Updated June 23, 2023
Job interviews can be nerve-wracking.
How should you prepare? What should you know about the company? What should you say — and avoid saying?
Prepping for a job interview is an essential part of your job search. It can calm your nerves and give you the confidence you need to have a successful interview and land your dream job.
Not sure how to get started with interview preparation? Well, you’ve come to the right place
How to Prepare for a Job Interview
It all starts with first impressions. You can make a good one before you ever walk in the door by researching the company you’re applying to.
1. Conduct Company Research
Do your homework and research the company before the interview.
Start by exploring the company website and scope out its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.
You might also want to sign up for company newsletters and emails and follow any influencers at the organization who can keep you up to date.
You can also read company reviews from current and former employees on websites like Glassdoor.
“You’re demonstrating that you care enough to have done the research,” says Jill MacFadyen, a career coach and former recruiter who works with clients nationwide. “You’re setting yourself apart from the other people who are interviewing.”
Search the company’s name in Google News to familiarize yourself with recent press — good and bad. Learn about trends within the industry.
“In my opinion, you can never over prepare,” says Carlota Zimmerman, a New York City career coach with more than a decade of experience. “I cannot stress how much passion and preparation you should bring.”
2. Do Your Homework on the Interviewers
Before your job interview, ask for the names of the people who will interview you and search online to see if you have any mutual friends or connections.
Did one of your colleagues or friends previously work at the same organization? Go to the same school? Check alumni networks, LinkedIn and community pages. You’ll likely score points at a job interview if a current employee recommends you.
“There’s a notion that this person has been vetted in some way,” says Mike Gellman, CEO and founder of High Five Career Coaching in Irvine, California. “There’s a level of trust there.”
3. Practice Answering Common Interview Questions
Once you’ve done your research, study the job description and think about how your skills, knowledge and personality mesh with the position.
A job description is a good indicator of what the company is looking for in an ideal candidate, including qualifications, required skills and background.
Have examples ready from your education and work experience that show you have what it takes to succeed.
This way, you’ll be prepared if the interviewer asks you to describe a time when you demonstrated relevant skills listed on the job description.
Have you won any awards in the field? Did you attend seminars or join organizations that could help you stand out as well-informed and committed to the brand or industry?
Practice your responses to common interview questions like:
- Tell us about yourself.
- Tell us about a difficult professional challenge you faced and how you overcame it.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What interests you about the position?
- What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?
It’s also beneficial to practice answering questions about gaps in your employment history or skill set. Say your responses out loud until they feel natural.
Here are the answers to some of the most common job interview questions.
Asking a friend or partner to conduct a mock interview the day before is a good way to sharpen your responses.
Your friend can help provide you with real-time feedback on factors like your body language, posture and eye contact.
If you can’t get a friend or family member to help you prepare for an interview, practice interviewing in front of a mirror or record a video of yourself on your phone.