot down on the right side any related or similar experiences and skills you have acquired. (Feel free to think outside the box! This could include community service, coaching your kid’s soccer team, and of course--workplace skills and experiences.)


What you’ve just done is identify your own key transferable skills and experiences. 


Many employers are most interested in seeing potential hires that have the ability to learn on the job; being a learner and problem solver are skills! Your goal isn’t to know every skill up front, but now you can clearly identify experiences and skills that directly apply to the kinds of questions they will be sure to ask you in your screening call or interview. 


4. Have your elevator speech ready for the interview

When was the last time you explained who you are and what motivates you in less than 60 seconds? Perhaps your last interview?


When your interviewers say, “Tell us a bit about yourself,” it should be easy to respond, right?


But many of us tend to just blurt out whatever we did last weekend or fourth of July and don’t adequately take this opportunity to really show who we are and why it should matter to their company. 


Having an elevator speech handy is the best way to avoid slipping in this situation.


In the business world, an elevator speech (also known as an elevator pitch) is a quick way to explain who you are and what value you would add to a company. 


An elevator pitch will help you know how to describe yourself and the value you have to offer. This is the type of thing you can really write out, edit down, and walk into an interview feeling sure of yourself about why they want to hire YOU.


The next time an interviewer says “Tell us a bit about yourself,” you will be prepared!


When they ask you this, here are some of the details I want you to be prepared to share about yourself: where you’re from, what you love doing and why, and how this all ties back into how you being hired would more than satisfy their organization's needs and wants! 


Even if you don’t know how to do everything they are asking for in the job description--position yourself as a learner and problem solver! Always, (ALWAYS!) tie what you say back into the job you are interviewing for--why THIS job? 


Taking the time to prepare this beforehand will help you radiate the confidence you need to present yourself as someone they have to have on their team! 

*Important note, this isn’t a script. It’s an organized brainstorm to prep you on what you want to say so you don’t freeze when the time to say it comes!


5. Prepare physically and mentally 

Imagine for a moment with me that it is game day. You are playing in the Super Bowl! 


Your alarm to get ready goes off only to realize that your favorite jersey (your lucky jersey!) never went to the cleaners. 


How could you let this happen?!


So maybe you aren’t in the NFL, and you aren’t that picky about having good luck charms, but the thing is this: you wouldn’t go out on the field in the highest stakes game of your life without doing everything to be at your best and look your best. 


Too often, people overlook the significance of their self-care and personal appearance. They let themselves go. 


I get it. Listen, I’ve been trying to maintain my body weight (lose my extra COVID-19 pandemic pounds too), but expecting to walk into an interview hoping to feel like a million bucks without getting all your ducks in a row first--it ain’t gonna happen!


If you want to look and feel your best in a job interview you need to do the work to make that happen. Get to bed early (as best you can, several days in a row) before the interview day. Eat healthy (balanced) meals, get fresh air, do exercise, have some fun and relaxation.


When it comes to your appearance and clothing, take this advice:


1. Take a good look at your general interview attire 


Is it clean, wrinkle-free, and not overly complicated?  Is it in style or out-of-date? How does it fit? If you are tall, are your pants looking like floods? It is worth it, in the long run, to invest in an iron if you need one, some shoe polish, and clothing that looks sharp and fits your body type.


2. Be honest with yourself about your general appearance


We are talking about your make-up, hair, nails, facial hair, etc. What do other people at this company look like appearance-wise? 


This can give you a good idea of what type of employee grooming and personal appearance this company goes for. Some companies are more relaxed about these things, others are not!


3. Make adjustments where needed


If you need to, let the hem out of those flood pants, update your hairstyle if it is looking out of date, shave (or grow your beard) if that’s what other people at the company are sporting!


Sometimes we like to pretend in our society, even the business world, that everything that counts is on the inside. But the truth is, the way you physically present yourself creates a powerful first impression--and that impression may be exactly what sets you apart to get your next job offer!




All in all, if you do what I’m saying, I think you will be in awe at how in awe you are capable of leaving your interviewers. The truth is, a lot of people DON’T do the things I just advised you to do. If you want to set yourself apart, legit--give this advice a try!!!


Keep an eye out, I’ve got more posts about acing interviews coming your way! 

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Ryan Kay

Helping people get the career of their dreams!

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