You found the job position you were looking for, you applied, and now they called you to interview for a job. In the meantime, congratulations on the step achieved!
In this article, you’ll see how to prepare for a job interview to showcase your skills and strengths and get a second interview, or who knows, a job offer.
Taking an interview is not as difficult as it seems, everything is based on good preparation: it is important to know what to do before going to the interview, to know what to expect and what mistakes not to make in front of the recruiter.
In this article, you will also find tips for managing stress before and during the interview to be confident and confident in front of the interviewer. Feeling ready and prepared goes a long way in relieving all the tension from a job interview.
Conducting a job interview
During the job interview, the recruiter, or whoever will conduct the interview, is interested in learning about your professional history: what your experiences, qualifications, skills, and abilities are.
However, in addition to worrying about describing the most important anecdotes that demonstrate your skills, you will have to try to adapt your answers to the needs of the company and therefore to the requirements required to play the role offered.
Remember that the job interview is not just an opportunity for the company to find the right candidate. You will need to make sure the job is right for you. For this reason, a fundamental part is played by the questions you ask the recruiter.
Not only do the questions you ask to solve your doubts, but the recruiter expects them: no candidate with a strong interest in the role offered leaves the interview without asking questions.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the recruiter will not only evaluate the things you say and your qualifications. During a job interview, the candidate is evaluated at 360°, and this also includes his attitude: his professionalism, his education, and the way he poses himself.
If a slight gaffe doesn’t harm you in any social context, in a job interview, it can instead make you miss important opportunities.
For this reason, it is essential not to leave anything to chance and to be ready for every aspect that will allow you to make a great impression. Let’s see how.
How to prepare for a job interview
The interview is still a few days away, so you can relax a little longer. Right? No, wrong!
You must use the time leading up to the job interview wisely. Here’s how to prepare yourself for the moment you come face to face with the recruiter:
Before the job interview
Reread the job offer several times
An important part of preparing for an interview is to carefully read the announcement of the position offered.
You must analyze the description of the role and highlight what are the requirements and the fundamental aspects that the company is looking for in a candidate.
Make a list of the skills, competencies, and qualities you are looking for. This will then help you structure your answers. When you respond to the recruiter you will be able to match the skills you require and those you have, and you will focus on those to convince the recruiter that you are the ideal candidate.
Research the company and get to know their products (or services)
Just as the recruiter did research on you and studied your resume, you will need to do the same by collecting information about the company.
This step will also allow you to do a double job: getting to know the company to make a good impression at the interview and to understand if the job is right for you.
When you are at the interview, you will be asked if you know the company and why you want to be part of it, as well as the contribution you can bring to the team.
Researching the company will help you answer these questions convincingly and accurately and if the recruiter is a manager in the company’s management you will immediately have the opportunity to establish an understanding with him/her.
Don’t go to the interview without first knowing the products or services the company offers. You have to prepare yourself so that you know as much as possible.
To do this, do research on the company’s website, if it has a blog, read it, read the latest news about the company on Google, follow social profiles, and finally, search for employees on LinkedIn. By following the employees you can learn about their role in the company and their professional history and see if they publish updates on the company.
The employer expects to hire someone who knows the company’s business, nothing makes them happier than hiring an attentive and dedicated candidate-fan.
Be prepared for recruiter questions
A key part of any job interview is effectively answering the interviewer’s questions.
Even if you don’t know exactly what questions you will be asked, several frequently asked questions are considered something of a must in the interview. Practice trying to answer those.
Every job interview is different, however below you will find the types of questions that the recruiter is likely to ask you during the interview.
Questions about your experiences and qualifications: These questions investigate objective information from your career paths such as your qualifications and studies, how long you have held the position in your previous job, your work experience. This information is in your CV, the recruiter will only check it.
Questions about your skills and attitude: These questions investigate your workplace attitude that reveals what your best skills and abilities are. The recruiter will ask you questions about past work situations you have faced to find out how you have behaved. Read more here.
Motivational questions: These questions investigate your interest in the role and your motivation in the job. The recruiter also wants to understand what your career goals are to find out if you are not looking for any job but are motivated to get that for real reasons. Read more about the motivational interview here.
Situational questions: The recruiter describes a hypothetical situation in the workplace and asks you how you would handle that circumstance. It’s another way for the recruiter to investigate your personality and attitude in the workplace.
And of course, we don’t forget the frequently asked questions about you and why you applied for the position, such as: what are your strengths and weaknesses, why you want this job, why you left your previous work. For other frequently asked questions, read here.
Prepare your answers and practice
Make sure you prepare your answers based on what you’ve read in the job posting, the research you’ve done about the company and corporate culture, and any possible questions the recruiter might ask you, and you’ve seen to the point previously.
Next, practice your way of communicating this information, practice speaking out loud, and maybe try a few tests with your friend. This will allow you to feel confident in answering and to see if your answers are convincing and persuasive.
If you are particularly shy and your problem is not being clear to the recruiter, try to practice answering the questions with your friend in a public place: a bar, or a noisy place.
In this way, you will practice speaking in a high tone of voice and articulating your words well to make yourself understood, and you will also step out of your comfort zone to gain more confidence in yourself.
Prepare questions to ask the recruiter
As I mentioned earlier, the job interview is not just about getting to know the candidate better. You also need to do your part by preparing a series of questions for the recruiter to learn more about the company and dispel your doubts about the role.
