How to Prepare for a Job Interview
How to Prepare for a Job Interview

The interview is one of the most important elements in the job search process. After your cover letter and resume, the interview is your best opportunity to show the employer you have the skills, background and ability to do the job. The goal of the job interview is to present your best possible self and show how you are an excellent match for that company. The best way to do this is with a little preparation.

Do Your Best

What you wear on your interview is an important part of how to prepare for a job interview. In some business climates appearances do matter, and in others it isn’t so important. However, it does make sense to dress your best for the interview. For examples of proper attire, see our blog, Dress for Success (2/21/13).

After you decide what to wear (don’t forget accessories & shoes) make sure your outfit is cleaned & pressed. It is also a good idea to try the outfit on ahead of time just to make sure everything fits.

Practice Greeting Your Interviewer

You should always greet your interviewer with a friendly smile and a firm handshake.

Practice Your Answers to the Most Common Interview Questions

If you don’t know what these are, do research on the Internet. You’ll want to have your answers ready and practice them. You should always be able to answer, “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you think you would be great for this job?”

Be Positive

Never say anything negative about past employers, past experiences, educational courses or professors. Think of something positive and talk about that.

Be Prompt and Professional

Always arrive early and get exact directions in advance including the phone number just in case you get lost or are going to be late. If you are going to be late, call to let the interviewer know. The best time to arrive is 5-10 minutes early.

Bring Extra Copies of Your Resume.

Even if you have already given a copy of your resume to the company, bring several copies to the interview to give out if requested. Your resume will also give you details like dates of employment if you are asked to fill out a job application. You should study your resume and know everything on it because any work experience or skills you have listed may be discussed during the interview. For help with your resume, check out our blog, Resume Tips (3/19/13.)

Bring a Pen

It’s easier to have your own pen than to borrow one if you have to fill out paperwork.

Bring Your Identification

Some companies have building security & you may be asked to show a photo ID, and in some cases, you may be asked to complete an application or other new hire paperwork and may need your Social Security Card.

What NOT to Bring to an Interview

What you shouldn’t do or bring to an interview is important too.


  • Brings a relative or friend – you need to be able to interview on your own qualities
  • Chew gum, candy, etc.
  • Bring coffee, soda, or water
  • Bring you phone, IPod, or other electronics (if you need your phone for contact information, turn off the ringer
  • Wear a hat or cap
  • Wear too many rings – if you have many piercings, leave some of your rings at home
  • And Don’t forget to cover any tattoos

Interviewers can tell whether or not a candidate has prepared for the interview and they appreciate it if you do.