Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
Posted March 16, 2021

How to prepare for an interview: 7 tips to get that dream job

How should you prepare for an interview? Here are the four most common interview types, seven tips on how to prepare for an interview, and the five questions your interviewer will likely ask you.
Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
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How to prepare for an interview: 7 tips to get that dream job
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You scored an interview for the job. You’re a good fit for the company, your past experience is excellent, and you love the company culture.

Now all you have to do is have a successful interview.

Sure, interviewing can feel stressful. Especially if you have trouble answering questions on the spot or are you preparing for a type of interview you've never had before.

But, you aren't alone. JDP reports that 93% of candidates feel nervous before a job interview.

You can overcome your fears (and your competition) with the right interview preparation tools and a little practice.

In this article, you will learn the four most common interview types, seven tips on how to prepare for an interview, and the five questions your interviewer will likely ask you. Plus, we’ll cover what questions you should ask your interviewers.

What are the most common types of interviews?

Each interview method has its own unique challenges and ways to prepare. There are four common interview styles.

Face-to-face interview

If you are called to an interview location for a face-to-face meeting, make sure you follow this interview preparation checklist.

  • Your interview outfit should be clean, ironed, and presentable. Unless otherwise specified, wear professional clothes.
  • Bring a pen and notebook, and be ready to take notes.
  • Print multiple hard copies of your cover letter, resume, and references.
  • If possible, learn the name of your interviewer beforehand.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early.

Telephone interview

Some companies will request a phone interview — especially for a second interview or follow-up discussion. You should take preparation as seriously for a phone interview as any other type, even though the interviewer cannot see you.

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) reports 27% of remote interviews are disrupted by background noises, and 9% are ruined by bad audio entirely.

So, before the interview, find a quiet place where you can converse with no distractions. Have your resume, cover letter, and materials in front of you for easy access.

Video interview

A Gartner survey found that 86% of companies plan to conduct virtual interviews in 2021. Be prepared to conduct a video interview for your new job in case the hiring manager requests it.

Dress the same way for a virtual interview as you would for an in-person interview. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests double-checking all your video equipment beforehand, so there are no technical issues during your virtual interview.

Assessment centers

You may be asked to visit an assessment center. There, you may have a big interview where multiple candidates take part at the same time. Most assessment center interviews include testing that is relevant to the position you want.

If you go to an assessment center, ask what tests, exercises, or group activities may take place by calling ahead. Asking these questions ahead of time sets you apart as a serious job seeker and motivated candidate. It will also give you a better idea of what to prepare for.

How to prepare for an interview

There are seven things you need to know to nail your job interview. They will require some effort, research, and practice. But, if you take the time to master these interview tips, you will have a major advantage over your competition.

1. Know your audience

What kind of company are you applying to, and who is the interviewer? Find out the answers to these questions before your scheduled interview. Using Google to look up the company is a great start. Try to find videos or a “FAQ” page about the company on its website.

Knowing the name of the person interviewing you also creates a great first impression when you walk in the door. When scheduling your interview, ask for the name of the person you’ll be meeting with.

2. Research the company

Research the company you’re interviewing with to gain an advantage over your competition.

Post University explains that doing research shows you are prepared, excited about the company, and allows you to prepare questions and answers.

Use the company’s official website and social media to begin your research.

3. Practice your speech and body language

Body language is broken down into two categories — posture and gestures.

Business Queensland suggests your posture should always face the interviewer. Your gestures should be positive, like nodding your head and maintaining eye contact.

You can use positive body language training to calm your nerves before an interview, too. The Mayo Clinic states that using assertive body language can “help with stress management” and even “boost your self-esteem”.

Practice speaking in a clear, even tone. A good exercise is to record yourself speaking, listen back, and count the number of times you say “um” and “uh.” Then, record yourself again and try to cut those phrases in half.

4. Conduct a mock interview to prepare

Want a powerful tool your competitors aren’t using? JDP found that only 37% of job seekers prepare by conducting a mock interview.

Ask a friend or family member to act as a mock interviewer. Give them a list of questions that are typically asked at a job interview, and practice answering them.

5. Print hard copies of your resume

Always print extra hard copies of your resume (and cover letter, if you have one).

Bring several copies of each to your interview, in case your interviewer does not have a copy on hand. They may also want to give copies to other members of the hiring team.

