The Dreaded Job Interview: Don’t Stress, Prepare!

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October 19th, 2010

Being invited to interview for a new job is a great feeling, which is often too quickly dampened by impending doom. Getting ready for an interview can be stressful, but stressing will not help you get the job. Instead, learn how to prepare yourself thoroughly for an interview and, in the future, you will be able to relax and maybe even have a good time.

You first need to consider your outward appearance. It is essential to choose the right outfit for your interview. Ask about the dress code before you go in. Regardless of your office dress code, try to dress like someone who could fit in well with the office atmosphere. Try to stand out by dressing well, with nice lines and fit, not by adding distracting color or patterns. If your office is casual, you have more options. Choose something that feels comfortable, but add a structured jacket, button down, or great watch to take things up a notch. Also, get a copy of your resume ready, and make sure to ask about anything else you need to take with you. Get a matching tote, shoulder bag, or briefcase to carry your things.

Next, do some research on the company and make a list of questions you have for them. Learn how the company generates a profit and your potential role. What is the product? What is their market? Who are the biggest competitors? Research thoroughly and be prepared to ask them about anything you're confused about or couldn't find in your research.

Finally, review your resume and prepare yourself to have a conversation with your interviewer about what makes you a good fit for their company and how they are a good fit for your needs and goals. List out the reasons you are a good match. Ask yourself why you want to work for this company as opposed to other companies. Write out your responses so your mind has the opportunity to work these things out before you are sitting in the interview chair.

Perhaps most importantly, you should also address the reasons you think they may not hire you. List out all the hesitations and insecurities you have floating around in your head. Then think about the validity of each point. If you're not a morning person and are worried about the schedule, you can fix that with a little effort. If you were laid-off from your last job and are insecure about fitting the bill here, then that is a more serious hesitation. Consider what you learned from negative experiences (such as being laid-off) and why you are ready now to move on and contribute to another company. It's very possible that if you have insecurities about something on your resume, a past mistake, or the possibility of being under-qualified, it may be a place of hesitation for your interviewer as well. However, if you address any seemingly negative characteristics head-on with yourself, you will feel more comfortable talking to your interviewer about them in a positive, mature and self-aware light.

Remember, they asked you in because they already see you as a potential fit, so just be yourself and have an honest conversation.

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