Our Complete Interview Preparation Guide
For Getting Your Dream Job

See also: Interview Skills

So, you’ve landed an interview. Good for you!

Are you nervous? Don’t be.

With this complete interview guide, you’ll walk into that interview with confidence, prepared to rock any questions they throw your way.

Male interviewer smiling with the caption. 'Our Complete Interview Preparation Guide (For Getting Your Dream Job)'

What to Do Before the Interview

Before you stroll into the office, you need to get to know who you will be working for.

In order to really wow your potential employer, you need to understand what makes them tick.

Once you have a grasp on their goals and motivations, you’ll be better prepared to present yourself as the right candidate for the job.

What Is Their Mission?

Visit their website and do a little research. Look for their mission statement. Take a look at the wording they use.

What is the goal of this company? Who are their intended clients? What are their motives?

Once you’ve figured that out, you can then use similar wording in your own pitch and hopefully resonate with your interviewer.

Who Are Their Top Dogs?

This may seem a bit far-reaching, but upper-management employees have a lot of pull in the hiring process.

Do you know them by name? Are you aware of their passions? Do you have anything in common with them?

It’s easy to find this type of info online. Dropping little bits of info about those higher up in the chain of command will show that you’ve done your research and know the company inside and out.

It could also help you to connect on a personal level if you happen to be interviewed by one of those individuals.

How to Prepare for Your Job Interview

No matter what the undertaking, you’ll always do better when you’re prepared.

What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

There are a few things involved:

Prepare for Common Interview Questions

It is always wise to prepare answers to possible interview questions. You can never predict exactly what they’re going to ask you, but most interviewers ask variations of the same questions.

The Job Network has a good list of common questions. They explain how you should answer each question, too.

Reread the Job Description

Reviewing the initial job listing is crucial as it will help you to figure out how to highlight your skills during the interview.

After all, they offered you an interview because they liked your resume. You probably have the skills they’re looking for, but you still have to prove yourself during your meeting.

So, be prepared to talk about past jobs and projects that exemplify why you’re the best person for this job.

Also think about the other things that make you a valuable employee. Aside from your technical skills, what makes you special?

Are you a good problem-solver? Can you communicate well? Employers are looking for people with soft skills, not just technical capabilities. Be prepared to discuss these things in your interview. Your interpersonal skills will help you to impress your interviewer.

Get Some Rest

Last but not least, the night before an interview is not the time to party.

Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Make sure you eat breakfast in the morning so that you are alert and your stomach doesn’t do all the talking.

How to Impress Your Interviewer

You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression. The day of the interview is your only chance to show a potential employer that they should hire you.

How do you do that?

Here are a few tips:

Dress for the Occasion

The first thing an interviewer will notice is your appearance. You will want to show up looking clean-cut and professionally dressed.

Of course, you should base your outfit around the type of job you’re interviewing for. Research the company’s dress policy beforehand or look at some pictures of employees on their website as this will help you determine what to wear.

Be Aware of Your Body Language

Your body language will also play a role in how the interviewer perceives you. You should act confident but not entitled, and friendly but not overly eager.

Resist the urge to tap or fidget, no matter how nervous you get. Look the interviewer in the eye and be polite. Don’t talk until the other person has finished speaking.

Bring Your Paperwork With You

When you show up to the interview, you should have all the necessary paperwork with you. This includes an up-to-date resume, a portfolio of relevant work, and letters of recommendation (if they request some). You may also need your ID.

If you forget anything that you were supposed to bring, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the job. If it helps, put all of your paperwork in your car or bag the night before so you don’t leave anything at home.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

Prepare Questions for the Interviewer

After the interviewer has asked you all their questions, they’ll ask if you have any questions for them. Make sure to have some ready.

Preparing questions shows the interviewer that you care about the job and are eager to learn about their company.

Some common interview questions include:

  • What is the most important quality needed to fulfill this role?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of this job?
  • What makes someone successful in this role?
  • What do you love most about working here?

What Should You Do After a Job Interview?

At the end of the interview, you should ask the hiring manager when you can expect to hear from them again. This will let you know what to expect next.

They may say that they’ll call you within the week. Or, depending on the size of the candidate pool, you may have to wait a few weeks.

Either way, there’s something else you should do ASAP:

Send your interview a follow-up thank you letter. Don’t wait longer than 24 hours to send it.

This email should be professional and friendly. In it, you should thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the job. Your interviewer is probably pretty busy, so it’s okay to keep your letter brief.

It’s unlikely that they will reply to your note, so don’t let that discourage you. Interviewers usually don’t have time to respond to every candidate’s follow-up letter. They’ll reach out once they’ve interviewed the rest of the candidates.

A Learning Experience

When it comes to job interviews, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed and confident you’ll be.

Remember, every job interview is a learning experience. If you don’t get the job, it must not have been the right job for you. But don’t worry, there are a lot of opportunities out there.

And even if they choose another candidate over you, it’s still not a total loss. Every job interview is simply a chance to get better at this whole interviewing thing.

Then, when your dream job comes along, you’ll be ready to grab it by the horns!

Caitlin Sinclair

About the Author

Caitlin Sinclair has five years of experience in managing high-end apartment communities. Her ability to deliver white-glove service to her residents and prospects has propelled her into a successful career.