Prepare for a Job Interview

Edited by Lor777, Ephraim, Melissa Meyer, Eng and 3 others

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Successful interviews are the result of good preparation. Preparation not only gives you the information you need and the appearance you want to present, but, more importantly, the confidence to succeed.

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The Philosophy of Preparing for a Job Interview

Think of preparing for an interview like preparing for a final exam. If you start studying well in advance, it helps. If you get enough of a head start on studying, you won't have to cram the night before. What this means is that you can get to sleep on time, have a good breakfast, and freshen up properly so you will arrive on time and feeling rested when you sit down for the exam. There will be an air of calmness and confidence that will help you think straight throughout the exam. You will leave knowing that regardless of the outcome, you gave it your best shot--you did the best you could. If you give the same preparation to an interview, you will gain the same satisfaction.

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There are four areas to consider when preparing for a job interview:

  1. 1
    Situational Knowledge.
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  2. 2
    Mental Preparation.
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  3. 3
    Physical Preparation.
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  4. 4
    Written Preparation.
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Situational Knowledge

These are things you should know before you're on your way out the door for you job interview.

  1. 1
    Where's the company located?
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  2. 2
    How long will it take to get there?
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  3. 3
    Where are you going to park?
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  4. 4
    Do you know what office to go to?
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  5. 5
    Do you know what the name and title of the person with whom you will be interviewing?
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  6. 6
    Do you have the phone number of the company so you can call if you're going to be late for some reason?
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  7. 7
    Do you know if you will be interviewing with more than one person?
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Mental Preparation

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Mental preparation for a job interview involves several areas. It involves your knowledge of the company, the position for you are applying for, and the career path you wish to follow. It also includes your mental attitude about work in general, your expectations about the job, and your confidence in your ability to do the job.

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You have seen the kind of information you should research about the company with which you are to interview. Knowledge about the company serves many purposes during a job interview.

  1. 1
    It confirms your real interest in working for the company.
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  2. 2
    It provides you with a frame of reference for the interview.
    For example, if you are extremely nervous about your interview, you may want to jot down some questions about the information you read. Maybe you need to clarify something you did not understand, or maybe there's something you want to know that could not be found in the literature or on their website. By having a frame of reference from which to ask questions on the interview, you will feel more relaxed. You will be able to pick up the ball when there is a lag in conversation during the interview or something to respond to if the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. The interview should be a conversation between two people. You should not let yourself be talked at because you are too shy to ask questions. Remember, this is an investment for both of you and the company. You have as much right to evaluate the opportunities being discussed, as the interviewer has to evaluate the benefits of hiring you.
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  3. 3
    Having knowledge of the company before the interview puts you in a convincing position that shows the employer you really want to work with that company.
    Equipped with the proper knowledge, you can bring the company name into your responses and conversations. You can clearly and specifically state the reasons you want to work for that company and the reasons you would be an asset to the company. This is difficult to do without the ability to incorporate specific information about the company.
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Part of preparing mentally for an interview is having a clear understanding about the job you are interviewing for. Time after time, interviewers comment that applicants do not really understand the nature of the job for which they are applying. The area in which applicants fall short is lack of specific information available to really answer questions effectively. And yet, isn't it critical to know what you are getting into when you choose a career field? Make yourself convincing during your job interview. Be able to speak comfortably about the job you are applying for as it relates to your career field and the professional objectives you have developed. Let the interviewer know that you have an overall plan. Employers like to see applicants who have career direction.

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Next, your mental attitude about work will be evaluated in your interview. You should be enthusiastic about the challenges your career presents to you, compared to the person who does not see the value of work beyond the paycheck. If you emanate motivation and enthusiasm about work, the employer will see that you might be able to make some valuable contributions to the company. Your work ethic is important.

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Physical Preparation

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Physical preparation for a job interview reinforces your mental preparation. Now that you've prepped yourself mentally, and you know quite a bit about the company you are applying for a job with, it's a very good idea to consider what you'll wear. First impressions are so important in this setting, because unlike social situations, you will have no second chance to redeem yourself. If you feel sick, tired, or sloppy, your mental attitude and alertness will be diminished. The following are some important guidelines:

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  • Start with good hygiene and good grooming.
  • Get proper rest the night before.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Wear a professional outfit that still reveals your own personal style.
  • Present a professional image.
  • Wear little jewelry.
  • Do not wear perfume.
  • Remember to have clean hair, neatly and stylishly groomed.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Relax.
  • Smile.
  • Be energetic.