At a certain point, the recruiter will ask you “Is there any question you would like to ask?” Don’t answer “NO”. Not asking questions gives the recruiter the wrong message: that you are selfless and superficial.
An interested and motivated candidate is certainly curious and attentive to detail.
Ask questions about how the company works, about the company culture, ask specifically what your responsibilities will be, what your working day will be like. Any doubts you have can be resolved at this stage. So don’t be shy and be enthusiastic.
Bring your notes, a notepad and a couple of copies of your resume with you
Take notes on questions you want to ask the interviewer with you, so you can show that you are prepared and attentive. You can use the notepad, during the interview, to take notes on the information that is told to you or to mark the questions that come to mind and that you would like to ask as the interview proceeds.
As for your resume, I recommend that you have a couple of copies of the document with you. The recruiter will already have her, but being accurate and zealous is always fine.
Check your social profiles and other information about you online
Maybe you are not particularly interested in social networks, or you don’t give importance to your image on the internet, but the truth is that the recruiter, and the company, do care.
The recruiter, after the interview, could take a look at how you behave on social networks and if he finds that the professional and polite person he met at the interview is actually anything but this, he will focus on other candidates by discarding you.
Before the job interview, be sure to remove embarrassing or inadequate photos from your social media profiles, such as inappropriate photos of you on vacation, photos that relate to politics, photos of your drinking and other nights, etc.
Also make sure to update your LinkedIn profile with the right notes about you, follow the right profiles, and organize your areas of interest to let the reader understand where your interest in the work is directed.
Prepare your look
Don’t think about how to dress in the morning just before the interview, this will only increase your tension and make you risk being late for the meeting.
Get your attire ready for the interview at least the night before. Remember that the cognitive interview is like an important first date. You need to look good and make the best impression of yourself.
How to choose the right outfit? One possible solution is to evaluate how the employees of that company dress and to adapt their style to theirs.
However, if they have a too casual look or if you don’t understand the dress code in the company you are applying for, when choosing the outfit, focus on something classic and conservative, which communicates professionalism. Use neutral colors and don’t wear anything too flashy.
When it comes to accessories, creams, perfumes, hairspray, or aftershave, remember not to overdo it. Most likely you will have to stay in a closed office, with the recruiter, for about 40 minutes, and if you have an unpleasant or too strong scent he/she will be annoyed. So pay attention to the doses.
Make sure you arrive at the interview rested
Try to get the right amount of sleep you need and get quality sleep. Interviews tend to last from 45 minutes per hour, sometimes even longer, so make sure you have the right energy and enthusiasm to show the recruiter.
The day of the job interview
You do not aim to arrive at the time set for the appointment, you will have to go to the interview in advance!
There are tons of unexpected things that can happen. You may have difficulty finding the right building or office, traffic may slow you down enormously, your car may have some problems. Or you may need to go to the bathroom.
Arriving late, in addition to making you extremely upset, could sabotage your entire job interview. So, to avoid any inconvenience, check the location where the interview will be held, and plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
Another of my favorite tips that I give to particularly worried candidates is to arrive at the meeting place 30-45 minutes early and go to a bar near the office.
This eliminates any possibility of being late, you can grab a snack or a drink and have time to review your notes.
Make sure your hands are not wet
If you are the nervous type, you may suffer from excessive sweating in the palms of your hands before the cognitive interview. When you arrive at the appointment: go to the bathroom, wash your hands well, and dry them. You may want to bring some hand sanitizer or wipes with you.
While you may think it is superficial, consider that the recruiter shakes hands with many candidates and certainly does not like touching a stranger’s hand feeling that it is wet and sticky.
So, to avoid slippery hands, and consequently, yours and her embarrassment, use one of the remedies I told you about.
Put your mobile phone in silent mode
There is nothing more unpleasant, during a job interview than an unexpected call on your mobile phone, rather than a message. While the recruiter’s cell phone sound can allow you to catch your breath, calm down and rearrange your thoughts, if the sound is coming from your phone, it won’t be much appreciated by the recruiter.
You don’t need to turn off your phone completely before entering the office. But be sure to put it on silent, or air mode, and remove any alarms and reminders.
Have a light meal or a light meal before the interview. Not only will this help you avoid mental confusion or dizziness, but it will also reduce your anxiety, give you energy, and you won’t worry about possible stomach rumblings during the interview.
Be courteous, polite and professional with everyone you meet
Sure you will try to show off your best smile and all your professionalism in front of the recruiter. But, it is equally important that as soon as you enter the building, you are friendly and polite with every employee you meet and will welcome you.
From the receptionist to the employee, or potential future employees. The class and education you will show could guarantee you a compliment or a good word returned to the recruiter in your favor after the interview, and could really make a difference for your selection.
Don’t underestimate this point, many recruiters ask staff members what impression they had of the candidate. If he/she discovers that you have had a certain behavior with him/her while you have had a different one with others, he will not be happy and will not consider you sincere.
Wear your best smile
At the job interview, you will be evaluated not only for the things you say but also for your attitude. A confident, professional, enthusiastic, and positive candidate always makes a great impression on his interlocutors.
During the interview, remember to smile and be confident and relaxed. You must communicate to the recruiter that you are not only competent and ready to learn but that you also face challenges and changes with curiosity and a desire to get involved.