There is no doubt that a job interview can be one of the most stressful events in a person's adult life. Fear of the unknown, fear of public rejection and fear of personal criticism all come together in one meeting, and having a potential career attached to it doesn't always help matters. So how should you prepare for a job interview? It's often a combination of careful research, psychology and an ability to think on your feet. Someone is going to get that job, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be you.
One way to prepare for a job interview is to do a great deal of research. You need to find out as much as you can about the requirements of the job, the company's product lines, the industry's standard salary for the position, the interviewer and whatever else you can learn. An interviewer's job is not only to recommend the most qualified applicants, but also to weed out the least qualified. To prepare for a job interview, knowledge of the company and your unique qualifications for the position are your best allies.
Another way to prepare for a job interview is to work on your personal presentation skills. Don't wait for the day of the interview to take care of personal grooming needs. Interviewers can tell if you have recently overhauled your look to appear more professional. Make sure your clothes fit properly and are wrinkle-free. Wearing an uncomfortable suit and tie may affect the way you conduct yourself during the job interview.
As you prepare for a job interview, observe how you speak and interact with others. Do you express your ideas clearly? Do you actively listen to others? These are the things interviewers notice, along with a lack of eye contact or unusually short answers.
Some job seekers prepare for a job interview by conducting their own mock interviews. A trusted friend or even a professional job coach can act as a surrogate interviewer, asking many of the same questions a real interviewer might ask. These people may be able to offer objective critiques about your performance. You may not notice trouble spots such as a defensive body posture or poor listening skills. Someone who has conducted interviews before may be able to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, giving you an opportunity to improve before the real interview date.
There are also numerous resources designed to help job seekers prepare for a job interview. Self-help tapes may be available at a public library, along with books on employment searches. Many cities have programs geared towards helping displaced or first-time workers find work. They may offer classes on how to prepare for a job interview or provide job coaches who can conduct mock interviews. The key to a successful job interview is preparation, so you should give any job interview the same weight you would give the job it represents.