For Men

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  1. 1
    Wear a suit that is predominately a solid color - Navy Blue, Black or Dark Grey for these colors will be easy on the eyes for the interviewer.
    Suits with bright colors will tend to distract the interviewer. Add a splash of color with a unique tie, rather than a purple suit.
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  2. 2
    Pick a long sleeved shirt preferably to wear under the suit either white or a color that will complement the suit.
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  3. 3
    Choose a belt to wear that will coordinate with the suit in full (for example do not wear a brown belt with a black suit)
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  4. 4
    Wear dark socks along with you suit for bright socks will also grab the interviewers' attention for no real good reason.
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  5. 5
    Equip yourself with as little jewelry as possible or even no jewelry at all during the interview
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  6. 6
    Dark shoes are to be worn
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For Women

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  1. 1
    If you're wearing a suit, stick to neutral tones and avoid busy patterns.
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  2. 2
    Ensure that the suit skirt (if being worn) is long enough to be worn comfortably while sitting down during the interviewing process.
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  3. 3
    Wear a blouse that will go along with the suit outfit (like the men)
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  4. 4
    Refrain from wearing any type of jewelry that will seem to be distracting such as dangling earrings, excessive amounts of wrist jewelry or too many amounts of earrings.
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  5. 5
    Don't go into an interview with bare legs ‚Äď even in the summer.
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  6. 6
    Don't unbutton your blouse to reveal cleavage…even if yours is beautiful.
    It's just not appropriate for an interview.
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  7. 7
    Dark shoes
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Grooming For Women

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  1. 1
    Wear light makeup.
    Do not over do it.
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  2. 2
    Get a manicure before going to the interview.
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  3. 3
    Neatly styled hair (refrain from having any type of beads or jewelry in your hair)
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For Men

  1. 1
    Trim nails before the interview.
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  2. 2
    Clean shaven or neatly trimmed beard and mustache.
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  3. 3
    Neatly cut or trimmed hair.
    (also take care of nose/ear hair)
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Written Preparation

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It is not inappropriate to bring notes with you on an interview. Bring notes from your company research in case you need them. Prepare a brief list of questions to have with you. Write down any miscellaneous information that does not appear on your resume that you feel might be worth bringing up at the interview. Summarize the details of the job, as you perceive them from the ad you read or the information you researched. This information should not prove to be a distraction during the interview but rather a help should you need it. Remember how important eye contact is as an indicator of listening and interest level.

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Self-Preparation Summary

  1. 1
    Is my goal clear to me?
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  2. 2
    Have I decided if and where I am willing to relocate?
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  3. 3
    Have I decided how much I need to earn to meet my living expenses?
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  4. 4
    Have I researched the company enough?
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  5. 5
    Do I know the company well enough?
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  6. 6
    Can I explain to an employer why I want to work for this company?
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  7. 7
    Can I also explain to an employer why the company should hire me?
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  8. 8
    Do I have the proper outfits to wear on my interview?
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  9. 9
    Will I be well groomed, alert, and on time for my interview?
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  10. 10
    Is my resume ready?
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  11. 11
    Have I developed a positive attitude so that the interview will be successful?
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Tips, Tricks & Warnings

  • Know what to expect on an interview.
  • Having information about the employer and the available job is important.
  • Organizing your self-presentation will help you interview successfully.
  • The real key to your success will lie in your ability to stand out from other job candidates.
  • All this depends on the job you are applying for. If you are trying for a job in an arts organization, dressing a little funky would work well. This article is geared toward the business world.
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Questions and Answers

What are the proper earrings to wear for an interview?

A job interview can be one of the most important events in your life, so you need to look elegant without attracting attention due to screaming jewelry. Earrings can definitely give a finished look of your entire ensemble, but you have to find a suitable pair, which will combine the classic and business appearances. Even if you're one of those extravagant women who have multiple holes in her ears, you should skip some of the earrings for a day! This is most likely your first contact with the company, so you don't know how conservative your would-be boss is, or the policies of the firm. You also have to avoid big hoop earrings in colors like pink or red, as well as heavy dangling earrings.

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With this in mind, the most appropriate earrings for an interview would be a simple pair of small ones. When you turn your head the earrings should be "quiet", so a pair of stud earrings that fit neatly on your earlobe is also suitable.

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Referencing this Article

If you need to reference this article in your work, you can copy-paste the following depending on your required format:

APA (American Psychological Association)
Prepare for a Job Interview. (2017). In VisiHow. Retrieved Mar 24, 2017, from http://visihow.com/Prepare_for_a_Job_Interview

MLA (Modern Language Association) "Prepare for a Job Interview." VisiHow, visihow.com/Prepare_for_a_Job_Interview Accessed 24 Mar 2017.

Chicago / Turabian VisiHow.com. "Prepare for a Job Interview." Accessed Mar 24, 2017. http://visihow.com/Prepare_for_a_Job_Interview.

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Article Info

Categories : Job & Work Ethics

Recent edits by: Lynn, Zornitsa Bukovska, Eng

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