How to prepare for a successful job interview

It’s finally happened: someone, somewhere recognized your insane talents and amazing skills, and they’ve asked you to come in for an interview!

Along with all the well-deserved excitement you’re feeling, you’re probably buzzing with nerves as well. Sure, you’ve got your foot in the door, but there’s a lot riding on this interview, and making a great first impression is the only thing that will help you move forward.

As you can probably guess, now’s the time to do your homework! A little preparation can help you prove to your interviewers that you’re a great fit for the position and company culture, but it takes some advance effort. Make sure to consider the steps below as you work on sealing the deal.

Research the Company and Position

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in an interview is showing that you have absolutely no clue about the job or company you’re interviewing for. Check their website, scrutinize the job posting, and read employee reviews before you go. This can help you come ready with intelligent questions to ask during your interview. (Don’t forget that you’re also interviewing them to see if they’re a good fit for you.)

Prepare Answers to the Most Common Questions

It’s true that every job interview is different, and that you can (and should) expect the person interviewing you to ask questions related to the specific job position. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare to answer some of the most common interview questions and their variations. Knowing how to answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” request in advance can help you stay on your feet even when curveballs show up later in the conversation.

Walk Through What You’ll Need on the Big Day

Knowing what to do during the interview itself is important, but don’t forget to prepare for all the little details you’ll need on the big day!

First, make sure you’ve picked an outfit in advance. They say to “dress for the job you want”—and while that’s great advice, you also need to make sure you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Above all else, make sure everything fits and that you look (and feel) great!

Next, make sure you know how to get to the office, and where you’ll park. There’s nothing to mess up an interview like the stress of being late! Don’t hesitate to drive there in advance to do some quick recon.

Practice Interviewing

There’s no shame in practicing your interview questions in advance, especially if it lands you the job! Rope in a friend or family member who can run through a few questions with you, and try to respond as you would during the interview. This can help you iron out your responses and keep you calm and steady on the big day.

These basic tips can help you make the most of the time you have to prepare for the interview—but they’re far from the only steps you can take. If you want to be really thorough, you’ll want to go beyond this kind of preparation as well. Practicing soft skills like listening, as well as deciding on your post-interview etiquette, can also help you make a great impression when it matters most. If you’re looking for help with that (and much more!), grab a copy of my top 10 interview tips for best results.

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