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How to prepare for your job interview

Get That Job: 6 Preparation Tips For Job Interviews

By Dan Green

Job interviews are a performance. You’re performing for your potential employer. As any actor will tell you, the better you prepare, the better you’ll perform.

What To Do Before You Interview

When you’re applying for a job, there are ways to gain an edge over other job applicants. The key is in your preparation.

Job interviews are a performance. They’re your future employer evaluating you as a contributing member of the company. Your interviewer is looking to see how you behave, how you’d fit in, and how you respond to pressure.

You’ll make a positive impression by knowing more about the company than just the basics, and by learning how to turn an average interview situation into a terrific one.

Don’t plan to “wing it”. The more you prepare, the better you’ll perform.

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1. Spend Time Learning About The Company

 

Want to improve your chances of getting a job? Know a little something about the company to which you’re applying.

Open their corporate website and start to do some digging.

First, look for a section titled About Us. Here, you’ll find what the company stands for, and what it believes it does better than anybody else. Look for things that seem unique and stand out.

Then, go beyond.

Lurk on the company’s social media accounts. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook. See how they interact with others. Give a look at their Instagram account. See if they’re on Snapchat.

You can learn a lot about a company’s personality and values from how they handle their social.

Lastly, make sure you have at least a basic knowledge of what the company does. Your interviewer won’t expect you to be an expert on the company, but you’ll be expected to know at least a little.

The more you know, the better your interview will go.

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2. Learn About Your Body Language

When you interview for a job, the words you use are important. Your body language, though, often matters more.

The majority of communication is conducted non-verbally.

Based on your body language, your interviewer will pick up clues about your confidence, your comfort, and your fitness for the job.

Master your body language and you’ll have a better interview.

For example, when you sit up straight in a chair with your feet on the floor, it conveys a message of attentiveness, which is good for an interview. When you lean back, it suggests complacency, which is not good for an interview.

Nodding can also be a good move.

Nodding shows your interest in the conversation and conveys agreeability. It hints that you understand what the interviewer is saying.

Also, consider walking tall. When you walk tall and carry good posture, it sends a message of confidence to the people around you.

Appearing confident can help you get the job.

3. Rehearse answers to obvious questions

During your interview, you’ll be asked a lot of questions. Some will be a surprise. Others you can prepare for.

Expect to be asked some, or all, of the following questions:

Re-read these questions and write down your answers. Read them and repeat them. Do it over and over, then do it some more.

You don’t need to memorize your answers word-for-word. Only know them well enough to sound natural when you speak.

You don’t need long answers. You just need strong answers.

4. Have your interview bag ready and packed

Give yourself fewer things to think about on your interview day. Pack a proper interview bag at least one day in advance.

Your interview bag should contain:

Also, if you are a person prone to sweating, pack a handkerchief or napkin to wipe off your brow; and pack a spare deodorant, just in case.

Include a toothbrush and toothpaste, as well.

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5. Personalize Your Resume For The Interview

Resumes are important props in a job interview. Use yours correctly. You’ll be more likely to get the job.

An excellent resume highlights your skills and experience; and, shows how you’re a well-rounded person. Resumes should be scannable and easy-to-read.

Standard resume formats work best. Use bullet points and short, punchy phrases. Spell-check everything. Then, spell-check it again.

Avoid long sentences. Long sentences are hard to read.

If you happen to have a creative job title such as “Sales Ninja” or “Marketing Rockstar”, adjust that title to something more common. Sales Representative and Marketing Manager work fine.

Also, remember that you’ve studied up on company and the job, Use that information to your advantage. Update your resume to reflect what you’ve learned.

Customize your resume for this specific job opportunity.

If you’re interviewing for a job at a big company, highlight your experience working in teams and meeting important deadlines.

If you’re interviewing with a startup company, draw attention to your ability to work in a fast-paced environment where everyone contributes.

The more you adapt your resume to a specific job opportunity, the more you’ll make it easy for your interviewer to see how you’ll fit in.

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6. Do Something Extroverted To Prep Your Brain

Job interviews are about more than just skills for a job. They’re also about your attitude.

Your interviewer wants to know whether you’re friendly and open, and whether you’ll fit within the company culture.

It can be hard to convey your friendliness during an interview, though — especially if you’re nervous. That’s why you should do at least one extroverted thing in the 10 minutes before you start your interview.

Being friendly with a stranger can put your brain at ease and get your energy moving in the right direction. Smile at a stranger, say hello to a random, get chatty with a barista.

Anything will work. You just want to prime your brain.

How To Give A Better Job Interview

Job interviews are about more than your resume and qualifications. How you talk and how you walk matter, too. Your level of preparedness is important.

Take control of your job interview and you’ll maximize your chances of getting a great job offer.

Read more from our series on Giving A Good Job Interview:

Written by Dan Green

Dan Green is a mortgage lending expert and the founder of Growella. Prior to Growella, Dan was a six-time, top-producing loan officer; and, ranked repeatedly among the top 1% of loan officers nationwide. Dan's home buying expertise has been in print and on TV with The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Forbes, CNBC, and others.

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