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How to Prepare for a Job Interview and What to Expect?

European Day of Languages 2019

Sitting in a waiting room pretending to look calm and composed, wearing your best suit and clutching a set of CVs while trying to hide your sweaty palms is a mental picture to which almost anyone can relate.

How to prepare for a Job Interview:

Job interviews can be frightening and stressful, but it is an integral part of your job search and is the best opportunity to promote yourself with a face-to-face conversation.

So what can be done to ease the anxiety going into an interview? Read on to find out our best tips to ace your next interview!

#1 Research the Company

Doing your homework on the company is the most important thing you can do to prepare for your interview, and this goes beyond just learning the address of the firm. Research the company thoroughly, looking over their website and social media, history and mission statements, and understand the products and services the company sells.

To truly stand out, go one step further and investigate how the company has been doing lately in the news, how it stands financially and who their main competitors are. Not only will your knowledge and thoroughness impress your interviewer, it will also give you a more precise sense on the position you would want to fill within the company.

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#2 Dress to impress

Statistics have shown that approximately 55% of first impressions are determined by the way you dress and up to 65% of hiring managers decide between two similar candidates by their clothing. Hence, dress to impress! Business suits for men, and pantsuits or a conservative skirt and blouse for women are ideal standards when appearing for interviews.

Blues and blacks are known to be the best colors to wear, while orange is the worst. Additionally, avoid wearing cologne and perfume and arrive early to double check your appearance in the restroom before the interview.

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#3 Common interview Questions

An interviewer is going to want to learn as much about you as possible, so knowing what to expect and how to conduct yourself is going to be important. In addition to technical questions, prepare relevant and recent examples of your works and achievements. Understanding your personality, motivations, and possible career moves are also other aspects that interviewers would want to gauge. It is important to remember to neither get too personal nor too passionate while forming your answers.

Common interview questions include:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why did you leave your last job?
  3. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  4. What do you know about our company?
  5. Why should we hire you?

Tip: Focus on how you helped companies with specifics, and how you added value, not on how amazing you were/are! The proof is in the pudding.

#4 Ask Questions

An interview is a two way exchange; therefore it is crucial that you prepare a few questions of your own to ask the interviewer. Avoid asking about the salary, leave, and benefits. While these are important things to know, asking them straight away will make you appear self-focused, and suggest that the job is not as important to you as the benefits/rewards.

Ask intelligent, meaningful questions, that display your keenness toward the company, such as:

  1. Is this a newly created position? Why has the position become available?
  2. How would you describe the corporate culture?
  3. What are the company’s plans for future development?
  4. Is there an induction or training program for new recruits?
  5. What is the next step?

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#5 Dos and Don’ts

Interview Dos:

  1. Arrive on time, greet the interviewer by his or her title and surname and shake hands firmly.
  2. Wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair and look alert and interested at all times.
  3. Look the interviewer in the eye and smile, let them feel that you are enjoying the process while taking it seriously.
  4. Follow the interviewer’s leads and make sure that your good points get across to the interviewer in a concise, factual, and sincere manner.

Interview Don’ts:

  1. Avoid ”over answering” questions, make your comments relevant and to the point without using clichéd buzzwords.
  2. Never make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.
  3. Avoid folding your arms or crossing your legs.
  4. Do not slouch, mumble, smoke, or answer that mobile phone you forgot to turn off.

#6 Follow up

Before leaving the interview, ask the hiring manager what their time frame is for making a hiring decision. Ask for a business card from everyone you interviewed with, and send them thank you notes within 24 hours to express your appreciation for taking time out of their day.

Follow up once with a concise, friendly email if the time frame of the decision making has exceeded, but move on if you do not receive a reply.


Job interviews can set most on edge, but remember it is more of a conversation than an interrogation. By keeping these tips in mind and adapting your approach, you can naturally appear more nonchalant and composed instead of desperately willing yourself to feel so.

Read Increase your Chances of Getting a Job for more tips, plus check out the online course Creating a Dynamite Job Portfolio.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

About the author

Leah Simon
By Leah Simon

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