What to Do Before an Interview to Help You Prepare (9 Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 15 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Prior to an interview, it's vital to prepare your answers and determine areas of improvement. Allowing yourself a sufficient amount of time to prepare before your interview may improve your overall performance and increase the chances of securing a position. If you're in the process of applying for jobs, learning what to do before an interview can help you prepare. In this article, we discuss what to do before an interview and explain why preparation is so important.
9 tips for what to do before an interview
Before entering your interview, it's important to consider what to do before an interview accordingly. By allowing yourself adequate time to prepare, you may demonstrate your time management, communication and organisation skills to an interviewer. You can take time before an interview to check on your body language, appearance and prepare potential answers. Here's a list of considerations that can help you enter an interview with confidence:
1. Perform research
Perform thorough research on the company so that you're familiar with their work environment, company culture and values. Typically, interviewers want to find out if you're a good fit for their workplace's culture and mission. By understanding these details about the company before entering the interview, you can explain to the interviewer that you're an excellent match for their workplace. Use online resources to find out more about the company or consider speaking to individuals that have experience with the company.
2. Prepare questions for the interviewer
It's likely that the interviewer may ask if you have any questions for them at the end. It's important that you have a minimum of two to three questions prepared. This can show that you have an interest in the company and position. It may also give you further insight into the company's information, like their work environment, growth and management expectations. Try asking questions that may set you apart from other candidates applying for the position. Here are some questions you might include:
How does your workplace measure success for staff?
What are management's expectations of employees within their first 90 days?
What do you enjoy about working for this company?
Do you have an idea of projects that I may work on after starting?
What does a typical day in this role look like?
3. Bring a copy of your application materials
Consider bringing a copy of your application materials, like a CV, cover letter, letter of recommendation or portfolio. This may allow you to have something to reference throughout your interview and it may also demonstrate your attention to detail. Bring a minimum of two copies of your documents so that you can offer a copy to the interviewer.
It's not uncommon to forget your interviewer's name or other critical terms during an interview. Take a small note with you and hide it discreetly in a folder with your resume copies. You may use it as a reference throughout your interview.
4. Dress for the role
Choose a set of clothes that are appropriate for the role. For best results, choose clothes that are a step above the role's normal standards. For example, if the role requires business casual attire, choose business professional attire for the interview, including a suit and tie or skirt and blouse.
At least a day before your interview, ensure you have a clean set of clothes. Iron and press formal clothes such as dress pants and dress shirts to free them of wrinkles.
5. Write thank-you notes
Thank-you notes are a great way to leave a lasting impression as interviewers. Prepare a handful of thank-you notes before your interview. If you know before the interview how many people you might meet or interview with, ensure you make the same number of thank-you notes.
You may also consider sending a thank you email 24 hours after the interview takes place. This may help the interviewer keep you in mind and consider you for the role. Be sure to keep the thank-you note short and simple, while demonstrating your gratitude for the opportunity to interview with them.
6. Arrive early
It's important to arrive early for your interview to show your excellent time management skills and thoughtfulness. Try arriving at least fifteen minutes before the interview is set to begin. If you're interviewing on a video conferencing application, log into the application at least ten minutes before the interview and wait for the interviewer to log on.
If your interview takes place in person, make use of mobile applications that monitor local traffic and map out the fastest route for your interview. Consider the time of day in which your interview occurs and if there are any traffic concerns in your area at that time. Determine how long the journey takes and leave yourself that amount of time to get there before leaving. Remember to silence your phone or turning it off to ensure no vibrations or other tones interrupt the interview.
7. Sleep well the night before
Get enough rest before your interview. Doing so ensures that you're more alert when answering questions. This can help you pick up on subtle cues from the interviewer, such as their body language or their tone of voice. Understanding their mindset helps you adapt to the interview by imitating their physical posture and other movements.
8. Prepare for different types of interviews
There are three primary types of interviews. A behavioural interview focuses on how you react in employment-based situations. Most of the questions present specific scenarios and allow you to address how you might handle them. Experiential interviews focus on your previous experience and the decisions you made in the past. The third type of interview is a combination of both behavioural and experiential interviews.
It's common for companies to incorporate behavioural and experiential methods in their interviews. The type of interview that you take part in depends on the role that you're applying for and the interviewing method that a company prefers to use. You may reach out to the company beforehand to ask about the interviewing style that they may use.
9. Consider achievements and situational examples from previous positions
Interviewers often ask questions that encourage you to describe situations that occurred in previous positions. They may ask you to recall a situation and how you handled it, or describe how you used your skills and expertise to earn an award or achievement. This gives them a better understanding of how you might react to similar situations that occur in their workplace. Before your interview, think back to your previous positions. Use challenges you overcame and as examples to answer certain questions.
Why is it important to prepare before an interview?
Here are several reasons it's important to spend a sufficient amount of time preparing before you begin an interview:
During an interview, you may be unfamiliar with the questions that an employer might ask. Practising your answers beforehand may allow you to feel more comfortable while answering questions, which can show interviewers that you remain calm under pressure. Staying relaxed may also help you provide valuable answers by utilising your communication skills and speaking clearly and calmly.
Recognise areas of improvement
By preparing beforehand, you may identify numerous areas of improvement to help you perfect your answers and demonstrate that you're an excellent candidate. For example, if you record yourself while practising an answer, you can then watch the recording to review your posture and overall appearance and consider possible changes to improve it.
You may also review your answers to potential questions to identify ways that you can provide more clarity or context while using language that's easy for individuals to understand. This can help you enter the interview knowing that you can provide the interviewer with thoughtful responses.
Often, an interview is the first impression that employers have of a candidate. It's important to show them that you're confident in your abilities and skills, which may further demonstrate that you're a valuable asset to the workplace. By practising your answers, monitoring your body language and reviewing your appearance, you can increase your confidence. Presenting yourself in a confident manner may help you get the attention of interviewers and leave a lasting impression after the interview is over.
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