Preparing for a Job Interview from Start to Finish

Preparing for a job interview the right way is critical. It’s the difference between a nice conversation and a new job offer. If you are preparing for an interview, you will want to pay attention to each of the 5 factors listed below.

Understand the format

Each different interview type will require you to prepare differently. There are a number of specific formats where you would need to adjust your actions. For example, if you had to prepare for a behavioral interview, you would be wise to spend the vast majority of your time focused on stories of past experiences. For a more traditional interview, you would want focus more on job fit, and collect insider information to ace the interview.

The easiest way to find out which format you will face is to simply ask your interview coordinator. Though to find out the real juice, like whether you will experience a difficult stress interview, try to speak with other job candidates who recently applied to this company.

Understand the medium

A long time ago, every job interview took place in person. These sessions occasionally may have been held over lunch or dinner or at another specific location outside of the office. Still, you could at least count on a real face-to-face interaction. Today, people can get hired without actually meeting anyone.

If you are using one of these more modern interview formats, there are some extra steps you need to take. Do your homework to learn what to do for a phone interview and realize that you will have to do things a bit differently to prepare for a Skype or virtual interview. Also, take the time test out any technology that you will use before the big day. Nothing can shake up the nerves like a last minute crisis. Also, be sure to find a quiet location that’s free of background noise and distractions.

Prepare answers for an interview

A select few can walk into an interview completely cold and deliver fantastic answers that guarantee a job. For the rest of us, it’s worth investing the time to prepare for an interview the right way.

To prepare persuasive answers, you have to fundamentally understand what the employer needs. Then, you shape your answers to fulfill those needs.

Once you know how to demonstrate this fundamental fit, you are ready to add all of the bells and whistles that impress and set you apart. Even the specific words you choose can make a difference.

Prepare yourself for the interview

A one-hour job interview is much more mentally and physically demanding than your average hour at work. However you slice it, that meeting is determining your future. You know it and so does your body. Take the extra steps to make sure your brain is running at 100% peak performance.

Like an athlete before a big event, there are several steps you can take to physically prepare for an interview.

First, one thing you absolutely must do the night before an interview is sleep. Even if you don’t spend a single minute on real preparation, you are better off having slept than walking in as a zombie.

Second, be mindful of what you eat before your job interview. Certain foods will make your brain function better. Others can actually make you more nervous and sweaty. As a first step, avoid spicy and fatty foods, and eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates.

To feel your confident best, you also want to mentally prepare for your next job interview. In this case, you may want to take a cue from theater. Actors are masters of getting themselves focused and in character. They focus on the role they will play, and on communicating core message of their character. They also visualize how the scenes will play out. As you prep for a job interview, use these same techniques to gain your own mental clarity and focus.

Prepare others

Yes, you will be the only person in the interview. Yet, outside of that interview, there are still other people who must sell your skills. They are your references. Getting the best recommendations for your next interview is very important. If you haven’t spoken with these individuals in a while and updated them on your plans, set up a meeting or make a phone call. Tell them about the job and even remind them of relevant experiences that make you a good fit.

Remember, how you prepare for a job interview will in large part determine whether or not you land the job. The most qualified person doesn’t always get the offer. Instead, the person who makes the most compelling case wins.

As you are preparing for an interview, keep in mind each of these five factors. This article can get you started. Yet, if you want the help of a comprehensive step-by-step process, with worksheets, checklists and examples to help you right up until the day you start your new job, then take a look at Interview Success Formula. Watch this video now to learn more.

 Read more articles by Alan Carniol (See below)