Give Your Best Job Interview: Prepare in Advance

With a job interview looming on the horizon, most of us would feel a little (or a lot) nervous as the big day approaches. The best way to conquer your anxiety is to be as prepared in advance as possible – so there are no surprises on interview day and you can focus your energy and attention on making a great first impression.

I encourage you to watch the video above.  In this clip, social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Amy Cuddy shares a great technique to use just before a job interview.

Here are a few ways to prepare in advance for a job interview, so that you can look and feel your professional best on interview day.

Choose your outfit days ahead of schedule

Nothing builds stress like tearing through your wardrobe for professional attire on the morning of an interview, only to find that nothing looks or fits properly. Instead, choose your outfit in advance – leaving at least a few days in case a suit or jacket needs to be dry-cleaned, tailored or mended.

Spend time carefully weighing your choices, making sure that you land on an outfit that is very professional and properly matching, leaving additional time to consider accessories. Ask for a second opinion from a friend or family member to make sure the outfit works – and to look it over for any stains or tears you may have missed.

Buy thank-you cards

Writing a thank-you card to every member of the interview team is an essential way to finish off an interview. In advance, find a set of professional yet elegant business thank-you cards and a fine pen.

Go the extra mile and pack a few thank-you cards in your portfolio or briefcase before you leave for the interview, so you can write and send them immediately afterward to ensure the cards arrive in the mail as soon as possible.

Know the interview location – and how much time it takes to get there

Simply knowing an address does not mean that you know exactly where the interview will take place. Find out precisely where you need to go: for example, if the office has a suite number not listed on the address, or if you will need to sign in at a security desk before getting to your destination.

In addition, research how much time it will take to get there, and if you have the opportunity, do a “practice run” from your house to the interview location. Take note of possible construction sites or delays due to traffic. On the day of the interview, try to budget even more time to account for unknown factors along the way. Being punctual to an interview is essential: if you are late, most likely you have already lost that job opportunity.

Brainstorm answers to sample questions

Think of several standard interview questions – you are almost always asked about your work history, experience, skills, strengths and weaknesses – and spend time brainstorming possible responses. There will be some unexpected questions during the interview, but likely you will be able to draw upon what you have thought of in advance. Also, spend time reviewing your resume or CV so that you can speak to it without hesitating.

Research, research, research

Spend a great deal of time researching the organization and the position you are applying for. If you know the ins and outs of an organization: its history, evolution, and latest developments and progress, the interview team will know that you are serious about the job and that you have invested time to prepare. This can set you apart from the group of applicants.

You may not be able to alleviate all of your anxieties before an interview; in fact, this may be a good thing, in that a bit of nervousness means that the job is important to you and additionally will keep you on point and alert throughout the interview. However, with just a few steps in advance, you can let go of a few worries beforehand – allowing you to focus on presenting your best self during the interview.

If you’re not sure about choosing the right clothes and accessories or simply want to update your look to get the job you want consult with an expert image consultant today.