How to Prepare For a Successful Interview

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When you get the opportunity to interview for a position, it can be both exciting and stressful. What is the company looking for? Are you qualified? Will they like you? Typically, companies are looking for someone who demonstrates competence, a good attitude and personality that fits in with the company. Here is how you can prepare for a successful interview to ensure you make a good first impression:

Research the Company

For starters, gather some background information on the company. If you are informed about the company during your interview, this shows that you’ve taken time and effort to prepare. Your interviewers will see that you are enthusiastic and serious about the job opportunity.

You can turn to the many resources available online such as Google, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, most companies have web pages where they post their most recent news, the company’s mission statement, and campaigns they are running. This can give you an edge by providing insight into what they look for in employees.

Define your “Story”

Next, there will usually be a point in the interview where you have the opportunity to tell why you are applying. At this time you can hook the interviewer with your personal story, telling them why you are the perfect fit for the job. Make sure to personalize the details to give real depth and character to the reasons you’re interested in the job. Mentally rehearse your story to give yourself extra confidence.

Dress the Part

Another key to success is looking the part. Take note of the dress code of the company before the interview, but even if existing employees are dressed casually, it is still important to show up looking professional. It will be a great confidence-booster if you can invest in a new suit or outfit for the occasion. Also, pay close attention to smaller details, like polished shoes, well-groomed hair, tidy nails and fresh, minty breath. Finally, don’t forget your posture, a put-together look will be wasted if you slouch in your chair.

Be Punctual

What you do speaks louder than what you say. Showing up a few minutes early will show that you are taking the interview seriously, and that you respect the company’s time. Additionally, you are showing them what they can expect from you if they do hire you. Plan to get to the interview around ten to fifteen minutes early to give you time to get settled and relax a little before you are called in.

Bring a Great Attitude

Lastly, don’t let your nerves hide your personality. You can have the best resumé in the world, but if you don’t smile and display a warm personality, it’s likely that you will be making the wrong impression. Keep an upright position, make eye contact, and show your interest by nodding when the interviewer is talking. This shows you are listening attentively and are receptive to what he or she is saying. Remember, the interviewer will be looking for a “team fit”, positivity, and for someone who will be an asset to the company. When the interview has ended, show your appreciation for being granted an interview, and remember to be nice to everybody (even the office cleaners you might pass on your way to the interview room).

It is quite natural to feel nervous when preparing for an interview, and most applicants will be feeling the same. However, if you have prepared yourself by following the above guidelines, it will help ease your nerves and improve your chances of success.


Bunny Robinson

About the Author:

Bunny Robinson is a Principal Consultant of the firm, with 10 years of Employee Communications and Human Resources experience in high tech manufacturing and defense systems industries. She has also worked in the fields of broadcasting, advertising, and market research. Bunny graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and is pursuing a Master’s degree at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She enjoys volunteer work and has served as a board member for various community service and arts organizations as well as local government.