Walk into your next interview with confidence!
If you have never had a job interview before, or if you’ve had one that didn’t go very well, then this guide is for you. Preparing for a job interview takes a little time, but it is time well spent. The hiring manager will be able to tell if you planned or not. By following these steps and avoiding common interview mistakes, you can show your interviewer that you are prepared, professional, and serious about the job opportunity.
Step 1: Research the employer
A hiring manager will want to know that you have learned about the organization before stepping foot into the interview room. With the Internet at your fingertips, you can learn a lot about your potential employer. Here are some of the things you should try to learn before your interview.
- Read through the company’s website
- Understand the mission and history of the employer
- Read about the leadership of the organization
- Search for financial information, such as filings or annual reports, so you have a sense of the financial health of the organization.
- Search Google news to see if the employer has been featured recently in the news
- Try to learn about the specific department where you might be working
Step 2: Bring a list of questions
When you think of an interview, you think that you will be the one answering questions, not asking them. But remember, an interview is also your chance to learn more about the position. An interviewer will expect you to have some questions at the end of the interview. If you don’t, you might appear unprepared or uninterested in the job. Make sure you type up a list of questions and bring it with you. Here are some samples of questions that you might want to ask:
- What are the main qualities that would make someone successful in this job?
- Which of the job responsibilities are the highest in importance?
- What is the reporting structure of this department? Who would I report to?
- What changes do you think are coming in the future? How do you think the department will need to change in the next five years?
- What are some of the advantages of working for this organization?
Remember, do not ask how much the position pays! Save any questions about salary and benefits until after a job offer is on the table. For more detail, read Questions to Ask During a Job Interview.
Tip 3. Practice your pitch
An interview is your chance to “sell” yourself as the best candidate for the job. Like any salesperson, you should practice your pitch. Practice talking about your career training, your externship experience, your on-the-job experience, and the skills you can bring to a potential employer.
The best way to practice is to do mock interviews. If you are a student at a career school, visit your Career Services department for help. The professionals there are trained to help you improve your interviewing skills. They can act as the interviewer and ask you sample interview questions. Doing several mock interviews can help you develop key phrases and concepts you want to remember during the real interview. Mock interviews also get you more comfortable with talking about yourself and your career skills. Here are some sample mock interview questions
- What makes you a good candidate for this job?
- Tell me about your experience in this field.
- Tell me about the responsibilities you had in your previous job.
- Tell me about a difficult situation in a previous job and how you handled it.
- Do you have strong computer skills? What programs have you used?
- What are your career goals over the next five years?
Bonus tips: What to wear and what to bring
A few nights before the interview, schedule some time to organize what you will wear and what you will bring with you to the interview. Here are some pointers:
1. Bring the following in a portfolio:
- 3 copies of your resume
- 3 copies of your list of references
- Your list of questions
- Pad and pen for taking notes
2. Set out your clothes a few nights before
Make sure everything is neatly pressed and ready to go, so that you don’t have any last minute panic. And be sure to avoid these outfit mistakes!
3. Map it out!
You never want to be late to an interview, so make it a point to map out your trip before the day of the interview. Look at traffic patterns and budget extra time. Allow time for parking and walking into the building. You want to show up at the front desk about 10 minutes early for the interview.
We hope this guide has helped you to plan ahead for your next interview. With lots of practice and planning, you should be able to walk into your next interview with your head held high. Best of luck!
The Salter School offers four career-focused training campuses in Massachusetts. For more information about our Medical Assistant training, Massage Therapy training, or our medical billing and coding program, contact us online today.