6. Speak positively about yourself

Don’t be afraid to say that you’re the best candidate for the position in your closing statement. You should come in prepared with a line of two that really drives this home.

Choose one or two examples where your past experience will make you the right fit for this job role and determine the best way to communicate that. Try it out on some friends or family members and see what they think.

A great way to sell yourself in a job interview is to tell a story about overcoming a career obstacle. Focus your story on how your leadership, skill set, or ability to be a team player helped you succeed. But make sure it’s rehearsed enough where it doesn’t sound rehearsed. You want to relay the story naturally, but you also don’t want to ad-lib it.

7. Prepare to follow up after the interview

Send a thank you email within 24 hours of your interview. It leaves a great impression on your hiring manager and can increase the chances of you being hired.

Check out this great post-interview thank you letter template. Have a few of these lined up before your interview so you can quickly personalize the most appropriate one and send it out quickly.

The 5 most common interview questions your employer will ask you

A common interview question can be tricky to answer. How do you address that question in an interesting way that makes you stand out, without over-sharing or giving the wrong information?

According to JDP, 41% of job seekers list “not being able to answer a difficult question” as their biggest interview fear. It’s important to review these questions before your interview and have prepared answers ready to go.

Here are five of the most common interview questions you will encounter on your job search, and tips for answering them.

1. “Tell me about yourself.

Your interviewer wants to know essential details and professional information about you. Stick to work-related experience and keep it under two minutes.

2. “Why do you want this job?”

Before your interview, pick two or three things you like about your potential new employer. Do you like the company culture? Is the job description exciting to you?

Be ready to answer with something unique and positive about the job or company.

3. “How did you find out about this job?”

Give a straightforward, short answer to this question.

Often, an interviewer just wants to know if their job postings are being seen, or if people visit their company website. If you were referred by someone who works for the company, mention them by name.

4. “Tell me something that is not on your resume.”

Mention a unique skill that could be an asset to your new company. Are you great with social media? Do you love activities that fit into their company culture?

Whatever you share when asked this question, make sure your answer is positive and helpful to the company.

5. “Why do you want to change your job?”

Your potential employer wants to know what you like about this job, not what you hated about your previous job.

Complaining about a past experience does not make you look like a positive team member, so make sure to keep your answer upbeat.

What questions should you ask your interviewer?

It's important to know the top job questions and how to answer them. But, you also should prepare to ask your interviewer questions as well.

At the end of every interview, the interviewer will typically ask, “do you have any questions for me?”

If you don’t have any questions, it might give the impression that you aren’t taking this seriously. Asking your hiring manager questions shows that you did your homework and are serious about both the interview and the potential position.

Here are ten questions you should be prepared to ask your interviewer.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about working here?
  2. What’s the most important thing new employees learn when they start here?
  3. How would you describe the people who work for your company?
  4. Are there possibilities for advancement over time?
  5. Can you tell me more about your team culture and if you do anything together?
  6. Can you show me examples of projects or tasks I might be asked to perform?
  7. What stood out to you on my resume?
  8. Are there any job requirements that aren’t listed?
  9. What are the next steps in the interview process?
  10. Is there anything more I can answer for you?

Prepare for your dream job interview now

You’re armed and ready to nail your interview. Follow our seven interview preparation tips to land your dream job, and you’ll have a successful interview.

Still looking for that dream job? Kickstart the process with our powerful job search engine and put your new interview skills to work.

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Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
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verlia malloy

Kai Dickerson... Thank You For Sharing! I Definitely Will Be Using These Questions On My Enterview... Also I've a Son and his name is Ta'Kai... But we call him Kai For his Nickname🥰

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Cary Willems

Great information, questions I never thought about asking an interviewer I feel this will be very helpful in my interview

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Alice White

Interesting material in preparing for job interview

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Rhonda Harvey

Very informative. Thank you.

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Roy Stankewitz

Thank you so much for the tips.very much appreciated

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Roy Stankewitz

Thanks for your help and all those like you that help other.

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Roy Stankewitz

Those are very smart Techniques And strategies

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Roy Stankewitz

I will Definitely put those on the Top of my list I think I will be better prepared for the next interview. God bless you and Those like you that help others

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Roy Stankewitz

I We'll definitely share this information With others

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Roy Stankewitz

Have a wonderful week

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