When starting off your professional career, interviews are going to become a lot more common than you would hope for. Preparing for an interview and knowing how to set yourself up for success isn’t as easy as everyone makes it out to be. Here are some steps to take when preparing for an interview.
A few days before
Interview preparation should start as soon as possible. You should start with researching the company. This is a great way to get ideas about what the company is doing and where they are headed. Bringing up some key elements during the interview will really help set you apart from other candidates. Start with the company’s website. Learn about the goals, missions, and future plans for the company, which will help you get an idea of what you could be getting involved in. Now is also a good time to prepare for how you are going to answer those tricky interview questions. Do some research on commonly asked questions and how to answer hard-hitting ones. This could make the interview process a lot easier.
The night before
When prepping for an interview, the night before is crucial. This is the time to finish up doing your research on the company. Make sure you really understand the topics you are going to mention in case any questions come up. You should also know what you’re going to wear. Make sure your clothes are wrinkle- and stain-free and that you are dressing for the job you want. This is also a good time to make a list of questions that you are wanting to ask at the end of your interview. You should never leave an interview without asking questions.
The day of
The first thing you should do on the day of your interview is relax. Everyone gets nervous for interviews, it’s normal. Just remember this is most likely not your first interview which means you are at least somewhat familiar with the interview process. Also, this is not going to be your last interview. Nerves are normal but just do your best to relax. You should want to arrive early, so make a mental note of how long the drive is, and if traffic is going to play a big role or not. Don’t forget to pack a few extra copies of your resume and maybe even some samples of your work (this is could be extremely important depending on the position you are interviewing for). Show up with a smile, and treat everyone you meet with the upmost respect. This is your first impression with the company and first impressions can make all the difference.
During the interview
If you are wanting to take notes, ask before you start. Most people will be okay with it, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. Make eye contact and be confident. Employers can see when you’re nervous and while they understand the nerves in an interview, try to compose yourself the best you can. Be clear and concise with your answers and try not to spend too much time on one question. Like I mentioned above, make sure to ask questions before you leave.
After the interview
Make sure to thank everyone involved in the interview and shake their hands (remember, a good handshake is very important). Write a thank you letter! Writing a personal handwritten letter can make a huge impact in hiring process. It makes you stand out compared to others and makes you more memorable. Finally, breathe! You made it through, reward yourself and take some deep breaths.
When you find out if you got the job or not, remember that everything happens for a reason. It’s okay if you didn’t land this position, that just means something better is right around the corner.