How Do You Prepare For Job Interviews?

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As a Career Strategist, I warn my clients against randomly applying to jobs or applying to multiple jobs you are uninterested in hoping that the increase in numbers will work in your favor.

I encourage my clients to apply to positions where they match at least 75% of the qualifications so that they can grow into the position. You may be surprised to learn that I also encourage my clients to apply to 2-3 jobs where they meet all the qualifications. The purpose of applying to jobs where you meet all the qualifications is to secure a practice interview.

Interviewing can be stressful and difficult. Standard interview preparation tips and interview strategies include:

  1. Research the company and analyze the position.
  2. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.
  3. Dress neatly, clean, comfortably, and professionally.
  4. Bring a copy of your resume, cover letter, and professional references.
  5. Practice answers to common interview questions.
  6. Practice interview etiquette – tone, voice level, eye contact, handshake, body language, posture, smile.
  7. Develop a list of 5-10 assets or important talking points.
  8. Bring pen and paper for notes and ideas. (Yes, you can take notes and glance at them to stay on track.)
  9. Prepare a list of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
  10. Don’t be the first to bring up salary.

I believe that interview practice makes progress (we don’t strive for perfection any longer). In addition to recommending informational interviews and mock interviews, I also recommend safe interviews. A safe interview is an interview for a job where you meet all the qualifications, but it is not one of your top choices. You may even feel overqualified for the position, but an interview with a real interviewer is a great way to evaluate your performance.

Another tip that I stand by is to develop an interview routine to implement before and during every interview.

  • How can you ground or center yourself?
  • What can you do to build your confidence?
  • How will you ensure that you present as motivated or enthusiastic?

One thing that I’ve done is listen to gospel music or 80’s old-school hip-hop music (depending on my mood) when on my way to the interview venue.

What is one thing that you always do to prepare for a job interview?

Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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