How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Job interviews can be the scariest part of the job search, and sometimes you can go through multiple interviews before you get a job. While they can be intimidating, if you learn to exude confidence, job interviews can be a lot of fun!

How should I prepare?

Start by researching the company and memorizing their mission statement. Learn the background and purpose of the company so you can tie the company’s mission into some of your answers. You can also practice common interview questions with friends or family and prepare materials to bring to the interview. These materials include extra copies of your resume, a list of references, and questions to ask.

What questions should I expect? 

Interviewers can have a wide range of questions to get to know you and your work-ethic better. While you never know the exact questions to prepare for, here is a list of the most common questions.

  • What are your biggest weaknesses? Think of a specific weakness, but not one that will disqualify you from the job—and be sure to talk about how you compensate for it!
  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Be honest, but tie in how the job position will prepare you for the future.
  • Why should we hire you? Make yourself stand out, but also be sure to be concise and answer the question directly.

How should I answer the “tell me about yourself” question?

This is the most common and often the first question you’ll be asked in a job interview. It is best to answer this question with information about your professional life rather than your personal. This includes previous jobs, internships, education, your passions, and experiences that prepared you for this position.

What should I wear?

Job interviews are typically business professional or business casual—it depends on the job and the company. A good rule is to overdress so you aren’t underdressed. Business professional is not prom dresses or tuxedos. For women, it means a business suit, pants suits, or an appropriate dress with a jacket and closed-toed shoes. You may also want to wearing jewelry to accent the outfit and to plan how you want to do your hair. For men, a suit or a blazer with dress pants and a tie with closed-toed shoes.

Whatever you wear, make sure you feel comfortable and confident, while looking professional and prepared.

What time should I arrive?

To be early is to be on-time, to be on-time is to be late, to be late is to be not hired. Before your interview day, plan your route and determine how long it will take you to get there. Plan to arrive 15-20 min early but try not to go into the building until 10-15 min before. This gives you time to fix up your makeup, pray, or get everything together.

When you arrive, make sure to give firm handshakes and show your confidence. Try to connect with your interviewers too by asking how they are. At the end of the interview when there is time for questions you can ask about their positions and why they love their job.

What do I do after the interview?

Send a thank you note to the company and your interviewers! A hand-written note is the best option and make sure it is personal. If they haven’t gotten back to you with the decision by the time they told you, call and follow-up. Even if you don’t get the job, it is a good idea to follow-up because they may need someone like you in the future

Make the most of job interviews. They give you a good opportunity to practice, learn, and show yourself and your skills off to the community.

Learn more about preparing for a job interview, resume writing, job searches, and more with Career Development and Calling at Bethel University.