job interview

Landing a job you want is critical to your career track. You have an idea of the type of path you want your professional ambitions to travel, and getting a perfect position now will only get you further in your plans faster.

Perhaps it has been a while since you went on a job interview, or maybe you are just starting and haven't had the experience yet. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, preparing for your interview is something you should always do. No two jobs are the same and neither are interviews. Familiarize yourself with these five actionable steps you can take to get ready for any interview.

1. Know the Job Description

While it may go without saying, you should spend quite some time reviewing the job description in advance. Knowing the posting can give you quite a bit of insight into the type of questions the employer may ask during the interview process. Through the description, you should have a good understanding of the kind of person they want for the job. Understanding this information in advance can help you come up with answers to some of the most likely job-specific questions they will ask. You can also glean keywords the employer is hoping candidates will utilize in their cover letter and ultimately interview.

2. Research the Company

Prospective employers want to hire people who take an interest in their company. As such, you should do what you can to research the business before your interview. Start at the beginning and write down some key points about how, when and why the company was founded. Take a look at their past products or services and note how it has evolved over the years. Did they start off offering one type of product, but now offer an array? It is also critical to understand how the position you are applying for fits into the company model.

3. Prepare a Sales Pitch

It can often feel strange talking yourself up, but when applying for a job, you need to do just that. An interview is essentially a sales presentation where you are the focus. Put together a list in advance of your strengths. You can take the feedback of former employers, friends, family and teachers to get started. Make sure you can give examples of each of your strengths and correlate them to the job description and company history. Along with your strengths, you need to be aware of some of your weaknesses. A typical interview question about strengths is often followed up by those things you can improve upon.

4. Formulate Answers to Common Questions

If you have some experience interviewing, you have probably run across the same questions frequently. Along with the strengths versus weaknesses questions, it is a good idea to have a sense of what companies like to ask while on the hunt for a qualified candidate. Preparing some basic answers in advance will allow you to relax more during the talk instead of having to think on the fly. Some common interview questions include things like:
  • Why you are interested in the job
  • What do you like about the company
  • Can you give an example of teamwork

5. Come Up With Questions for Them

Even though you are being interviewed, companies still like to know that you don't have it all figured out. Asking the interviewer questions when appropriate helps keep them engaged and gives them a sense of the type of employee you would be. If you aren't afraid of asking about something in an interview, it stands to reason that you will likely not shy away from doing so once hired.

You will likely not be asked every question you think, or you may be asked completely different ones. Regardless, the more time you spend on preparing for your interview, the better equipped you are to handle any kind of curveball an interviewer may throw.