Before Your Job Interview—For Your Best Performance, Prepare

By JENNIFER SHRYOCK

Congratulations, you’ve scheduled your job interview!

Now get right to work preparing for it. The most successful job candidate shows up for the interview already working. To do that, you’ll need to be prepared.

To present yourself as an ideal job candidate, be in your best health. Engage in healthy physical activity, eat right, laugh, and connect with others on a regular basis.

Days Leading  Up to the Interview

Research
Continue to research everything you can find about the company. Expand on what you learned during your application-phase research. Some of the ways to do this:

  • Study the company website
  • Google the company and industry to learn trends
  • Ask around, learn everything you can from friends, family, and those with whom you network

Rehearse
Practice and rehearse answers to common interview questions. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and try to imagine what you’d want to ask of job candidates and what kind of answers you’d be hoping for.

Write out answers, then practice them aloud. Yes, seriously, practice them aloud! It is common to think your answer is complete and sounds great when you hear it in your head, but then when it comes time to speak at the interview, you might realize that you had only a partial answer. You want most of your answers to be 15 to 30 seconds long, with more detailed questions requiring 60 to 90 second answers.

Once your answers sound good to you, ask a friend (or any live human being), to listen as you “go over your lines.” Even if they don’t say anything, it will be good practice for you to learn if you get nervous, how you can manage that, and note if your answers need to be revised. Better yet, if your friend will conduct a mock interview for you, where they ask questions and later give feedback, you’ll be even more prepared.

Dress Rehearsal
Prepare your interview clothing. Make sure that your shoes are polished, that your suit fits, and that it all works together. Sit in an office chair and rehearse your answers—does your interview outfit work sitting down? Make any adjustments to your clothing well in advance of Interview Day.

Day Before Your Interview

Call to confirm the interview, time and place. Confirm directions if you need to.

Drive by the organization as people are arriving to work. Note the dress, the attitudes, the culture. Do this again after work, if possible.

Although you want to be in the best health for your interview, be sure to make lifestyle changes well in advance of your interview. Today is not the day to bike your first ever 20 miler or to cut out caffeine if you use it daily. Be gentle with yourself and keep as close to your daily routine as possible.

Set out your clothing. Make sure everything is pressed, lint-free, and polished.

Prepare and rehearse until 15 or so hours prior to the interview. For example: If your interview is at 9:00 AM, rehearse until approximately the end of the prior workday. Then rest. You’ll want to be fresh. You’re ready!

Next, Simple Steps to Success on Job Interview Day!

Back to Jennifer’s “Work It” blog homepage.

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Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach withRainmaker Resumes.  Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Jennifer@rainmakerresume.com. Make her blog a regular part of your jobsearch.