How do you prepare for an interview?Which are the steps to prepare for an interview?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One critical thing in today's social networking world is to take a critical look at your Facebook and Twitter (and other?)  accounts. Take a really cold, critical look. See them as a responsible employer might see them. See them through the eyes of someone who is thinking of paying you thousands of dollars for your skills and service. See them through the eyes of someone who is enormously invested in having a well functioning, well governed workplace where employees will be seriously focused on the tasks and projects at hand. See them through the eyes of someone who does not want harassment or bullying or vulgarity on ethnic, racial, sexual, gender, disability or on any other grounds. Not only are these things disruptive; not only are these demeaning to others; not only do these things stir up enmity between workers and cost enormous amounts of money in lost or poor productivity, but these things are also illegal.

Now that you've taken a good hard, cold, objective look at your accounts, if you think you would not hire you; if you think you would not trust you to keep the peace and integrity in a work place; if you think you and your friends sound like immature, vulgar, ill-mannered misfits (though you love them all dearly and they love you to distraction with utter devotion); if you think there is a chance an employer with thousands of dollars and hundreds of training hours at stake would be hesitant to trust you and hire you, then block or close your accounts.

Unless your friends are going to financially support you in the manner to which you think you should be accustomed; unless you think love is thicker than income, the first and most important thing to you is securing a job. If your accounts might stand in the way, block or close them before they do. People are routinely denied jobs because of comments and attitudes expressed by the person or their friends on Facebook and Twitter. People are also routinely fired for the same reasons. So to prepare for a job interview, block or close anything that fails to represent you in a respectable manner. After all, an employer must first respect you in order to hire you.

jovip18 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like most other types of social interaction, having a successful job interview is almost entirely about confidence.  There is no such thing as a perfect answer to an interview question because the person conducting the interview is generally not looking for a specific answer.  The questions that you are asked during an interview are merely a platform for you to convince the interviewer that you deserve a shot at a second interview, or a job offer.  Here are a few things you can do to help yourself.


1.  Actually want the job that you are applying for.  Many college grads simply fire out as many resumes as they can and take every interview they are offered.  This is a great way to get experience conducting interviews, and is a great way to work out the jitters.  However, I guarantee you that for virtually any job you interview for there is going to be someone else interviewing for the position that is genuinely excited about the position.  The interviewer can tell within about 2 minutes of the interview if you are enthusiastic about the job prospect or if you are merely interviewing because the position sort of overlapped with your degree field.


2.  Research the company you are applying for.  As the first poster mentioned, this is one of the most important things you can do before an interview.  Even if you personally see a position merely as something to do while you search for your dream job, the person interviewing you probably enjoys their job.  In some cases, they will have a strong emotional connection to the company, having invested years of their life towards its success.  If you come in with a bored or disinterested attitude, they will pick up on it fairly quickly and react accordingly

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The single most important thing you can do to prepare for an interview is to research the company and, if possible, the interviewer.  You will want to know as much about the job you are applying for as possible.  You also will want to know about the company.  Knowing that you are right for the job begins with knowing exactly what the job is, and then you can convince others.

The California Employment Development Department has some advice.

It is important to be on time for an interview. It is best if you arrive about 15 minutes early. This will give you time to relax and fill out an application, if necessary. Dress appropriately, since the first impression is a lasting one. (see second link)

  1. Submit a neat (and accurate) resume and application.
  2. Write a neat, specific, grammatically correct cover letter or letter of introduction for each application.  In it, detail specifically what makes you good for the job.
  3. Be honest!  Do not lie and say you can do something you can’t.  Admit you will learn if you don’t know something.
  4. Arrive early, but not too early.  Do not be over or under-dressed.  Be clean and neat.
  5. Introduce yourself warmly to each interviewer and shake hands.  If you are offered water or a snack, take it but don’t consume it.
  6. Do not bring your dog, your kids, your mother, or your friend to the interview.
  7. Take your time to think about interview questions.  Don’t just jump into answering.
  8. Try to bring up your best traits and skills in answers.
  9. Explain why you are best for the job.

10. Thank the interviewers, but don’t sound too desperate.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I utterly blew an interview last year by being negative about my working experience at the theater. It turned out that scheduling issues would have been in the way anyway, but my interview did not help; I think that it is important to be positive in an interview, even if you are desperate to escape a bad job like I was.

Probably the best thing that I did to prepare was to learn about the job itself and what my role would be. They quizzed me on a piece of technology that I'd be selling, and I made sure that I knew all the specs, the battery life, how it was better than the competing product, and why it was a good deal. I could tell that even though I came across as negative, my knowledge of their product and my willingness to learn about their business strategy impressed them on a different level. Always learn about the business and what your job will entail, and then you can show that you are committed regardless of their decisions.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • Probably, the best thing to do is to get a good rest (sleep) before the interview since then you look and feel your best.
  • Anticipate questions by knowing about the company for which you wish to work.
  • Practice how you will walk, stand, sit, speak.  Body language is extremely important in job interviews.  If you sit back too far, for instance, this posture indicates disinterest. Sitting on the edge of the chair indicates nervousness.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to bathe, dress, etc. and arrive on time. 
  • Dress appropriately.

Studies show that 75% of a job interview is based upon appearances and how you look and act. So, practice your posture and wear the right clothes!  Speak up and choose your words well. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't have a lot to add to the previous post.  However, the one thing I would suggest is that you try to anticipate what questions you are likely to be asked.  Perhaps talk to other people who have applied for and interviewed for jobs like the one that you interviewing for.  Ask them what kinds of questions they had to answer.  Then think about things that you might want to emphasize and/or things that you might be asked to explain about your resume.  In other words, if you have some holes in your resume, be prepared to be asked about them.  If you have certain strengths, be sure to think of how you can work them into answers.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would have to agree with many of the suggestions provided above. First and foremost, an interviewee must know the company they are applying to. This tends to impress the interviewer (showing the interviewee's interest in the company as being more than simply another resume sent out).

I would also suggest practicing an interview with a partner. You could research typical interview questions, for the field, and practice answers.

Outside of that, the first impression an interviewer makes is based upon how one presents himself or herself. Dress to impress.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it depends on the interview. An interview like many I've been to, for teaching jobs in small towns, was very informal, and even conversational. In that situation, I'd worry almost completely about the substance of what you're going to say. If you're interviewing with a HR person who has dozens of other candidates, then you need to set yourself apart though your demeanor, confidence, and other intangibles. In either case, I think practice is very important. Find a friend or relative to ask you questions and work on answering them.  

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If this is a college admissions interview, you can anticipate that you will be asked why you applied to that school. Making a list, mental or written, of your reasons for choosing to apply to the school will be helpful. 

Many college entrance and work interviews also ask candidates about strengths and weaknesses. Thinking about these can prepare you as well.